High Speed Rail - Transport Committee Contents


Further written evidence from Heathrow Hub Ltd. (HSR 150A)

1  1980/1990's - WE'VE BEEN HERE BEFORE

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:

—  Form part of a wider integrated transport & economic strategy.

—  Avoid the railwayman's solution of a point to point line in isolation.

—  Connect with the existing rail network and provide local transport benefits to areas affected by new lines.

—  Minimise the length of route crossing Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

—  Adopt 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 CONSENSUS ON 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:

—  UK's only hub, and world's busiest international airport.

—  Directly responsible for 1% of UK GDP.

—  Vital to UK's international competitiveness, serving seven out of the top 10 business routes in the world.

—  UK's single largest traffic generator and single site employer.

—  Forecast 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 larger aircraft.

A number of wider issues were also recognized as relevant to consideration of HS2 and Heathrow.

—  Heathrow's 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 grows.

—  Heathrow's passenger experience and operational efficiency compares poorly against other major airports.

—  Better 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 from Heathrow.

—  High 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 IGNORED CONSENSUS

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:

—  An assumption that Heathrow's existing (very limited) market catchment would be unchanged by better rail access.

—  Analysis 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).

—  Journey time savings prioritised over intermodal and environmental considerations (including statutory designation of Chilterns AONB).

—  No aviation industry representation on any of HS2 Ltd's Challenge Groups.

—  Little or no weight given to effect of interchange penalty on airport passengers travelling by rail.

—  Government's remit to consider better rail access to Heathrow from the Thames Valley and the west not considered.

—  Pre-conception 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 REVISED PROPOSAL FOR HEATHROW SPUR

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 fundamental problems:

—  Heathrow 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 that period.

—  If, 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.

—  A spur, 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.

—  A spur, and its grade separated junctions with the main HS2 route, would be both costly and environmentally damaging.

—  Two separate, and expensive, stations are required to provide HS2's interchanges with Crossrail and Heathrow.

—  Government's 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).

—  Alternatively, if Government did provide a financial contribution to the cost of a spur, this could lead to State Aid challenges from other airports.

—  Whilst 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 Euston.

—  Services 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.

—  A spur perpetuates the lack of connectivity between Heathrow and GWML classic/Crossrail services.

—  A spur also continues the legacy approach of fragmented planning of air and rail infrastructure at a critical tipping point for Heathrow's future competitiveness.

—  Delaying 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 markets.

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 or loops.

5.  2010 - HS2 LTD IGNORED EUROPEAN PRECEDENTS

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".

Amsterdam Schiphol

"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.

Frankfurt

"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 2010

Brussels Zaventem

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 Projects 2009.

6.  THE SOLUTION—HS2 DIRECT ROUTE VIA HEATHROW

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.

7.  COMPARISON OF ALTERNATIVE HS2 ROUTES

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.

Cost

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 reassessed.

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.

Journey time

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.

8.  COMPARISON OF ALTERNATIVE AIRPORT INTERCHANGES ON HS2 ROUTE VIA HEATHROW

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 baggage … and becomes a fully integrated multi-modal transport hub … 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:

—  Requires lengthy, slow speed deviation in HS2 route.

—  Extensive tunnelling required.

—  Environmental impact of surface sections of route.

—  High cost and risk due to construction in live airport environment.

—  Disruption to airport operations during construction.

—  No connectivity between HS2 and GWML services.

—  Potential 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:

—  Requires minimal deviation in HS2's route between London and Birmingham.

—  Is less costly than the current preferred route.

—  Has little/no impact on London to Birmingham journey times.

—  Increases rail demand and assists HS2's business case.

—  Provides a direct connection between Heathrow, HS2, Crossrail and the classic rail network in the first phase of HS2.

—  Provides wider benefits to the Thames Valley, West and South West, and South Wales.

—  Enables air/rail substitution, providing additional airport capacity and resilience.

—  Assists modal shift from road to rail, reducing Heathrow's environmental impacts.

—  Releases space for aircraft within the existing airport, improving operational efficiency and resilience, and reducing environmental impacts.

—  Airport 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.

—  Transit times reduced by seamless passenger and baggage links between Hub and terminals/satellites within the existing airport.

—  Reduces cost, risk and disruption of developing passenger processing and aircraft facilities necessary for Heathrow's forecast growth.

—  Supports vital hub operations by expanding Heathrow's catchment.

—  Assists UK regional competitiveness through improved access to global markets.

—  Allows a less damaging - and potentially cheaper - route for HS2 through London and the Chilterns.

—  Enables private sector funding.

—  Futureproofs connectivity between Heathrow and any future Thames Gateway airport.

—  Prevents 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, May 2011.

9.  THE SOLUTION—OTHER BENEFITS OF HEATHROW HUB

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 network planning.

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.

CONCLUSION

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 Assembly.

"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

1.  EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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 alternative:

—  Costs less, with costs to the taxpayer further reduced by private sector investment.

—  Provides faster journeys for non-stop trains between London and Birmingham.

—  Spreads the benefits of transport investment to far more of the UK, including the West, South West & South Wales, and at an earlier date.

—  Provides local transport benefits to areas (including the Chilterns) impacted by HS2.

—  Improves UK's regions connectivity with the country's only hub airport, providing better access to global markets and improving regional economic competitiveness.

—  Enables greater modal shift from road to rail, and air to rail.

—  Seamlessly connects Heathrow to the UK's regions and the European HSR network in the first phase of HS2.

—  Reduces Heathrow's environmental impacts, allowing forecast growth within environmental limits.

—  Supports 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 improving resilience.

—  Improves 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.

—  Increases rail revenues on the classic network and Crossrail.

—  Provides 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 TO HEATHROW

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.[348]

Whilst this may at first appear to be outside the scope of the Committee's Inquiry, HS2 Ltd's original remit from Government[349] 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 fares.

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 HS2 LTD'S ADDITIONAL EVIDENCE DATED 30 AUGUST 2011

Q12.  How do the costs of a single route via Heathrow compare with the costs of the HS2 route plus a spur to Heathrow?

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 Hub.

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:

—  HS2 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.

—  HS2 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 between modes.

—  HS2 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).

—  HS2 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 1 infrastructure.

     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 Value terms.

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). [350] 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 and Crossrail.

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 [351] that average loadings on all LUL services to and from Euston Underground Station in the 7-10am morning peak (expressed as LUL load factor) would be:

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.[352]

Greengauge 21's submission to Network Rail's consultation on the London and South East Route Utilisation Study[353] 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.[354]

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

APPENDIX A

COMPARISON OF COSTS

APPENDIX B

COMPARISON OF JOURNEY TIMES




348   Sunday Times, 4 September 2011
http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/uk_news/National/article768355.ece  
Back

349   Letter to Lord Adonis from Sir David Rowlands, 13 February 2009 http://www.hs2.org.uk/assets/x/55864  Back

350   Hidden value of nature revealed in groundbreaking study, DEFRA June 2011
http://www.defra.gov.uk/news/2011/06/02/hidden-value-of-nature-revealed/ 
Back

351   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

352   "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  Back

353   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  Back

354   "West of the M25 and the station throat, the alignments would dip down to a tunnel portal. On the approach to the tunnel portal, … the horizontal alignment would restrict speeds to 130kph" - p. 216 Route Engineering Study Final Report - A Report for HS2, Arup December 2009
http://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/documents/HS2_RouteEngineeringStudyChapter8_2010.pdf  
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Prepared 8 November 2011