Written evidence from Pan-Camden HS2 Alliance
1. Camdenwho we are
1.1 The London Borough of Camden is an inner
London borough with some 236,000 inhabitants in an area of 22km2.
It contains significant areas of employment, notably in the academic
and medical fields, media and creative industries and professional
(legal and accountancy) fields. Camden Lock and Markets are important
retail and tourist magnets and there is a large number of hotels
in the Borough.
1.2 Two Main Line railway termini (Euston and
St Pancras International) are in the Borough and two important
main lines and three important freight routes run through the
1.3 Arguably, the proposals for HS2 Limited weigh
more heavily on Camden than any other local authority area.
1.4 The pan-Camden HS2 Alliance
1.4.1 The pan-Camden HS2 Alliance has evolved
in response to the acute local concern and seeks to protect the
interests of local residents and businesses. A series of well-attended
public meetings has been held, a website established and there
has been considerable local publicity. Councillors of all political
parties of London Borough of Camden have been very supportive
of the Alliance.
1.4.2 Because our area is home to many people
with interests in public policy and strategy development, and
because there are also many residents with relevant professional
experience, most of the scrutiny has been concerned with the policy
and strategic implications of the proposals and how they assist,
or work against, the achievement of other public policy objectives.
1.4.3 This process has caused many people to
form the opinion that the HS2 scheme as presently tabled is unlikely
to make an adequate contribution to achieving current National
(We believe that some local disbenefits could
be mitigated although they will require major rethinking: local
groups would hope to work with HS2 Ltd and its consultants to
2. Scope of the Inquiry and the areas covered
by this pan-Camden HS2 Alliance submission
2.1 The Transport Select Committee plans to examine:
2.1.1 The main arguments for and against high-speed
2.1.2 How the proposals for HS2 relates to the
Government's transport policy objectives particularly in relation
to transport connections between urban areas.
2.1.3 The strength of the business case and the
robustness of the underlying assumptions and methodology, scheme
2.1.4 Alternatives as regards capacity, other
ways of managing capacity (for example by pricing).
2.1.5 The strategic route, proposed Stage 1 stations,
the case for intermediate stations on the strategic route, links
to HS1, freight, links to Heathrow.
2.1.6 The extent to which considerations of local
or regional regeneration should shape the route.
2.1.7 Equity issues and whether the project will
assist economic rebalancing.
2.1.8 The importance or otherwise of regeneration
in the business case.
2.1.9 Environmental and other impacts including
noise, and how these are treated in the business case.
2.1.10 Disruption especially in connection with
the rebuilding of Euston Station.
2.2 The Pan-Camden HS2 Alliance submission only
contains evidence concerning matters of direct relevance to Camden
and inner north and west London, or to matters of which we have
the relevant experience to provide useful observations. Our evidence
generally relates to aspects of the following issues:
2.2.1 The main arguments for and against high
2.2.2 The strength of the business casewhether
the natural growth rate is not in fact the result of investment,
the importance of the assumptions about advances in signalling
technology, the feasibility of the service assumed in the business
case by reference to the services actually achieved on the French
LGV with the greatest similarities, whether HS2's proposals might
be inherently unstable, taking into account other government,
regional and local policy objectives, the forecasting risks and
choice of discount rate to reflect these risks, redundant trains,
capacity on residual classic network.
2.2.3 Alternatives, capacity and economic mechanismsEuston
commuters, a new line does not remove the need to spend on remaining
2.2.4 The strategic routethe cross London
corridor, Old Oak location, Euston location, regeneration, effect
of an additional station on the HS2 Phase One 1 route, freight
2.2.5 Equity issuessome interesting value
judgments inherent in HS2 Ltd.'s case.
2.2.6 Disruption at and near Eustoncommunity,
station users, road network, and the construction of the HS1-HS2
3. The main arguments for and against high-speed
3.1 There is no single standard definition of
high-speed rail. Because the realities of high-speed rail are
so complex, the International Union of Railways (UIC) deliberately
uses "definitions" in the plural. The concept is evolving
all the time, and the technologies are also changing as operators
and planners attempt to overcome perceived drawbacks in the concept
as pioneered in the 1960's and 1970's. The UIC's definitions imply
a state of continual advance, since all components of the travel
experience, including marketing, should be "state of the
3.2 The definitions of "high-speed rail"
offered by the UIC and by European Union Directive, and the permitted
variations (usually for environmental or planning reasons) are
so broad that they would cover almost any new or upgraded railway
line which could accommodate trains which are capable of speeds
in excess of 200 kilometres/hour (upgraded) or 250 kph (new build),
even though in densely populated urban areas the operating speed
could be as low as 110 kph. It is thus perfectly possible to build
a high-speed line that would fit in to the topography of the London/West
Midlands/North West corridor in a less intrusive manner.
3.3 HS2 attempts to achieve the highest speeds
possible regardless of what the transport and regional objectives
actually are. To produce a case for its construction, it claims
high speed to be necessary in order to solve a range of problems
for which in many cases it is not the only solution, or its contribution
is not key.
3.4 "Capacity" is a complex idea. There
is little doubt that obtaining a reliable, fast, transit system
in the corridor requires a considerable upgrade in capacity. This
is because railways do not operate reliably when pushed towards
their design limits for long periods of the day. Typically, reliable
railways operate at about one half of their theoretical capacity
except for short bursts when they step up to perhaps two thirds
or three quarters of capacity. The HS2 solution would in fact
do little more than transfer an existing "capacity"
problem to a new railway whose higher operating speeds will increase
the likelihood of inherent instability. There is every likelihood
that there would still be a need (for reasons of capacity) for
quality longer distance services on other routes in the corridor.
3.5 HS2 Ltd.'s brief was ill focussed and reflected
a somewhat dated view of high-speed rail. The end result is an
engineering project not a transport solution. Imagination and
vision has not been central to the process. Aping the rather different
high speed rail networks of France, Spain and Germany, without
apparently understanding the mechanics of the operations and the
reasons why they work as they do, is not a solution that is necessarily
going to work in the UK.
3.6 If a solution is needed to the movement of
very large numbers of people at speed in fairly densely populated
corridors, then this has been achieved in Japan. However the Japanese
design philosophy is different from the European approach. The
Japanese system is "closed", that is to say with no
operating interaction with classic lines. The Tokkaido Shinkansen
has an average station spacing of just 30.3 km. There are faster
and slower trains. It moves around 400,000 passengers a day.
3.7 There are worse courses of action than studying
how particular concepts work in practice and whether there are
lessons that could be applied in the UK. We have considered how
HS2 in its present form would deliver against the Government's
core ambitions set out in White Paper CM7176 "Delivering
a Sustainable Railway", July 2007. Overall HS2 does not score
well. That is not to say that we think high-speed rail has no
part to play in the corridor. We accept there is a need for increased
capacity and this is going to require new construction. And as
the definitions at the beginning of this section suggest, this
will almost certainly fall within the definition of a "high-speed
3.8 The problem of HS2 stems from its narrow
view of what is high-speed rail, the lack of operational understanding
of a railway, and the seeming inability to think at a fairly low
level about transport as a means to achieve policy ends rather
than as an objective in its own right.
4. The strength of the Business Case
4.1 Base line forecastsnatural growth
or a largely predictable consequence of investment in a product?
4.1.2 We believe that the growth experienced
since 1995 has been misinterpreted. Far from being a "natural"
rate of growth, much of it can be explained as a return on investment
4.1.3 We have formed this view having looked
at figures for the past decade for inter-city railway investment
in infrastructure and rolling stock. We have also reviewed the
train miles operated. (Earlier figures are not apparently publicly
available in a comparable form.)
4.1.4 In a more general way we have also considered
what happened to the economy, to railway services, to fares, to
investment and car ownership in earlier years. The base line taken
by HS2 Ltd for its forecasts is in fact the second lowest point
recorded since 1955. Over six decades passenger mileage increased
by about 25%.
4.1.5 When modelling for, and forecasting for,
a project with a 60-year horizon, we think it appropriate to back-test
the forecasting model against longer-run historical data.
4.1.6We have also reviewed SNCF's passenger-kilometre
figures for main line services, which include TGV services. The
French picture seems to be a steady but slow upward progression.
If the UK figures are, in fact, a natural growth rate, then we
would expect similar figures to show up elsewhere in Europebut
this does not appear to be the case.
4.1.7 We would have expected the DfT to have
that information available for example from submissions in support
of projects or from "post-audits" carried out the check
on value for money. We would also expect DfT to comprehend the
impact of these changes on passenger usage. If a model cannot
satisfactorily explain the past, then it cannot be used with confidence
to predict the future.
4.2. Treatment of demand when capacity is
4.2.1 If the forecasts are indeed correct, and
trains are grossly overloaded at some point in the next few years,
we would expect trip suppression or diversion to take place, and
growth would slow down or come to a halt.
4.2.2 The least flexible journeys may be choked
off by congestion: passenger will look for alternatives and some
of these (eg different ways of working, videoconferencing) will
4.2.3 Individuals will take different decisions
about where to live and work. Some of these changes may reverse
wholly or in part if conditions become more favourable, but this
process will take time, and the benefits will be to new users
rather than existing.
4.2.4 The "rule of half" is conventionally
applied to such new trips. Benefits to existing users are overstated
because numbers will have dropped owing to suppression.
4.2.5 The trips that may eventually take their
place when conditions improve will be from new users, some of
whom will have been attracted by a very small change in conditions,
some of whom will only have been attracted by a very large change.
The average improvement experienced by new users is therefore
taken as one half of the change experienced.
4.3 The importance to the business case of
the assumptions about signalling
4.3.1 Behind all railway signalling is the idea
of maintaining a safe braking distance between trains, even
if the first train crashes. The distance required for an emergency
stop is significantly shorter than the distance required for bringing
a train to a stand without discomfort to passengers. The greater
the distance between trains, the lower the number of trains that
can be run on a line in any one period. The safe braking distance
is expressed as a number of "blocks".
4.3.2 Railways are still constrained by the lack
of a workable technology that would allow a reduction in the difference
between the "comfort" and "emergency" braking
distances. Put in the simplest terms, if the "comfort"
distance could be reduced towards the "emergency" distance
by a train "knowing" the distance between it and the
train ahead, as well as the speed of the train ahead, then line
capacity could be increased. This concept is sometimes referred
to as "Moving Block", and would be at the heart of an
innovative signalling system.
4.3.3 Such a Moving Block system would have to
be a pan-European standard, and to that extent, the timescale
is not at the discretion of HS2 Limited. Innovative signalling
systems using Moving Block principles have often resulted in being
abandoned or downgraded for cost or technical reasons, the Jubilee
Line and the recent WCML upgrade being cases in point.
4.3.4 Moving Block is also key to minimising
service disruption in two ways: (1) Any unplanned deceleration
or stop has an effect on capacity and reliability as well as on
journey time. (2) The greatly reduced amount of lineside equipment
means that physical damage is much less likely, and the temptation
for copper thieves removed.
4.3.5 Moving Block underpins the business
case for HS2 as without it the ultimate anticipated capacity of
18 trains an hour cannot be attempted.
4.4 The practicability of the service assumed
in the business case
4.4.1 The business case depends on assumption
about reliability, service intensity and journey times. As we
are interested in the robustness of these assumptions and in claims
about capacity, we have looked in some detail at the broad timetabling
and rolling stock requirements.
4.4.2 We have also looked at what actually happens
day-to-day on the group of high speed services that use the LGV
Sud-Est and the various branches and the line to the Midi. We
consider that this line probably has the most in common with the
concept of HS2. We then considered the service frequency operated
on the Tokkaido Shinkansen. We concluded that HS2 would have more
in common with LGV Sud-Est than the Japanese Shinkansen, which
being physically a different gauge to the rest of the Japanese
railway system, operate in isolation and therefore perturbations
cannot be transmitted between their classic and high-speed lines.
4.4.3 These are the key similarities between
LGV Sud-Est and HS2:
Double deck train operation using high-speed double
decker trains (TGV Duplex). The same trains have been taken as
the "reference" train for "captive" train
operation on HS2.
A significant proportion of trains starting or finishing
on classic lines.
Average passenger loadings on trains over 70%.
Some services call at airport stations (but these
are located on connecting lines) eg Paris Charles de Gaulle and
Lyon St Extupéry TGV.
4.4.4 But there are some important differences:
Distances between centres south of Lyon served by
TGV services are shorter.
The cities served by TGV services are smaller.
TGV service intensity is lower.
"La période blanche" a time of light
traffic (when the system catches its breath) exists only
on the TGV service.
The proposed number of passengers for HS2 is almost
twice that for LGV Sud-Est.
The loading gauge of the classic network allows TGVs
(there are no captive trains on LGV Sud-Est).
4.4.5 The number of trains that actually
run over all or part of the LGV between Paris and Lyon is usually
six to eight an hour in each direction. This compares with an
HS2 minimum of 10/hour at stage 1, rising to 14/hour and
then to 18/hour.
4.4.6 The present day theoretical operating capacity
of the LGV Sud-Est is given as 12 trains an hour, (but if the
signalling were upgraded this might rise to 16 trains an hour).
The comparative figures for HS2 are 14 and 18.
4.4.7 HS2 proposes an intensive service that
runs continuously for seventeen or eighteen hours a day, every
day, throughout the year. Most of these trains would be "classic
compatible" and would run off HS2 onto ordinary lines which
are subject to all the problems of unreliability found on a traditional
4.4.8 Scrutiny of the SNCF timetable confirms
that there is an hour or so during the day when this intensity
drops sharply, the so-called "période blanche",
which is a time when the system catches its breath, as it were,
and recovers. HS2's service proposals make no provision of
4.4.9 The "dwell time" allowed at continental
stations for high speed trains is usually at least 3 minutes,
although times in excess of 6 minutes are shown for some trains
at busy locations. On other European high-speed services, dwell
times at busy stations are often in the 4-8 minute range.
4.4.10 By comparison HS2 Ltd is assuming a two-minute
dwell time. Thus at peak times up to 450-500 passengers would
be expected to join or leave trains at Old Oak Common through
16 doors in just two minutes.
4.4.11 Our experience of high speed operation
in Europe is as passengers, but it seems to us that the comparison
above should serve to alert the Transport Committee to the
strong possibility that the operations of HS2 would be inherently
unstable as proposed.
4.4.12 It seems to us that there is a high probability
that HS2 will be unable to deliver its claimed levels of service
and journey times and that therefore the business case should
include assessments of the effects of only being able to achieve
a part of the improvements claimed. We would expect to see some
modelling of the potential for instability on HS2, as we believe
that the proposed levels of service are inherently unstable.
4.5 Taking into account other governmental,
regional and local policy objectives
4.5.1 Because transport is not an objective in
its own right, our experience is that the assessment of transport
schemes in isolation can easily lead to "wrong" decisions
in the overall picture of policy ambitions. For example, regeneration
benefits are treated as all of equal worth, but in practice, the
policy objective is to seek a more balanced economy and we propose
that a part of the appraisal process should include an assessment
of scheme benefits weighted for policy objectives at the different
levels of government.
4.5.2 A similar approach was being developed
at the Greater London Council in the 1970's to test the contribution
or otherwise of road schemes to GLC policy objectives in the GLC
Development Plan. For example, such an approach helps highlight
the more questionable value judgments often implicit (although
generally unintended) in schemes and assist in the political decision
4.5.3 As another example, is the loss of several
hundred homes and communities in West Euston a reasonable trade-off
for the modest safety benefit of straight platforms at Euston
and the possibility of reducing disruption during station rebuilding,
or are there other ways of achieving the desired result?
4.6 Forecasting risk and the choice of discount
4.6.1 Away from HS2 Ltd.'s consultation documents,
there is recognition that the forecasts might be substantially
in error. We note the length of the forecasting period, the inflexibility
inherent in the present concept, and the over dependence on a
few key benefits, some of which are in fact dependent on external
factors if they are to work positively.
4.6.2 It is a basic commercial concept that an
interest (or a discount) rate is a proxy for the riskiness of
a venture. In discounting future benefits, a higher discount rate
is assumed in order to take some account of risk. We note that
rail and road projects both involve risks that vary according
to the characteristics of the mode, and we believe that for these
reasons different discount rates are logical and appropriate.
A high-speed rail project is likely to be much more a "double
or quits" bet than a road project.
4.7 Redundant trainsa cost not taken
4.7.1 We note that nothing is said about
the use of the current Pendolino fleet once HS2 stage 1 was to
be operational. These vehicles were built in 2001-04 and more
are under construction. They should not reach the end of their
useful lives until around 2035-40 but it is unclear if many of
them could be reused economically elsewhere on the UK rail network.
4.7.2 The residual classic services are
unlikely to require a large fleet of high capacity trains. Resale
elsewhere depends on the availability of compatible signalling
and electrical supply systems: a fleet of aging non-standard trainsets
is not an attractive commercial prospect. We submit that the difference
between Pendolino net book value and net realisable value at that
date is a cost to the HS2 project and should therefore be included
in the financial appraisal.
4.8 Effects on the classic railway post-HS2
4.8.1 We have looked in some detail at the effects
on the classic railway and its capacity following the completion
of HS2 Stage 1. We have looked at the possible effects on the
distribution systems forward from Euston. We have also looked
at the effects of the project on arguably the most strategic station
in the countryBirmingham New Street.
4.8.2 None of these issues have been dealt with
to our satisfaction in the studies carried out by HS2 Ltd. That
is not to say that we consider these matters to be sticking points
for the scheme as a whole, (we think, for example, that HS2 could
enable desirable infrastructure improvements eg between Camden
Road/Euston and Wembley which would just not be feasible now.)
But they do need to be incorporated in a proper assessment and
this needs to be reflected in the HS2 case.
4.9 The Euston commuter issue
4.9.1 We have considerable past experience of
the planning and operation of these services and have the following
observations to make. (We have not gone into detail but a more
technical assessment is available should it be required.)
4.9.2 The Euston outer-suburban commuter services
divide broadly into three sections:
188.8.131.52 The mature metropolitan commuter zone
between Euston and Watford Junction. This is well served in terms
of service frequency and journey times, stable in terms of demand
and little change can be expected short of a more radical proposal
like diversion away from Euston onto Crossrail. This section of
line produces around 3,000 commuters.
184.108.40.206 The belt of restricted development north
of Watford Junction and south of Leighton Buzzard. Green belt
and similar restrictions have been in place for many years and
our assessment is that little change to the service provision
at these stations would be possible although additional capacity
could be provided by restructuring the calling pattern to attract
passengers from the development zone (see below) away from these
services. As with the mature metropolitan belt, only a radical
proposal like the Crossrail diversion would be expected to materially
affect commuter numbers.
220.127.116.11 The development zone consisting of Leighton
Buzzard and stations north including Milton Keynes and Northampton.
The material passenger growth over the past forty years has come
from these stations, as was indeed forecast in the early 1970s.
We have reviewed traffic and other data, and we concur that post
HS2, this is where any growth will come from. We would not be
surprised if, expressed as a percentage increase, this was substantial.
However in terms of a requirement for train paths, we would not
expect more than two or three extra trains to be required in the
peak hour. This is not perhaps as significant in the wider scheme
of things as has been made out in some quarters. These extra trains
may require subsidy but we do not have access to the figures which
would enable us to confirm that this would be so.
4.9.3 Commuter forecasting over a 10-20 year
period is a fairly straightforward and robust process compared
with other railway forecasting. The key variables (housing stock,
office stock, the effects of any changes to the distribution network
within Central London) are known with a high level of accuracy.
All the commuters twenty years hence have already been born. Simple
gravity models have been in use for years and are well understood.
The 60 minute upper limit that people apply to their commuter
journey has remained fairly constant for well over a century although
with greater flexibility in employment practices this seems to
have risen slightly in recent years.
4.9.4 Another important reason why explosive
commuter growth will not happen is that Euston is not located
within walking distance of any key business district. The hinterland
has a national importance as an academic and medical district,
but the employment densities are lower than in major business
districts. Commuters wishing to travel to the higher density business
districts have to change onto other modes and for many this places
the journey outside their time tolerance limits.
4.10 Additional distribution capacity at Euston
4.10.1 It is possible but by no means inevitable
that the operation of a high capacity railway from Euston would
require an increase in the capacity of public transport at Euston.
This is a strategic matter for London and we urge that in the
consideration of this problem, a key aim is to provide wide-ranging
benefits for London. Some of the solutions being touted involve
very substantial expenditure, and have major implications over
a wide area and for large numbers of Londoners and others. If
such expenditure is required to make HS2 "work" (that
is to say provide a quality and properly integrated transport
experience) then the costs and benefits should be properly accounted
for in the HS2 case.
4.10.2 We have had significant experience in
the design and construction of major stations, and urge that the
users' needs should be accorded a very high level of importance
(good design for commuters is not necessarily a question of
great engineering or architectural statementsEuston is
primarily an interchange station so what is required is quality
functional design that places convenience, connectivity and adequate
space above commercial needs). Our examination of the proposals
for the new Euston suggests that they do not yet address these
4.11 The Birmingham New Street question
4.11.1 We have looked at the potential for additional
cross-country services. We suspect most of these would need to
access Birmingham New Street.
4.11.2 Birmingham New Street is in many ways
the most important station in England because it is the crossing
point between the South-West to North-East lines and the Birmingham
loop of the WCML.
4.11.3 To optimise network capacity, one has
to work outwards from New Street across most of the rest of the
country. New Street is reported as operating at capacity, and
it is not clear from HS2 Ltd.'s reports how much capacity might
be released by the introduction of HS2.
4.11.4 The line capacity may well be increased,
but if the capacity of the key station on the route does
not expand then these paths are of little use to passenger traffic.
4.11.5 Until and unless there are practical and
costed proposals as to how the additional line capacity can be
used, we suggest its "benefits" be excluded from the
case for HS2.
4.12 Differences of opinion
4.12.1 We are concerned that the outcomes of
HS2's work are significantly at odds with the thinking of Transport
for London, Network Rail and the local authorities along the route,
all of which can be expected to have devoted far greater intellectual
effort to the issues.
5. Alternatives as regards capacity, pricing,
diversion and suppression
5.1 Diversion of some outer suburban trains
5.1.1 Network Rail is considering the possible
use of the ten spare train paths and the diversion of Euston outer
suburban services via a short length of new track at Old Oak Common
5.1.2 Demand might change if the proposal to
route ten Euston commuter trains an hour onto Crossrail were to
come about. For some important destinations in key business areas,
weighted journey time reductions might be achievable equivalent
to those expected for Milton Keynes. However integration with
Crossrail is unlikely provide a "win-win":
service that could be operated might preclude running the semi-fast
trains enjoyed today and.
business districts such as Victoria will not be as easily accessed
via Crossrail as via Euston.
will still be a need for some service into Euston because Crossrail
cannot accommodate all the Euston commuter services.
number of seats on trains is likely to reduce.
5.1.3 If we are right on these points, our preliminary
assessment is that passengers from north of Tring might receive
little benefit from a Crossrail service, but that some substantial
benefits could accrue to the rather higher numbers who travel
from Tring and stations south. Because of the constraints noted
earlier, the effects on commuter volumes are unlikely to be transformational.
5.1.4 There are difficulties in introducing a
Crossrail service for "LMR" commuters prior to HS2,
but it would help ease the problems in building the new Euston
and the lines to Camden whilst running today's level of service.
5.1.5 This could relieve pressure on Euston quite
substantially, both in terms of train movements and passenger
numbers, and mean that the new Euston would only need a fairly
small number of shorter classic platforms.
5.2 Our researches lead us to the conclusion
that there is no one "right" solution for the London/HeathrowWest
Midlands corridor. A robust and reliable solution to the demands
of passenger and freight movement requires a margin of spare capacity
to provide operational reliability and also give scope for future
5.3 We accept that that some form of high-speed
railway may be necessary, together with some upgrading of the
WCML, of the "Evergreen" route, and a GC gauge route
for freight. However as we have pointed out in our comments in
Section 3 on the case for High Speed rail, there seem to be fundamental
misconceptions in government quarters about the way in which high-speed
solutions are now being developed in Europe.
6. The strategic route
6.1 The HS1 to HS2 linkthe cross London
6.1.1 The proposed link between HS1 and HS2 runs
in a new single-bore tunnel between Old Oak and Primrose Hill
tunnels, where it then picks up on the alignment of the North
London Line link between the WMCL at Primrose Hill and Camden
Road. This section of line will be singled to allow low-cost conversion
to GC gauge.
6.1.2 We consider that the HS1 to HS2 link proposals
are the wrong response to the wrong question.
6.1.3 Further, the levels of reliability achieved
on LGV in France with significantly lower utilisation levels suggest
trains will regularly present late, especially at Old Oak Common,
so the long single track section will be a major source of instability
for the network as a whole.
6.1.4 Key strategic issues are whether:
can be linked to the main rail corridors serving the rest of the
country, by adapting existing infrastructure and/or new build,
to provide GC standard routes across London.
infrastructure could be adapted to minimise new construction required.
links can be designed to reduce, below existing levels, the environmental
impact of railway operation on Londoners.
links can also embrace other local and strategic transport objectives.
6.1.5 The singling of a strategically important
section of cross-London railway between Primrose Hill Tunnels
and Camden Road (the Primrose Hill link) would worsen conditions
for freight because:
would restrict the number of trains that can access the WCML from
the south route that is one of only two "high cube"
routes across London from the Haven Ports.
route is used as a regulating area for trains joining or leaving
the WCML: if this function cannot be performed here there is a
real risk of delays being transmitted between the WCML and the
GE lines out of Liverpool Street to the Haven ports.
Port trains are already half a kilometre in length. The lower
cost options for increasing traffic capacity for these services
are centred on train lengthening but the singling of the Primrose
Hill link may rule out this option. Train lengthening reduces
unit costs which is why users favour it.
6.1.6 Network Rail has an aspiration to provide
a GC route between London and the country's industrial heartlands
at some unspecified future date.
6.1.7 We hope that the HS2 Ltd.'s focus on the
West Midlands and the North of England would be modified to consider
also access to the West of England and Wales via Old Oak Common,
for both freight and international passenger services.
6.1.8 A reduction in the number of daytime paths
available through Primrose Hill will increase pressure for additional
night-time trains leading to a worsening of living conditions
for residents close to this and other cross London routes.
6.1.9 A number of proposals have been made in
recent years to provide a GC gauge link to the Midlands using
sections of the former Great Central railway. We offer no view
on the desirability or practicality of this, but we do urge that
the Government takes a holistic view of transport needs in the
London-West Midlands corridor and considers how any future high
speed link contributesor at least does not impederealisation
of a GC gauge link. Even if currently a GC gauge freight route
is considered not justifiable, the story of transport in this
country should serve as a warning against closing off options
for future generations.
(We are aware of the current upgrades of the SouthamptonNuneaton
and the FelixstoweNuneaton routes to accommodate "W10"
working for "high cube" containers, and that in consequence
the capacity problems on the WCML south or Birmingham will be
relieved for the foreseeable future.)
6.1.10 TfL which is responsible for Orbirail
services running on the cross North London routes, has expressed
concern about the effects of HS2 Ltd.'s proposals on TfL services.
Although most of the adverse effects could be removed by the widening
of approximately 350 metres of viaduct, HS2 Ltd.'s proposals would
prevent the operation of TfL's proposed Queens Park-Stratford
service which is essential for relieving overcrowding on Orbirailand
which might possibly be developed as part of a strategic cross-London
link to improve access to Old Oak Common.
6.2 International rail services
6.2.1 HS2 Ltd. proposes that international rail
services would use the HS1 to HS2 link. We have already commented,
in our assessment of the business case, on the capacity issues
that we expect to become evident at an early stage on HS2, and,
considering the relatively low passenger usage that can be expected
for international services, point out that these services must
be prime candidates for exclusion from HS2. Our reasons for this
claim are that the achievable timings using HS2 are not so far
removed from what could be achieved on the WCML as it stands,
or less if the signalling and line speeds were to be upgraded.
6.2.2 However existing rail investment means
that a Birmingham to Paris / Brussels service using Eurostar classic-compatible
trains is already quite practical.
6.2.3 If it is the Government's opinion that
such services will help bridge the North-South divide by linking
to our major international gateways, then such a service should
be introduced in advance of the construction of HS2, even if,
initially it is a very limited service (perhaps even just a seasonal
service). If the Government is confident of its case, it will
pick up the challenge and prove its case.
6.2.4 Over a decade ago DfT concluded that there
was insufficient demand to justify such a service. However between
1997 and 2010 Eurostar passenger volumes rose by 58% after much
investment in track and station facilities. The earlier conclusions
may no longer hold.
6.2.5 Recent trends in high-speed travel have
included a greater willingness amongst passengers to use rail
for journeys that hitherto have been regarded as beyond range
in terms of journey time. For example, Deutsche Bahn is considering
through services from Frankfurt and Cologne to London.
6.2.6 We estimate that if the international services
using the WCML have all intermediate station stops taken out,
the journey time differences between a WCML and HS2 solution between
Birmingham and, say, Paris, would be 20 minutes, and 30 between
Manchester and Paris at best, or 50 minutes at worst. Birmingham
to Paris via the WCML would be 3 hours 30 minutes, and Manchester-Paris
4hrs 35 minutes. SNCF's "wish list" for future LGV construction
includes the LGV Picardie, which would reduce these timings by
about 20 minutes. This line could be in operation before HS2.
6.2.7 If it is thought there is a case for running
international services from the Midlands and North, our challenge
is simple. The service should be capable of being introduced within
a very few years. The equipment is there, even if not immediately
available. The infrastructure is there. Run it, even if only
on a seasonal, or once-daily service, prove the case, put the
idea into the consciousness of West Midlanders and Mancunians,
demonstrate that there is a business case, and start building
6.3 The choice of London terminus
6.3.1 If it is thought necessary to have a Central
London terminus, we think that the Kings CrossSt Pancras
area would make much more sense in transport terms but we have
been unable to establish the status of development land. Unfortunately
this is a case of lost opportunities: had the idea of HS2 been
under serious consideration twenty years ago, it would have been
possible to use the Kings Cross lands.
6.3.2 We note that all high-speed lines in Europe
make use of upgraded classic alignments in order to traverse urban
6.4 Old Oak Common: a great opportunity for
connectivity and regeneration
6.4.1 We believe that the issues concerning Old
Oak Common (OOC) are so interconnected that they should be dealt
with in the same section and not split as between discussion on
regeneration and the strategic route.
6.4.2 The regeneration of OOC should take place
regardless of whether HS2 is built, if only because it is one
of the few remaining large areas available for development. What
HS2 is likely to do is stimulate more thinking and discussion,
and as a result it may be possible to exploit more of the potential
of the site as new synergies become possible.
6.4.3 Worldwide, there can be few urban areas
with such potential for accessibility and interchange as Old Oak
Common (OOC). It is where two of the country's main trunk
railways converge and it potentially enables numerous connections
with the rest of the system. The urban surrounds of OOC (including
Park Royal) include large tracts of derelict industrial space
and there is both need and scope for industrial regeneration and
OLD OAK COMMONTHE AREA BOUNDED BY
THE TRACKS IS APPROXIMATELY 1KM-2
6.4.4 The average distance travelled to work
in London is under four miles, and the average journey time under
45 minutes. Much of Camden is therefore in the range of OOC.
6.4.5 Within a few years London Overground will
circle the capitalthe "Orbirail" scheme. "Orbirail"
routes traverse both Camden and OOC. One of the benefits of Orbirail
is that it will provide better accessibility in areas of relatively
6.4.6 Development of OOC, together with accessibility
improvements to both it and the major industrial area of Park
Royal, could assist with more general issues of social deprivation
in Camden and other areas of north and west London. Equally, the
rail-locked nature of the OOC site means that good local transport
will be an important key to success.
6.4.7 TfL is concerned about the number of journeys
which involve travel through the congested central area of London
but which could advantageously be re-routed orbitally. The ongoing
positive development of "Orbirail" services, which started
over 30 years ago, demonstrates the worth of this approach. Inner
London's geography makes orbital movement very significant and
concentrates it in fairly narrow corridors that are well suited
to rail solutions.
6.4.8 Important local passenger lines run adjacent
to OOC: the Central and Bakerloo lines of London Underground,
the Stratford-Richmond, Willesden Junction-Clapham, and Watford-Euston
services of London Overground/Orbirail, and national rail services
from Reading to Paddington, and Milton Keynes to Euston and Gatwick.
The rail lines through the area are also of considerable strategic
importance for freight.
6.4.9 London Underground services could be extended
from Kensington Olympia along existing track to run through the
site, and it should be possible to adapt the proposed Orbirail
Queens ParkStratford service to provided a link between,
say, the Park Royal industrial area, Old Oak and north London.
6.4.10 There is thus enormous opportunity although
detailed study might show not all potential schemes would in fact
be justifiable. The more radical proposals may only be desirable
in the context of a major Crossrail/HS2 interchange.
6.4.11 Network Rail is examining the possibility
of diverting some Euston commuter services onto Crossrail via
a short length of new track at OOC.
6.4.12 Today OOC is largely rail-locked by presence
of so many rail links, with their associated sidings and other
facilities. A canal also bisects it. Regeneration pre-supposes
resolution of site accessibility restrictions. Such resolution
could improve the rail infrastructure and connectivity generally,
provide better road, pedestrian and cycle access to the site,
and also release land for development so it can be aggregated
into more suitably sized and shaped areas.
6.4.13 HS2 Ltd. claims that the OOC regeneration
area is capable of supporting 20,000 jobs. By contrast London
Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (LBHF) envisages 5,000 jobs.
This discrepancy may be due to a more conservative estimate by
LBHF of the area that could be made available for development,
particularly given the need for land for housing.
6.4.14 It may that HS2 Ltd. envisages higher
densities of development in order to improve their case rather
than promote the most appropriate and beneficial uses for the
site in relation to the economy of London and the nation. We note
that HS2 Ltd. does not provide details of the types of jobs would
be created at OOC or how they might fit into the wider scheme
6.4.15 We think it illogical to rank equally
all jobs created by regeneration and suggest there should be some
weighting to favour jobs that align with government and local
objectives in line with the thinking set out in the October 2010
White Paper "Local Growth".
6.4.16 LBHF proposes to capitalise on the area's
potential as a media and high technology centre, citing Imperial
College and Wood Lane as cluster foci.
(Wood Lane is one of the three areas of London
with the highest density of creative jobs: creative jobs, broadly
defined, account for around 15% of London's jobs.) The numbers
have grown sharply in number over the past twenty years and there
is no reason to think that they will not continue to do so. Continued
growth in the type of jobs that LBHF think suitable will help
diversify London's economic base and employment opportunities.
The area has a number of advantages that support LBHF's aims,
but none of them are critically dependent on HS2. )
6.4.17 As we have pointed out OOC provides a
great opportunity to integrate HS2 and the local rail network.
Sadly, we do not see signs that this has percolated into the thinking
behind the proposed interchange station. For example, the station
engineering does not provide currently for good interchange because
of inconsistencies with the infrastructure demands of the services
6.4.18 In essence HS2 Limited underestimates
the potential of OOC. As the London terminal for HS2
a developed OOC could enable London-bound passengers to switch
to several tube lines, Orbirail / Overground in addition to Crossrail
and current commuter lines. The availability of many alternatives
would avoid the swamping of Crossrail and be consistent with TfL's
6.4.19 However for OOC to become the London terminal
a change in the railway "mindset" is essential: it should
be regarded as a place to be developed for the benefit of the
country rather than simply serving the narrow interests of rail
6.4.20 It has been suggested that Arup and Partners
had proposed OOC as the London HS2 terminal but that this was
opposed by Crossrail which intends to use the valuable real estate
for a large train shed.
6.4.21 It is an indictment of generations of
railway companies that industrial archaeology is possibly the
only attraction of today's OOC, a big parcel of land close to
the centre of London. Even the vast former Eurostar depot lies
empty, not yet 20 years old.
6.4.22 With OOC as the HS2 terminal then redevelopment
of Euston within today's footprint could proceed on its own merit
and without the destruction of the local community.
6.4.23 We suggested earlier (6.2.7) that a trial
link and service from Birmingham to Paris could be established
over today's infrastructure. If that trial proved to be encouraging
and the traffic volumes were sufficient then consideration could
be given to a link from OOC to HS1 at GC gauge at an acceptable
speed. In the event that traffic volumes did not justify a dedicated
link then continental services could continue over existing lines.
6.5 Additional stations on the route
6.5.1 To help us understand the HS2 proposals,
we carried out some work on rolling stock requirements and service
capacity. The results may be of interest to the Committee, since
they illustrate the effects on the costs of operating the service
if one station is added to the Stage 1 route. The results are
not, scalable, so the effect of adding more than one station cannot
be estimated by multiplying our estimated costs by the number
of extra stations.
6.5.2 The Transport Select Committee's remit
includes consideration of additional stations. Our detailed work
on timetabling and rolling stock usage provides information on
the effects of adding stations tot the Stage 1 route.
6.5.3 The intensity of service proposed on HS2
means that if additional stations were to be included in the scheme
then all trains must stop at them. (A pattern in which only some
trains stop reduces line capacity very significantly.)
6.5.4 If a high speed train is travelling at
its maximum operational speed, a significant timearound
5 to 6 minutes depending on assumptionsis needed to bring
it to a halt in a station without causing discomfort to passengers,
for dwell time at the station and then to bring it back up to
speed on departure.
6.5.5 Time is also extended by the station dwell
time necessary for passengers to alight and join: a double-deck
train may require a longer dwell time.
6.5.6 The trainset utilisation proposed for HS2
is intensive: for routine operation a train turnround time of
20 minutes is required at termini, and the trainsets would be
required to operate over a fairly complex route using fleets of
vehicles with limited interchangeability.
6.5.7 Our calculations suggest that the additional
capital costs of rolling stock required to maintain seating capacity
with one extra stop on the Phase 1 route would be of the order
of £200 million: the exact number of additional sets required
could only be established after a detailed exercise.
6.5.8 In turn, this affects the number of platforms
required at termini, depot and stabling facilities, and train
crewing requirements. (Power consumption will also be increased
6.6 Freight and operating flexibility
6.6.1 HS2 will be built to GC gauge that could
permit full size continental freight trains to run over it provided
the engineering took account of freight's needs for heavier axle
loads, easier gradients and other freight-specific constraints.
6.6.2 However we understand HS2 Limited proposes
that the route would not be designed to convey freight
traffic at any point along its route. For instance it would be
physically impossible to access HS2 from the southern end as the
proposed gradient of the section of line onto the HS2-HS1 link
tunnel at Primrose Hill is too steep to permit freight working.
After construction it would only be possible to modify the line
to accommodate freight at enormous cost.
6.6.3 Not all high-speed lines are built to the
exclusion of freight. Some sections of the French Lignes à
Grande Vitesse (LGV) can accept mixed freight and high-speed
passenger working. HS1 was also built to permit freight operations.
6.6.4 We have discussed the importance of GC
routes across London and how they should be designed to take account
of freight's strategic needs.
6.6.5 Proposals for HS2, and indeed, any other
high-speed lines, should as a matter of course be subject to scrutiny
so that it can be established whether there are any sections that
should be designed so as to enable mixed operation.
6.6.6 We note that the proposed HS2 passenger
network does not provide for operating flexibility (for instance
diversions for renewals or in the event of disruption). The strategic
importance of these lines is so great and so concentrated that
these risks should be properly evaluated and appropriate provision
made to permit greater operating flexibility.
6.7 Disruption especially at Euston and on
6.7.1 If we are correct in our comments about
the practical capacity of HS2, then HS2 will be inadequate for
all the services that are mooted. Issues of future-proofing then
arise and there should be some clear strategy as to how demand
will be catered for once HS2 becomes full. Potentially, the question
of future-proofing could blight Camden for three or four decades
unless proper provision is made when the Euston and Euston approaches
6.7.2 We note that in order to build the "up"
tunnel portal the important tracks on the west side of the approaches
will have to be taken out of use. These tracks perform two crucial
18.104.22.168 they provide a facility that allows main
line trains to depart from the eastern side of the station without
crossing over the all the suburban lines on the flat; and
22.214.171.124 they access the Camden sidings used in
the main for daytime stabling of commuter trains.
6.7.3 Should these facilities not be available,
there may be considerable additional train mileage to an alternative
stabling point and pressure on line and platform capacity generally.
This will represent significant cost and delay that should be
incorporated in the project evaluation.
6.7.4 The construction of a GC gauge link from
Primrose Hill through Camden Town to HS1 will need to be carefully
managed. For most of its length, the line is on viaduct as it
crossed the valley of the Fleet River. A number of important traffic
arteries, both radial and orbital pass under this viaduct, in
the main on elderly iron bridges which will require rebuilding.
We estimate that up to 20 single-track spans will need to be replaced.
6.7.5 Fortunately there is at present a certain
amount of space on the viaduct which is not at present used for
running lines, and it may be possible to adapt the techniques
used on the construction of the new Borough Market viaduct, with
final fabrication of most of the replacement spans on site and
then rolling them along the trackbed into position. This may need
to be phased over several years if road closures are to be kept,
as at Borough Market, to holiday weekends. If an innovative approach
to the logistics is not possible, then there will be very considerable
disruption to road traffic in North London and the costs associated
with this should be reflected in the HS2 Limited economic case.
6.7.6 We offer no comment on the disruption that
might occur during the reconstruction of Euston and its approaches
for HS2, save that we pray that the apocalyptic scenes described
by estwhile local resident Charles Dickens in Dombey and Son,
are not repeated.
7. How does HS2 fit with the Government's
transport policy objectives?
7.1 The flavour of every government and DfT statement
on their transport objectives is that sustainability and CO2
reduction are key policy drivers. Fairness and quality of life
in our communities are added to the mix.
7.2 Andrew Adonis announced HS2 on 11 March 2010
as, "the most sustainable way to provide more capacity
7.3 Philip Hammond commended HS2 on 26 July 2010
as part of the new Government's commitment to a programme of measures
to, "create a low carbon economy".
7.4 Under the Coalition's programme for Government,
"Freedom Fairness and Responsibility" the new
Government committed to "reform the way decisions are
made, and which transport projects to prioritise, so that the
benefits of low carbon proposals are fully recognised."
7.5 In September 2010 at the IBM Start Conference
Mr. Hammond stated:
"And make no mistakethe Coalition Government
is committed to the sustainability agenda in everything it does,
including transport. And of course, addressing the urgent and
unavoidable challenges of climate change are a key part of ensuring
Sustainable solutions have, of course, first and
foremost to be environmentally sustainable. But they must also
be fiscally and economically sustainableaffordable to the
taxpayer in the long-term and compatible with an economic growth
And the Department for Transport can and must be
at the heart of this programme. Tackling climate change through
policies which deliver technology and behaviour that will decarbonise
mobility as we progress through the 21st century.
Those challenges call for a genuinely sustainable
policy response: A response that recognises the need for carbon
reduction, fiscal discipline, economic growth, social justice
and genuine localism.
Not one, or some of them, But all of them. Together.
In every policy initiative."
7.6 The DfT business plan has as its vision,
"a transport system that is an engine for economic growth
but one that is also greener and safer and improves quality of
life in our communities. By improving the links that help to move
goods and people around, and by targeting investment in new projects
that promote green growth, we can help to build the balanced,
dynamic and low-carbon economy that is essential for our future
7.7 The importance of a low CO2 agenda
is repeatedly emphasised throughout DfT publications as is the
importance of fairness and quality of life for communities. Creating
Growth Cutting Carbon, January 2011 the government's vision for
a sustainable local transport system, encourages local authorities
to prioritise quality of life, safety and the environment alongside
economic development in their transport planning.
7.8 Surely this integrated thinking should be
implicit in national transport strategies? Transport is not purely
an issue for travellers. It is also an issue for those travelled
over. From a fairness perspective, investments in transport must
put the quality of life of people they affect at the heart of
the design process and actively seek to redress the wrongs of
the past. The Euston community has re-assembled itself after the
initial re-development of the station and displacement in the
1960s. The HS2 Appraisal of Sustainability recognises the people
due to be displaced at Euston are amongst the poorest in the borough
and the fact that almost all new jobs created will be filled by
those who will be travelling in from elsewhere, which is neither
fair nor sustainable.
7.9 Developing a sustainable framework for aviation
(March 2011) plainly states "the fact that climate change
has become one of the gravest threats we face". It is our
view that there is a flaw and a contradiction at the most basic
level in the Government's policy aspiration and its practical
implementation. Ultra high-speed travel is not sustainable, ultra
high-speed travel, within the context of the world as we know
it today, can never contribute to CO2 reduction. The
development of HS2, as it is proposed, will contribute nothing
to the quality of life for communities and in many cases will
7.10 Energy used increases with the square of
velocity: a train travelling at 400kph will consume four times
the energy of one travelling at 200kph. Currently 93% of the UK's
electrical energy comes from burning fossil fuel. The difficulties
of implementing alternative sustainable sources of power in the
face of increasing national demand and international events are
daunting and cannot be safely predicted.
7.11 We will leave it to others to analyse the
cost benefits of travel time saved but the fact remains that HS2
would require a massive increase in power per unit distance. Even
assuming that sustainable power generation was widely available
HS2 would require more generating capacity. This is inconsistent
with a sustainable model.
7.12 Any unforeseen technological developments
that might make HS2 more viable could by the same token make alternative
transport solutions such as electric coaches and cars more sustainable.
7.13 As for fairness and sustainable communities,
ultra high-speed is inflexible in its infrastructure requirements
compared to existing high-speed railway: the land take is greater
and the platforms are more intrusive as is the case in Euston.
7.14 Equally flawed in terms of sustainability
and practical effect is the assumption that domestic air passengers
tempted off domestic flights (although there are none between
London and Birmingham) would contribute to overall CO2
reduction. BAA Limited has stated that any released short-haul
slots would be replaced by long-haul flights typically increasing
7.15 In their 12 July 2007 report for the DfT,
Estimated Carbon Impact of a New NorthSouth Line Booze Allen
Hamilton Limited concluded that building and running a new high-speed
line from London to Manchester would have such a large carbon
footprint that the assumed shift from road or air would take 60
years to offset the damage.
area comprising the London Borough of Camden.
of Brentlocal authority.
of Camdenlocal authority.
of Hammersmith & Fulhamlocal authority.
Union of Railways, the worldwide international organisation of
the railway sector.
services marketed as London Overground together with TfL's "wish
list" of enhancements.
& North Western Railway, merged with the Midland Railway and
others to form the London Midland and Scottish Railway.
OOCOld Oak CommonThe
large area of railway-owned land 4km west of Paddington and immediately
north of Wormwood Scrubs.
HS1High Speed Onethe
GC gauge 109 kilometre long high-speed railway from St Pancras
to Folkestone (formerly known as the Channel Tunnel Rail Link
GC gaugea loading
gauge used on mainland Europe that will apply to HS2 (and applies
to HS1). It is wider and higher than other loading gauges used
A train built to fit on Classic lines that can also operate on
HS2 or HS1 with identical performance characteristics to a Captive
train. It may also have a tilting capability to maximize its speed
potential on a Classic line.
train that can only operate on GC gauge lines such as HS1 or HS2.
It is thus "captive".
Mainlinethe fast line running out of Euston to Glasgow.
This is a Classic line.
ECMLEast Cost Mainlinethe
fast line running out of Kings Cross to Edinburgh. This is a Classic
Grande Vitessea French high-speed train line specially
built for the famous TGV.