Further written evidence from Heathrow
Hub Ltd. (HSR 150A)|
1 1980/1990's - WE'VE
The Channel Tunnel rail link debate had many similarities
with HS2, with vocal and well informed opposition to what were
seen as British Rail's poorly conceived proposals, in particular
their failure to properly consider environmental impacts.
"The revolt that followed (British Rail's
announcement of the original proposed route for the Channel Tunnel
Rail Link) shook the Tory party to the core. A revolutionary mob
in waxed green jackets is enough to bring any Home Counties MP
out in a rash" - Plight at the End
of the Tunnel - Sunday Times magazine, 6 May 1990.
The lessons of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (now
called HS1) suggest that high speed rail in the UK should:
part of a wider integrated transport & economic strategy.
the railwayman's solution of a point to point line in isolation.
with the existing rail network and provide local transport benefits
to areas affected by new lines.
the length of route crossing Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
a design speed allowing an alignment that can follow topography
and is twinned (where possible) with existing motorway corridors
to minimise environmental impacts.
HS1 crosses the narrowest part of Kent's AONB, (shown
in green on the above map), and closely follows the M20 and M2
motorway corridors for much of its length.
2. 2009 - CROSS-PARTY
HS2 & HEATHROW
The political consensus that recently developed on
high speed rail recognized, (despite fundamental differences over
a third runway), Heathrow's importance to the whole of the UK:
only hub, and world's busiest international airport.
responsible for 1% of UK GDP.
to UK's international competitiveness, serving seven out of the
top 10 business routes in the world.
single largest traffic generator and single site employer.
to grow, (despite Government's policy objective of a "better,
not bigger" Heathrow), from 66mppa currently to ca. 95mppa
by 2030 (with two runways, within 480,000 ATM cap, and outside
statutory control) as capacity constraints lead to airlines introducing
A number of wider issues were also recognized as
relevant to consideration of HS2 and Heathrow.
environmental impacts are unacceptable, (and in terms of air quality,
illegal), even at current traffic levels. Better rail access is
essential to prevent these having even greater impacts as Heathrow
passenger experience and operational efficiency compares poorly
against other major airports.
access from the regions to the UK's only hub is vital to regional
economic competitiveness by providing access to global markets
and increasing customer choice. This assumes increasing significance
as airlines take commercial decisions to abandon domestic UK routes
speed rail could replace some short haul flights, releasing valuable
airport capacity and/or improving resilience.
A clear consensus therefore emerged on the need for
a direct connection between Heathrow and HS2:
"A Conservative Government will support proposals
along the lines of the plan put forward by engineering firm, Arup,
for a new Heathrow rail hub. This would link Heathrow terminals
directly into the main rail network and the lines to Reading,
Oxford, Bristol, Plymouth, Cardiff, Swansea, Cheltenham and Southampton,
greatly improving public transport links to the airport"Conservative
Party Rail Review 2009.
"I think that it (Heathrow Hub) is an attractive
idea. It's vital that we have an integrated approach to planning
new rail capacity and any new airport capacity that's also required"Lord
Adonis, Sunday Times 4 January 2009.
"I see a strong case for (high speed rail)
approaching London via a Heathrow international hub station on
the Great Western line, to provide a direct four-way interchange
between the airport, the new north-south line, existing Great
Western rail services and Crossrail"Geoff
Hoon, 15 January 2009.
3. 2009 - HS2 LTD
Despite this consensus, the route that HS2 Ltd. developed
during 2009 bypassed Heathrow. The then Secretary of State's statement,
prior to HS2 Ltd. starting work, made clear that this route was
to some extent pre-determined:
"Our proposals on the (Heathrow) hub are
for a site much closer to West London at the junction of the existing
Great Western line and the proposed Crossrail line. A Heathrow
hub would not necessarily have to be placed close to Heathrow"Geoff
Hoon, 15 January 2009
The proposal that HS2 should bypass Heathrow reflected
various assumptions and decisions by HS2 Ltd:
assumption that Heathrow's existing (very limited) market catchment
would be unchanged by better rail access.
that a route via Heathrow would incur a nine minute journey time
penalty compared to a more direct route between London and Birmingham
- (subsequently corrected to three minutes after route decisions
had been made).
time savings prioritised over intermodal and environmental considerations
(including statutory designation of Chilterns AONB).
aviation industry representation on any of HS2 Ltd's Challenge
or no weight given to effect of interchange penalty on airport
passengers travelling by rail.
remit to consider better rail access to Heathrow from the Thames
Valley and the west not considered.
of remote Heathrow interchange at Old Oak Common.
The proposal to provide the Heathrow interchange
at Old Oak Common, some 12km from the airport, was subsequently
criticised by the Coalition Government's Secretary of State in
oral evidence to the Transport Select Committee:
(The connection between HS2 and Heathrow) "cannot
be lug your heavy bags down a couple of escalators, along 600
metres of corridor and then change trains at a wet, suburban station
somewhere in north west London. That is not an option"Philip
Hammond, 26 July 2010.
4. 2010 - HS2 LTD
The Coalition Government's revised remit required
HS2 Ltd. to "undertake additional work to develop route
options for a direct high speed link to Heathrow" - Letter
from Philip Hammond to HS2 Ltd, 11 June 2010
This may have been expected to result in a fundamental
reappraisal of the HS2 route. However, a Heathrow spur was instead
proposed, to be retrofitted to an otherwise unchanged route alignment
in a second phase of HS2, (perhaps by 2033), with the capability
of extension to form a loop at an even later stage.
This requires significant duplicate route mileage,
as can be seen from the initial spur alignment options published
to date by HS2 Ltd.
The scale, impact and land requirements (in London's
Green Belt) of a grade separated junction between a spur and the
main HS2 route is indicated by HS2 Ltd's published images of the
similar junction at Water Orton, where the Birmingham spur is
proposed to join the main HS2 route.
The proposed approach to serving Heathrow has other
would, prior to any future phase 2 of HS2, be relegated to a branch
line connection with HS2 at Old Oak Common, perhaps for as long
as 20 years or more, despite Government stating this "is
not an option" and Heathrow's forecast growth during
as proposed in Network Rail's London & South East Route Utilisation
Study, Heathrow Express's access rights are not renewed on termination
in 2023, Heathrow would be reliant on slow, stopping Crossrail
services from central London.
in a second phase of HS2, is dependent on consistent political
and financial support over an unprecedented period and a second
Hybrid Bill. If, as Lord Adonis fears, events conspire to affect
the programme and/or funding, Heathrow could be permanently relegated
to a branch line connection served by stopping trains.
and its grade separated junctions with the main HS2 route, would
be both costly and environmentally damaging.
separate, and expensive, stations are required to provide HS2's
interchanges with Crossrail and Heathrow.
view is that the beneficiaries of a spur, airlines and airport
users, would be required to make a significant financial contribution
to its cost. However, it is unlikely that a viable business case
can be made, since a 2tph service (in each direction), providing
the minimum service frequency necessary for time sensitive airport
passengers, would provide ca. 4,400 seats per hour - the equivalent
of ten fully loaded A380's every hour between Heathrow and UK
regional cities served by HS2. Although Heathrow is a major, and
growing, traffic generator, it is unlikely that airport traffic
alone can support a viable business case for capacity on this
scale. (The inevitable inefficiencies of trains serving airport
demand alone is shown by Heathrow Express, which achieves only
30% utilisation in the morning peak).
if Government did provide a financial contribution to the cost
of a spur, this could lead to State Aid challenges from other
the economic case for HS2, (which assumes a very high frequency
service of 18tph in each direction), includes the benefits of
a spur to Heathrow, the service plans that have been published
do not include any capacity for Heathrow services or indicate
which services would be diverted to serve the spur instead of
over a spur would need to decelerate from, and accelerate to,
linespeed in negotiating the slow speed turnouts when diverging
from and joining the main HS2 route. Each Heathrow service would
therefore take more than one HS2 path, further reducing capacity
on the through line for services to and from Euston.
perpetuates the lack of connectivity between Heathrow and GWML
also continues the legacy approach of fragmented planning of air
and rail infrastructure at a critical tipping point for Heathrow's
a Heathrow spur to a later phase of HS2 places Heathrow at a competitive
disadvantage, since through running of high speed rail services
between the UK regions and continental Europe provides European
hubs with direct rail access to the UK market without a reciprocal
benefit to Heathrow.
Whilst the recent public consultation lacks detail,
it does appear that, if or when eventually completed, the spur
would not provide a chord to the East, preventing air-rail substitution
of European short haul flights, or access to Heathrow from European
A spur therefore appears to conflict with European
policy, as set out in the Commission's 2011 Transport White Paper:
"Intermodality with rail must produce significant
capacity gains by transforming competition between rail and air
into complementarity between the two modes, with high speed train
connections between cities. We can no longer think of maintaining
air links to destinations for where there is a competitive high-speed
rail alternative. In this way, capacity could be transferred to
routes where no high-speed rail service exists."
The inherent flaws in a spur have also been recognised
by DfT and others:
"The interchange with Heathrow should be
considered as through services will not be able to run from all
points, both because demand would not be sufficient and because
every Heathrow train would take a path on the new line"New
Line Capacity Study, DfT 2007.
"To be attractive for airline passengers
who might reasonably need to catch a specific departing flight,
the service frequency needs to be at least one per hour. Even
on our assumption that we can serve more than one city with a
single train, (which depends on the structure of the HSR network),
many of the flows, (Scotland, Manchester/Liverpool, Sheffield/Leeds/Newcastle,
Birmingham and Bristol/Cardiff), do not have a viable flow"High
Speed Rail Development Programme 2008-09, Strategic Choices, MVA/Systra.
Government's recent consultation on HS2 recognized
the importance of an integrated approach to Heathrow and HS2 but
any detail of the proposed spur/loop will be the subject of a
separate future consultation. This risks flawed decisions being
taken on phase 1 of HS2.
European experience clearly demonstrates that hub
airports should be located on through lines rather than spurs
5. 2010 - HS2 LTD
European examples of air/rail interchanges clearly
demonstrate the benefits of airports located on directly on through
high speed lines. The inherent inefficiencies of a spur are repeated
in a loop, with Lord Mawhinney's 2010 report noting that "a
loop of high speed railway had been built to serve Cologne/Bonn
airport but this had added 15 minutes to the rail journey time
and as a result the loop was little used".
"For Schiphol, landside accessibility is
of essential importance. The construction of the HSL South line
will place Schiphol on the European HSL high-speed rail network.
The HSL will extend Schiphol's catchment area towards Antwerp
and Brussels"Long term vision
for Schiphol Group 2009.
Paris Charles de Gaulle (Roissy)
"We have more than 12 years of experience
in the value of an easy connection between TGV and plane. The
commercial success of TGV is due to the fact that Roissy Is a
through station. Roissy is progressively working like a hub with
many rail/air connections but also numerous rail/rail connections"Guillaume
Pepy, Chairman SNCF.
"Long distance trains doubled (surface access)
market share between 1998 and 2000, and since 2004 high speed
long distance services have carried more passengers than local
services. 19% of originating passengers used high speed services
(174 services/day) in 2009, and this is projected to increase
to 30% by 2015"Frankfurt Intraplan
Zaventem has historically been served by a spur,
as proposed by HS2 Ltd. for Heathrow. Significantly, work is now
nearing completion on "conversion of the existing underground
terminus station (from a spur) to a through station, crucial
for the development of Brussels airport" - Infrabel Mobility
6. THE SOLUTIONHS2
There is therefore a compelling case for HS2 to follow
European precedents of a through airport station served by the
main HS2 route, not a spur or loop, and which also provides seamless
interchange with classic rail services.
This approach has been widely endorsed:
"Services (with a Heathrow interchange located
on the through HS2 line) will have high load factors because they
are connecting a number of different markets. Their usage is not
dependent on the single market at Heathrow, and their load factors
and overall economics will be attractive, in a way that far fewer
services would do if they were just to serve Heathrow on a spur"The
Heathrow Opportunity, Greengauge 21 2010.
"For rail to be a viable alternative to the
aircraft, and to the car to get to/from the airport, airports,
certainly the main one, must have a station on the line, not a
spur from it. With currently over 40 million non-transfer passengers
a year needing to travel to/from it, it is hard to understand
how a 'city' like Heathrow might be bypassed"Dr
Moshe Givoni, Oxford University Transport Studies Unit, The House
Magazine, 31 January 2011.
"The solution will require consolidation
of demand by serving Heathrow by trains that also serve other
markets, by placing Heathrow as an intermediate station (on a
through line)"High Speed Rail
Development Programme 2008-09 MVA/Systra
Importantly, there are little or no adverse cost
and journey time impacts for a HS2 route via Heathrow compared
to the current proposal of a route bypassing Heathrow.
There is no justification for HS2 to bypass Heathrow
when a route via the airport is less costly than the current HS2
proposals, and has, at worst, a marginal impact on journey times
for non-airport passengers.
A route via Heathrow allows an Old Oak Common interchange
to be omitted, (providing very substantial cost savings), since
Heathrow Hub provides both a GWML/Crossrail and airport interchange
on a single site.
This aligns with HS2 Ltd's most recent (2011) Modelling
and Appraisal, which shows an Old Oak Common interchange adversely
affecting HS2's business case, and Greengauge 21's current view
that the case for an Old Oak Common interchange should now be
Using Governments cost estimates, a route via Heathrow
is therefore less expensive than HS2 Ltd's proposed route bypassing
Heathrow and a later, retrofitted spur.
The cost saving is increased when the potential private
sector funding of the Heathrow/HS2 interchange is taken into account.
An HS2 route via Heathrow incurs marginal time penalties,
which are outweighed by the wider environmental and economic benefits
that the route provides. In any case, HS2's Strategic Challenge
Group, (in their meeting of 1 September 2009), noted that:
"There was evidence to suggest demand did
not change drastically between 60 and 45 minutes, and so an intermediate
station which added a 10 minute penalty to a 45 minute journey
may not erode too much demand".
For non-stop services between London and the north,
a route via Heathrow is in fact faster since Heathrow Hub, unlike
Old Oak Common, allows non-stop services to pass at line speed.
ON HS2 ROUTE
An HS2 route via Heathrow can serve the airport by
an interchange located either "at airport", (within
the existing airport boundary), or "near" the airport.
Both options are supported by Heathrow's airlines
at this stage:
"Airlines are of the strong view that the
strategic route for HSR must be fully integrated with an en-route
station at or near Heathrow"London
Heathrow Airport Consultative Committee to the Transport Select
Committee HS2 Inquiry, May 2011.
"The HS2 main line should run at or
near the airport to maximise frequency and include a Heathrow
HS2 station that offers a seamless transfer for passengers and
and becomes a fully integrated multi-modal transport
in the first phase of HS2"IATA/London
Heathrow Airport Consultative Committee/Heathrow Airline Operators
Committee submission to HS2 consultation, July 2011.
Option 1 - HS2 interchange
"at" existing airport (T5 or Central Terminal Area)
An "at airport" interchange requires the
HS2 route to be aligned through the existing Heathrow airport
campus. This presents significant challenges:
lengthy, slow speed deviation in HS2 route.
impact of surface sections of route.
cost and risk due to construction in live airport environment.
to airport operations during construction.
connectivity between HS2 and GWML services.
competition issue if interchange location (eg T5) exacerbates
competitive inequality between airline facilities.
In addition, an "at airport" interchange
would not provide seamless connectivity between air and rail.
A T5 location would be a considerable distance west of the terminal
itself, whilst a location in the congested Central Terminal Area
would be similarly remote from terminals themselves. A CTA location
would also incur significant disruption, risk and cost penalties
due to the need to avoid existing Hex, LUL, baggage, pedestrian
and vehicle tunnels (as well as a safeguarded route for future
APM's between terminals).
An indirect interchange between rail and air has
a similar effect to rail/rail interchange penalties:
"The attractiveness of air-rail links is
certainly inhibited when passengers have to transfer to a second
mode of transport in order to reach their terminal because the
railway station is not integrated into the terminal building"Potential
and Limitations of Air-rail Links, Andreas Eichinger und Andreas
Knorr, IWIM, Universität Bremen 2004.
Heathrow option 2 - HS2
interchange "near" existing airport (Heathrow Hub)
Routeing HS2 close to Heathrow, with an airport interchange
(Heathrow Hub) located both on the GWML/Crossrail, (and M25 motorway),
provides a number of benefits:
minimal deviation in HS2's route between London and Birmingham.
less costly than the current preferred route.
little/no impact on London to Birmingham journey times.
rail demand and assists HS2's business case.
a direct connection between Heathrow, HS2, Crossrail and the classic
rail network in the first phase of HS2.
wider benefits to the Thames Valley, West and South West, and
air/rail substitution, providing additional airport capacity and
modal shift from road to rail, reducing Heathrow's environmental
space for aircraft within the existing airport, improving operational
efficiency and resilience, and reducing environmental impacts.
terminal co-located with station provides passenger check-in facilities
at an "on-airport" facility, allowing seamless interchange
between modes and improving Heathrow's passenger experience.
times reduced by seamless passenger and baggage links between
Hub and terminals/satellites within the existing airport.
cost, risk and disruption of developing passenger processing and
aircraft facilities necessary for Heathrow's forecast growth.
vital hub operations by expanding Heathrow's catchment.
UK regional competitiveness through improved access to global
a less damaging - and potentially cheaper - route for HS2 through
London and the Chilterns.
private sector funding.
connectivity between Heathrow and any future Thames Gateway airport.
Heathrow from becoming a "stranded asset".
The benefits of such a "near airport" option
are recognised by Star Alliance, the world's largest airline alliance
with extensive global experience of air/rail interchanges:
"We would make the important point that an
"on-airport" (high speed rail) station does not have
to be located within the existing airport boundary, if this results
in an unacceptable deviation of the HS2 alignment, significant
journey time penalties for non-airport passengers or a significant
cost penalty due to the inevitable challenges of major construction
in, or under, the operational airfield. Recognising that Heathrow
occupies the smallest site area of any major international airport,
and the dispersed nature of Heathrow's terminals, sites outside
the existing airport boundary should be explored, particularly
if this allows better connectivity and alignment with HS2, the
existing rail network - particularly the Great Western Main Line
- and the local motorway network"Star
Alliance submission to Transport Select Committee HS2 Inquiry,
9. THE SOLUTIONOTHER
HS2 and the Chilterns
An HS2 route via Heathrow allows an alternative,
more southerly alignment through the Chilterns AONB. This allows
HS2 to cross the narrowest part of the AONB, (rather than the
widest as currently proposed). Alternatively, following the example
of HS1, HS2 could be twinned with the existing M40 corridor.
Whilst an alignment following or close to the M40
corridor would require a much lower design speed, the route crosses
only 12km of AONB.
Significantly, HS2 Ltd's Strategic Challenge Group
noted, (in their meeting of 23 April 2009):
"Evidence suggested that the benefits of
further improving journey times beneath a 60 minute threshold
were marginal (and) if the line was to be engineered for 300kph
or faster, it may nonetheless not be too damaging (to the business
case) if in places the line operated at a slightly lower speed."
DB's experience of constructing new high speed lines
in environmentally sensitive areas also demonstrates that compromising
design speed to reduce environmental impacts (and energy use)
has significant capital cost benefits.
HS2 and London
An HS2 route via Heathrow would extend the tunnel
currently proposed between Euston and Old Oak Common further west,
beneath the GWML following the precedent of HS1 below the North
London Line. This (shown dotted on the plan above) avoids the
environmental impact of a surface route through the London suburbs.
Experience from HS1 suggests that tunnelling through
urban areas can be cost effective when all costs, including environmental
mitigation, of alternative surface routes are taken into account.
As a tunnel is currently proposed from Euston to Old Oak Common,
the establishment costs, including acquisition of Tunnel Boring
Machines, are required in any case.
Alternatively, HS2 could take over the current GWML
corridor, with existing GW services diverted to a new classic
line, partly in tunnel, and making use of the redundant rail corridor
via Greenford. This could be constructed in advance of HS2, reducing
disruption during GW electrification and Crossrail construction.
HS2 and the UK's transport network
Heathrow Hub would provide a step change in rail
connectivity, with benefits extending far beyond airport passengers.
For example, "Javelin" high speed regional
services from Kent and the Thames Gateway could be extended to
Basingstoke, Oxford and Reading, (making best use of GWML electrification).
Such connectivity would enable significant modal
shift from road to rail, and increase rail revenues;
"The potential demand for rail services at
Heathrow is likely to make it the biggest railway station in the
UK if appropriate infrastructure was provided"Adding
Capacity at Heathrow Airport, response to consultation by Transport
Studies Unit, University of Oxford 2008.
At a wider regional and national level, Heathrow
Hub facilitates an integrated, intermodal approach to transport
Heathrow Hub allows a phased development, with early
benefits in advance of HS2 to support Heathrow's forecast growth
whilst reducing the airports environmental impacts and supporting
the UK's economic competitiveness.
Phase 1 provides a GWML/Crossrail Heathrow interchange,
developed and funded entirely within the private sector.
The principle of a direct HS2 route via Heathrow,
and the specific features of Heathrow Hub, has been widely endorsed:
"A Conservative Government will support proposals
along the lines of the plan put forward by Arup, for a new Heathrow
rail hub. This would link Heathrow terminals directly into the
main rail, greatly improving public transport links to the airport"Conservative
Party Rail Review 2009.
"A non-direct high speed link with Heathrow,
represented by a loop or spur, would represent folly in Britain's
ambition to develop a truly integrated transport policy"Lord
Heseltine, Bow Group meeting 20 January 2010.
"Only an HS2 alignment via a Heathrow interchange
located on the GWML as close as possible to the airport, providing
direct connections between high speed rail, classic rail, Crossrail,
the motorway network and Heathrow can provide the connectivity
that the UK requires"Conservative
Transport Group 2011.
"The Deputy First Minister, Ieuan Wyn Jones,
has already placed on record our support for a Heathrow Hub linked
to the (electrified) Great Western Mainline"Welsh
"A direct western link between Heathrow airport
and the Great Western Main Line would enable passengers from Wales
access into Heathrow, rather than first having to go out to London
and then come back"Mark Hopwood,
Managing Director, First Great Western.
"Unite believes there are advantages in constructing
a new rail hub station on the Great Western Line as proposed by
Arup"Unite the Union.
"HS2 should be directly linked to Heathrow
through the construction of an on-airport interchange station
connecting with the Great Western Main Line, Crossrail, Airtrack
and potentially Chiltern services"SEEDA.
We are grateful for the opportunity to provide this
additional evidence to the Committee's important Inquiry and would
be pleased to provide any further information that may be required.
30 August 2011
Further written evidence from Heathrow
Hub Ltd. (HSR 150B)
GOVERNMENT'S CURRENT PROPOSALS - HS2 PHASE
1 (LONDON - BIRMINGHAM), PHASE 2 (HEATHROW SPUR), PHASE 3 (HEATHROW
LOOP) & WESTERN CONNECTION
Dotted lines indicate tunnel
THE HEATHROW HUB ALTERNATIVE
Dotted lines indicate tunnel
We are grateful for the opportunity to provide this
further submission, which responds to HS2 Ltd's further evidence
to the Committee's Inquiry dated 30 August 2011 (ref. HSR 169A).
The additional material provided by HS2 Ltd, (which
we address in detail in Part 3 of this submission), confirms that,
compared with Government's current proposals, the Heathrow Hub
less, with costs to the taxpayer further
reduced by private sector investment.
faster journeys for non-stop trains between
London and Birmingham.
the benefits of transport investment to
far more of the UK, including the West, South West & South
Wales, and at an earlier date.
local transport benefits to areas (including
the Chilterns) impacted by HS2.
UK's regions connectivity with the country's
only hub airport, providing better access to global markets and
improving regional economic competitiveness.
greater modal shift from road to rail,
and air to rail.
connects Heathrow to the UK's regions and the European HSR network
in the first phase of HS2.
Heathrow's environmental impacts, allowing
forecast growth within environmental limits.
Heathrow as a global aviation hub against increasing European
competition by allowing more efficient
airport operations, providing a better passenger experience, connecting
to Europe's HSR network and releasing additional capacity and/or
HS2's business case by reducing capital
and operational costs, increasing passenger demand and improving
yields by allowing trains over a single HS line of route to serve
more than one market.
rail revenues on the classic network and
more options for a less environmentally damaging HS2 route,
reducing the environmental impacts on London's suburbs and the
Chilterns AONB through better use of existing transport corridors.
2. WESTERN CONNECTION
The benefits of Heathrow Hub increase when additionally
compared to Government's proposed "Western Connection"
between the Great Western Main Line (GWML) and Heathrow, as recently
described in the press.
Whilst this may at first appear to be outside the
scope of the Committee's Inquiry, HS2 Ltd's original remit from
specifically referred to the need for HS2 to consider "the
key car modal shift gain
likely to be in respect of access
to Heathrow from London, the west and Thames Valley, facilitated
by the Heathrow interchange (and local rail enhancements)."
We therefore believe that the Western Connection
should be considered as an integral part of the HS2 project since,
without this, HS2 fails to meet one of Government's key objectives.
Modal shift from road to rail is also critical to mitigating the
environmental effects of Heathrow's forecast 40% growth in passenger
numbers by 2030. This issue is of critical importance to securing
Heathrow's ability to compete, and to operate within environmental
limits, (with air pollution already in breach of legally binding
limits imposed by EU legislation).
Heathrow Hub, as well as connecting HS2 and the airport,
provides an integrated interchange with Great Western and Crossrail
services on a single site, meeting all of Government's objectives
in the most cost efficient and operationally effective way. Access
to Heathrow is therefore provided as part of a holistic approach
to the planning of high speed rail, classic rail and airports
as mandated by European transport policy.
In contrast, the proposed Western Connection appears
to have been developed in isolation from the HS2 project, and
adds yet more complexity and inefficiency to the current proposals,
(which have of course already been amended to include a retrofitted,
costly and operationally inefficient spur to serve Heathrow).
In addition, a Western Connection would provide fewer
benefits, since it is likely to allow only a slow, stopping service,
using the GWML relief lines, to Heathrow from Reading, and requiring
a change of train at Reading for passengers from the West, South
West and South Wales.
The need to interchange has been shown, in research
by DfT and others, to significantly reduce demand, particularly
for time sensitive, luggage laden airport passengers. Service
frequency would also be less attractive, and journey times would
be longer, than the Heathrow Hub alternative of allowing all trains,
both long distance and Crossrail, to serve the airport.
The likely result of relatively unattractive journey
times and limited demand for dedicated airport services serving
the Heathrow market alone, whilst nevertheless requiring a reasonable
frequency, is that services would require either subsidy or premium
A Western Connection would need very significant
additional classic rail infrastructure in order to connect to
Heathrow, including land intensive grade separated junctions located
within London's Green Belt. This would be in addition to the even
larger high speed junctions and the additional length of high
speed line required for an HS2 spur and loop, resulting in significant
adverse environmental impacts on large parts of the Green Belt
and Colne Valley.
Perhaps most importantly, a Western Connection increases
the already significant cost difference between the Governments
proposals and Heathrow Hub, which provides western access to Heathrow
as an integral part, and within the overall cost, of the project.
The cost of a Western Connection, (suggested as ca.
£0.5 billion) should therefore be added to HS2's current
cost estimates as, without this, HS2 does not provide the access
to Heathrow from the west that Government has stated to be a key
objective associated with HS2.
We attach, as Appendix A, a revised comparative
cost summary which suggests that, even before taking into account
the additional costs that the Mayor and others suggest have been
omitted by HS2 Ltd, (eg improved road and classic rail connections
with Old Oak Common and additional environmental mitigation on
the HS2 surface route through outer London), the Heathrow Hub
proposals are significantly cheaper than the Government's alternative.
This gap would of course increase further should our proposal
for private funding of the Heathrow Hub interchange be taken forward.
3. RESPONSE TO
DATED 30 AUGUST
Q12. How do the costs of a single route via
Heathrow compare with the costs of the HS2 route plus a spur to
HS2 Ltd. provide no justification for their assertion
that, assuming worst case costs, a spur "would be ca.
£200 million less than for a route through Heathrow Hub."
Government's published estimates in fact show that, even on best
case assumptions for a spur, the combined cost of the phase 1
HS2 route currently proposed and a phase 2 spur would be significantly
more expensive than our proposed alternative HS2 route via Heathrow
HS2 Ltd's submission also notes, in answer to Q14,
that they expect tunneling costs to be further reduced from current
estimates, perhaps by as much as 15%. As a significant element
of the cost of a route via Heathrow comprises the necessary additional
tunneling between Old Oak Common and West Drayton, compared to
the current surface route from Old Oak Common through the London
suburbs, this would be expected to lead to even greater cost savings
for a Heathrow route.
We also note that HS2 Ltd's reference to a "Terminal
5 station" is misleading. Any such station, whether underground
or at grade, would in fact not be "on airport" as is
suggested, but would be located some distance from the terminal
itself, requiring considerable associated infrastructure including
road access and people mover facilities between the station and
terminal. It is not clear whether these costs have been included,
(nor whether the impacts of the interchange penalty that would
be incurred by passengers transferring between rail and air have
been taken into account in demand modelling).
Q13. We have received a detailed submission
saying that the Heathrow Hub/ Iver Common site assessed by HS2
Ltd is not the same as the Heathrow Hub station proposed by Heathrow
Hub Ltd, and that the conclusions drawn are therefore misleading.
Can you please comment?
HS2 Ltd. confirm that "the assumed nature
of the station and services are very different" in their
assessment of the Heathrow Hub proposal, which underlines our
concerns that a like for like comparison has not been made by
HS2 Ltd. Some of these issues are noted in HS2 Ltd's evidence:
Ltd. state that their "remit was to provide an interchange
for HS2 with Heathrow Airport and Crossrail" whilst "the
Heathrow Hub proposal was developed as a wider interchange with
conventional rail and coach services."
This effectively confirms
that HS2 Ltd. did not consider Government's specific remit
to consider rail access to Heathrow from the west, (and which
Heathrow Hub provides). Government's latest proposal for a Western
Connection, entirely separate from HS2, only now provides such
a connection, (albeit, in our view, in an inefficient and sub-optimum
way). Clearly, it is essential that Heathrow Hub is therefore
properly assessed against both HS2 and a Western Connection in
order to arrive at a proper comparison of costs and benefits.
state that "the Heathrow Hub proposals envisaged a new 30
million passenger airport terminal integrated with the hub."
We welcome this clarification
since Government's statements in the consultation and elsewhere
have suggested that Heathrow Hub would not provide an "on
airport" interchange. It is our view that these incorrect
assumptions have clearly led to inaccurate appraisals of costs
and benefits. Heathrow Hub would indeed provide passenger processing
facilities (an airport terminal) co-located with the railway station.
This would effectively make the interchange "on-airport,"
providing the seamless transfer that passengers require when changing
Ltd. state their "station design and approach routes differed
slightly - we did not consider that a surface level station was
viable given the necessary tunneled approach either side."
In fact, our detailed engineering
studies, (which we would be pleased to provide to the Committee
if required), demonstrated that a surface station could easily
be accommodated within the constraints of the site, and that a
surface route to the west was entirely sensible and feasible,
(as well as allowing a grade separated junction between HS2 and
the Great Western Main Line). The result is that Heathrow Hub
has been assumed, in HS2 Ltd's analysis, to have far higher costs,
both as an underground station and requiring additional tunneling
to the west, than is actually the case. Whilst we have used Government's
cost estimates in comparing Heathrow Hub with the current HS2
proposal, clearly these costs appear to significantly overstate
the actual costs of the Hub, whilst omitting many benefits, (including
the connection between HS2 and the GWML).
Ltd. states "the Heathrow Hub proposal included the shared
use of the high-speed rail corridor into London, such as by 'Javelin'
services to Kent. These were not compatible with the capacity
that we considered would be needed for long distance high speed
services on HS2, consuming around half the potential capacity
of the HS2 route."
Clearly a judgment will be
needed to determine the optimum service pattern over any new line.
Our proposal for extending "Javelin" services from Kent
to, for example, Reading, Oxford and Basingstoke via Heathrow
is intended to make effective use of existing and proposed rail
capacity, in particular taking advantage of the connection we
propose between HS2 and the GWML at Heathrow Hub and the opportunities
presented by the proposed electrification of the GWML.
As well as dramatically improving
access to Heathrow, these proposed inter-regional services would
provide a step change in connectivity and journey times across
Greater London and the South East region, overcoming the Victorian
legacy of railways separately terminating in central London, and
linking the economic powerhouse of Heathrow and the Thames Valley
with the more disadvantaged and developing areas to the east of
London. There may also be scope for such services to provide congestion
relief on the existing network, in particular the GWML and SWML.
We acknowledge HS2 Ltd's concern
as to capacity over the high speed network, but suggest that long
distance services are highly unlikely to make full use of HS2's
claimed 18tph capacity, at least until phase 2 is completed, perhaps
in the 2030's. In the meantime, "Javelin" type services
could make efficient use of HS2's expensive and valuable phase
Fundamentally, however, this
issue goes to the heart of the philosophy behind HS2. Should it
be a simple London - centric line between two points, conceived
in relative isolation from the wider transport network, or should
it - as we believe - form part of an integrated strategic approach
to connectivity and economic development?
Our proposals also draw
on experience from HS1 where providing local transport improvements
assisted in overcoming local opposition from areas which would
otherwise see only adverse impacts.
HS2 Ltd. refers to the Heathrow Hub site being located
"on flood plain land occupied currently by the Iver Sewage
Treatment Facility." The proposed Heathrow Hub station
and airport interchange is in fact located outside the functional
flood plain. Our proposal (and cost estimates) include the relocation
of the Iver Water Treatment Works within the overall site, (as
agreed in principle with the utility's owners), providing a new,
more efficient and higher capacity facility.
With reference to journey times, HS2 Ltd. notes the
effect of Heathrow Hub on both non-airport and airport passengers.
For the former, they state "passengers on
HS2 travelling to and from London - who comprised the great majority
of travellers - would incur a significant journey time penalty."
In fact, assuming that Heathrow Hub avoids the need
for an Old Oak Common interchange, journey times for non-stop
services between London and Birmingham would be one minute faster
than times quoted for the current HS2 proposal.
For airport passengers, HS2 Ltd. suggests that
"for air passengers it (Heathrow Hub) was not as attractive
as options closer to or on- airport." This appears to
contradict their earlier confirmation that in fact Heathrow Hub
provides an "on-airport" passenger terminal and experience.
It is likely that leaving a train at Heathrow Hub, and checking
in at the highly convenient processor located immediately above
the station, would provide a far more attractive passenger experience
between train (as well as bus/coach) and aircraft than a passenger
having to transfer from an HS2 station remotely located somewhere
to the west of T5 to a separate airport terminal.
Passengers not using the processing facilities at
Heathrow Hub would transfer to and from terminals located on the
existing airport campus using an Automated People Mover (APM),
similar to the systems in use at other international hub airports
(eg; Hong Kong and Singapore). Transfer times between the Hub
and the rest of the airport would vary between three and six minutes.
In considering journey times, we recognize that HS2
Ltd's methodology apportions very high values to journey time
savings - between £0.3 billion and £0.6 billion per
minute saved. Although we do not necessarily agree with these
values, a route via Heathrow, which provides a one minute journey
time saving for non-stop services, would significantly improve
HS2's business case using HS2 Ltd's methodology.
We also suggest that the negative BCR implications,
as a result of HS2 Ltd's estimate of a three minute journey time
penalty for trains stopping at Heathrow Hub, is vastly outweighed
by the benefits of a direct connection between HS2 and Heathrow.
Heathrow Airport Ltd's evidence to the Inquiry (Committee ref.
HSR131) concludes that a direct interchange between HS2 and Heathrow
could offer benefits of as much as £9 billion in Present
HS2's BCR is further improved by Heathrow Hub's lower
capital cost, lower operational costs, increased revenues and
private financing of the Heathrow Hub interchange itself.
In considering HS2's BCR, we also note that HS2 Ltd's
appraisal fails to monetize the scheme's environmental impacts,
despite DEFRA's recent publication of the UK National Ecosystem
Assessment (NEA). 
This provides a clear way of valuing ecosystems, is intended to
strengthen the arguments for protecting and enhancing the environment
and is claimed to be the basis for Government policymaking.
An HS2 route via Heathrow would allow alternative
routes through the narrowest part of the Chilterns AONB, rather
than the widest as currently proposed. It might therefore be expected
that a BCR that properly accounts for monetised impacts would
conclude that a route that reduces the environmental impacts on
the AONB would also improve HS2's BCR.
HS2 Ltd's further evidence alludes to this issue,
in responding to Q26, which notes "an indicative assessment
of the potential impact of the (current HS2) route
valued the impacts at up to £4.5 billion." However,
this appears to refer simply to landscape impacts, rather than
a valuation in accordance with NEA methodology. Clearly these
are significant issues that need to be addressed if a proper comparative
assessment of alternative routes is to be carried out to reduce
or avoid the threat of challenge through the judicial process.
As regards a Crossrail interchange, HS2 Ltd.
suggest that "for HS2 passengers going to and from London,
(Heathrow Hub) was not as attractive as a Crossrail interchange
at Old Oak Common and we could not envisage these passengers transferring
to Crossrail at this location, thereby increasing demand at Euston."
We recognize the importance of both issues - a seamless
interchange between HS2 and Crossrail, and the need to consider
dispersal of HS2 passengers at Euston.
In considering the former, HS2 Ltd's analysis, however,
fails to consider wider network issues. Network Rail's most recent
London & South East Route Utilisation Study recommends further
study of diverting existing West Coast Main Line (WCML) inner
and outer suburban services to, respectively, London Overground
As well as taking passengers closer to their ultimate
destinations, and dramatically improving the business case for
the currently under-utilised western arm of Crossrail, this would
release significant capacity at Euston, allowing easier phasing
during construction and providing some congestion relief on the
LUL network at Euston.
The same study also suggests that GWML capacity could
be optimized by an integrated approach to planning long distance,
Thames Valley and Heathrow services, (in part enabled by expiry
of Heathrow Express's access rights in the medium term).
Our view is that a variant on the current Crossrail
proposal could provide a fast service between Reading, Heathrow
Hub and Paddington, from where, (assuming a new grade separated
junction between main and relief lines west of Paddington), trains
would call at all central London stations. As well as providing
an attractive Crossrail interchange, this would also reduce journey
times to Heathrow from central London and the east, (important
if Heathrow Express is downgraded or removed), and relieve congestion
on long distance GWML services between the Thames Valley and Paddington.
We suggest that such an approach also balances HS2's
current London - centric focus, since a Heathrow Hub interchange
would improve wider connectivity for non-London passengers.
Turning to the issue of HS2 passenger dispersal at
Euston, HS2 Ltd's own analysis demonstrates that the proposed
Old Oak Common HS2/Crossrail interchange makes, at best, a marginal
difference to crowding on the LUL network at Euston.
HS2 Ltd. forecast 
that average loadings on all LUL services to and from Euston Underground
Station in the 7-10am morning peak (expressed as LUL load factor)
2033 with HS2 without OOC - 194%.
2033 with HS2 with OOC - 191%.
Old Oak Common therefore appears to make very little
difference to levels of crowding on the Underground at Euston,
a difference of perhaps 3% on what would, in the absence of further
capacity enhancements, be an already massively overcrowded LUL
network by 2033.
It is significant that HS2 Ltd's most recent update
to the Business Case notes that omitting the proposed Old Oak
Common interchange improves HS2's BCR.
Greengauge 21's submission to Network Rail's consultation
on the London and South East Route Utilisation Study
similarly concludes that consideration should be given to omitting
an Old Oak Common station on HS2.
Q14. If a route were to be provided via Heathrow,
what is your latest estimate of the time penalty that would be
incurred by stopping trains at Heathrow? Has this figure been
used in your economic analysis?
HS2 Ltd. states that "the economic analysis
assumes that the journey time penalty of going via Heathrow would
be an extra seven minutes including a station stop." As noted
above, this assumes services would stop at both Heathrow and Old
Oak Common. In practice, this is unlikely and unnecessary.
HS2 Ltd. confirm that their design of a route via
Heathrow differed from that proposed for Heathrow Hub. In particular,
HS2 Ltd. assumed that the alignment to the west of the interchange
would severely restrict line speed.
In fact, the alignment we propose does not restrict
speed in this way, which therefore suggests that HS2 Ltd. overstate
the journey tine penalty for a route via Heathrow. Nevertheless,
using HS2 Ltd's assumptions, journey times for non-stop services
via Heathrow Hub are faster than a route via Old Oak Common as
shown in Appendix B.
8 September 2011
COMPARISON OF COSTS
COMPARISON OF JOURNEY TIMES
348 Sunday Times, 4 September 2011
Letter to Lord Adonis from Sir David Rowlands, 13 February 2009
Hidden value of nature revealed in groundbreaking study, DEFRA
para. 4.3.4, Demand Model Analysis, HS2 Ltd, February 2010 http://www.scribd.com/doc/39672277/High-Speed-Rail-London-to-the-West-Midlands-and-Beyond-HS2-Demand-Model-Analysis Back
"Accounting for the increased costs associated with the
extra station, the BCR of the scheme reduces from 1.75 without
Old Oak Common to 1.63 with it. This suggests that, on the basis
of the current representation of the station and its impacts,
there is not a financially positive case for the station"
- Modelling and Appraisal Updates and their impact on the
HS2 Business Case - A Report for HS2 Ltd, Atkins April 2011 http://www.hs2.org.uk/assets/x/77824
Letter from Greengauge 21 to Network Rail, 16 March 2011 http://www.networkrail.co.uk/browse%20documents/rus%20documents/route%20utilisation%20strategies/rus%20generation%202/london%20and%20south%20east/consultation%20responses/g/greengauge%2021.pdf
"West of the M25 and the station throat, the alignments
would dip down to a tunnel portal. On the approach to the tunnel
the horizontal alignment would restrict speeds
to 130kph" - p. 216 Route Engineering Study Final Report
- A Report for HS2, Arup December 2009