Written evidence from Interlinking Transit
Solutions Ltd (HSR 168)|
HIGH SPEED TRAINS FROM LONDON TO THE NORTH
The High Speed North (HSN) study commissioned by
the 2M Group in 2008 demonstrates the most efficient way to implement
high-speed rail in Britain. The schematics above indicate the
comparative features between HSN and HS2. This submission is made
by Interlinking Transit Solutions Ltd., a group of like-minded
professionals keen to promote efficient rail solutions.
1. Main arguments
High-speed rail for Britain will add tangible benefits
both economically and environmentally, provided the fullest of
integration is achieved.
High Speed North (HSN) differs from HS2 with a strategy
defined as "spine and spur". The strategy permits connectivity
and integration of the nine conurbations of England and Scotland
with a network that has double the connections of HS2 and is more
achievable in terms of cost and time.
All those points will be touched on in this submission,
but it needs to be highlighted from the outset that the spine
and spur strategy of HSN was dismissed by HS2 Ltd for a handful
of reasons. To redress those; HSN will connect directly with Heathrow,
while along the M1 corridor has more manageable blight than a
Chilterns route, and creates a quicker journey between London
and Birmingham. The economic argument is also better addressed
by HSN by of developing both the national and regional economies
with inter-urban connections and a self-sustaining high-speed
rail network, in terms of both finance and the environment.
There are many advantages to the spine and spur of
HSN, as set out below.
2. How does HSR fit the government's transport
HSN simply costs less than HS2 to construct and operate
whilst also delivering twice as many inter-urban connections and
10 years sooner, including Scotland.
HSN does not fit the government objective of producing
a Y shaped network, but the design and construction of the "spine
and spur" network would be quicker and within the time
frame of this Government to consider.
The profitability and secondary revenue streams created
by HSN give rise to investment potential and self-sufficiency,
that creates better arguments than Benefit Cost Ratio while reducing
the strain on the public purse than HS2.
The carbon footprint of HSN is less than HS2 by
a factor of 10. The modal shift from cars
is greater because of greater scale and scope, which then creates
more incentives to "leave the car at home". The inter-urban
passenger trains will free up more capacity on the conventional
networks than HS2, including freight, and these points all contribute
to the CO2 modelling that makes HSN better.
Proximity to the Midlands Mainline (MML), means the
HSN network delivers greater benefits to the Strategic Freight
Network. DfT proposals to connect the MML with Channel Tunnel
could more easily go ahead because of what HSN can achieve for
the MML in the future.
Carbon reductions for HSN are circa 20 million tonnes
per annum, compared with HS2 reductions of only 5 million tonnes
per annum (Calculations supplied on request). This makes real
contributions to the Climate Change Act.
Avoiding the Y configuration gives HSN a shorter
construction time. This is extremely important in convincing government
to change tactics for high-speed rail, whilst also assuring the
profitability of HSN. From the outset HSN costs less to operate
and includes Heathrow and Scotland.
Speed is secondary to connectivity with the HSN strategy,
because connectivity reaps larger dividends both economically
and environmentally. The network will be designed for speeds of
360 kilometres per hour and connect 42 destination pairings, double
that of HS2. This translates into more revenue streams and less
An operational speed on the network of 300 km/h delivers
the best frequency, waiting times, energy demand and capacity
while still delivering a three-hour journey between London-Edinburgh.
HSN not only bridges the north-south divide it also
makes the east-west connections that will gravitate people toward
industry rather than only into London.
The scale and scope of HSN creates real alternatives
to short-haul flights and car journeys because the connections
and frequency of service are convenient.
Speed differentials between high speed and low speed
trains are the primary justification for a separate high-speed
network. Conventional networks can therefore be devoted to regional
passenger services, plus freight trains that travel together at
similar sorts of speed. Inter-urban transportation would benefit
greatly from a segregated high-speed network serving the nine
conurbations of Britain with frequencies up to 15 trains per hour
travelling at speeds of 300 kilometres per hour. A separate high-speed
network provides greater benefit to all sectors of rail and the
High Speed North network does that with the least impact.
HSN with its more ubiquitous rolling stock and speeds
will be able to utilise conventional tracks and alignments at
some terminus points like Heathrow and Birmingham New Street.
Firstly, this creates the shortest walking distances when inter-connecting
with other modes, while secondly, permitting the interim use of
conventional tracks and alignments during construction of various
portions of the high-speed network.
The enduring argument for high-speed rail is that
it should benefit both the economy and the environment. For this
High Speed North "ticks all the boxes" in terms of
capacity, connectivity, modal shift, pollution, economics and
the desire for a sustainable business model. (Calculations
available on request.)
Implications for Domestic Aviation
Heathrow's short-haul domestic flights can be replaced
by high-speed rail, but only HSN is offering direct connections
into the Heathrow campus.
Airport movements of 20,000 to 30,000 flights per
year could be replaced by HSN and by utilising the existing tunnelled
rail alignments at Heathrow. This encourages modal shift via market
forces rather than taxation or increases in airport duties. The
median of 25,000 flights per year is 7% of flights at Heathrow.
However, the spend-per-head with HSN is much less
than HS2 in connecting Heathrow, along with CO2 reductions
per passenger. Connecting Cricklewood to Heathrow via portions
of the Great West Railway alignment into Heathrow would cost £4 billion.
A tunnel extension west of Terminal 5 with the GWR would create
a loop and bi-directional flows into Heathrow with benefits shared
between Crossrail, Heathrow Express and High Speed North.
HSN can connect planes and trains at Heathrow using
a convenient and simply understood strategy. Additionally, transferring
passengers within the airport campus creates opportunity to incorporate
baggage and Border Control processes that make this a cost effective
alternative to many short-haul flights. The connections create
mutual benefits for both the airlines and Heathrow.
High-speed rail does not replace Runway 3 in terms
of capacity, but instead creates a mulit-modal hub for Heathrow
that can move an extra 20 million people.
The sketch indicates the connection between Cricklewood
and Heathrow with a dashed line. (Further specifications are available.)
Connecting Heathrow to Scotland, Europe, and the
Midlands is a priority made possible by the interchange at Cricklewood.
For Heathrow this means frequency of three to five high-speed
trains per hour, whilst also accommodating similar frequencies
for Crossrail and Heathrow Express.
The opinion here is that Gatwick and Heathrow should
be connected and integrated by a proven transit system along the
M25 corridor. All five terminal-areas at the two airports can
be interconnected. This better justifies a new runway for London
to be situated at Gatwick.
A rapid transit system between the two airports could
deliver 4 million passengers per year to Heathrow and High
Speed North, from Surrey, Sussex and Gatwick.
The High Speed North proposal, with its ubiquitous
rolling stock and numerous connections, provides quicker journeys
than many short-haul flights. Journeys to Paris and Edinburgh
from Heathrow would be under 3 hours 20 minutes and just as important,
this would be delivered with high frequency of service.
HSN at Heathrow could deliver circa 16,000 passengers
per day to the high-speed rail network who would otherwise take
short-haul flights. (Estimates available.)
High Speed North (HSN) does more to achieve the
government aspirations to improve London's status as a hub to
the world simply by connecting high-speed
trains "directly" into Heathrow.
3. Business Case
The opinion here is that high-speed rail can be profitable
for the sake of the country's rail capacity and for the economy.
Benefit Cost Ratios (BCR) are only briefly mentioned because the
focus here is on profitability and what HSN can deliver to investors
in terms of cost and revenue, that are better than HS2.
Profitability and efficiency are at the centre
of this plea to the Parliamentary Select Committee to review the
case for HSN as the alternative to the HS2.
The greater balance of regional benefits and hardship,
plus reduced environmental impact, mean that HSN can be put forward
as both a Stakeholder programme and a PLC to secure the confidence
of investors and government.
Much design work has been completed on 1:50,000 mapping
along with the intrinsic knowledge derived from that, to demonstrates
the business case for HSN.
HSN delivers connectivity plus revenue streams into
areas where they are most beneficial to the customers as well
as the business model. The four phases can operate somewhat independently
during construction so that high-speed trains can utilise portions
of the conventional network while developing inter-urban connections
and revenue streams.
From the outset HSN
is a national programme and that is one reason the M1 corridor
is chosen. However, this corridor also delivers sooner construction
to Birmingham and Leicester while introducing important revenue
streams by year 4.
The 933 km network for Scotland and England is divided
into four phases of construction with CAPEX and finance also phased-in.
The entire HSN network is estimated to cost £40 to £50 billion
to build with the projections (graph) assuming:
finance with varying amortisations.
internalised revenue or subsidy.
CO2 predictions are 10 times better
than HS2, based on the greater connectivity of HSN. CO2
defines the network efficiency and its ability to create modal
shift from cars and road-freight onto rail, along with airline
passengers into trains.
Internalised revenues of 15% of net cash are used
for the projections. They would be derived from a list of Stakeholders
that would include:
companies along the WCML, MML, & East Coast Mainline (ECML);
rail companies along the WCML and Chilterns railway;
and County Councils at the terminus points; and
Agencies and regulatory bodies.
Internalised revenue then becomes part of the Benefit
Cost Ratio and this is estimated to be about 3 to 1 with the CO2
efficiencies of HSN acting as the harbinger for overall efficiency
and financial success.
What would be the pros and cons of resolving capacity
issues in other ways?
This question presently makes reference to the West
Coast Mainline (WCML) in most peoples' eyes. The problem with
introducing higher speed trains to the conventional corridor with
proposals like Rail Package 2 (RP2) proposal is that it introduces
larger speed differentials between trains in the corridor, which
either reduces frequency or creates demand for more lanes of track.
Operating HSN on a separate network is the best way
to introduce added rail capacity for the country while also introducing
inter-urban connections. The conventional network can increase
capacity while maintaining similar sorts of speeds. For example,
Coventry and Milton Keynes will maintain present frequency of
service to both Birmingham and London, which creates support for
HSN from the Chilterns' population who maintain their choices
and for Coventry who maintain their present services.
A segregated "spine and spur" network for
HSN delivers regional benefits to slower trains travelling at
circa 150 km/h and national benefits to high-speed trains
that can travel un-impeded at 300 km/h.
What lessons should the Government learn from
other major transport projects
A stakeholder business model in the form of a Public
Limited Company becomes the most effective model for HSN because
it is profitable and has least social impact. The diminutive
level of blight throughout the HSN network causes fewer regional
differences and arguments about who is benefitting who such
as exists between Buckinghamshire and Yorkshire. This balanced
level of benefit and risk encourages more equal participation
from the different regions.
A Public Limited Company for HSN makes sense because
there is the potential for direct profitability for the generation
who are going to invest in it.
Stakeholders and Investors acting in unison within
a Public Limited Company will help to distribute the risks and
the benefits and creates self-regulation; its a bit like a toll
bridge where the tolls are equitably managed for the benefit of
Lessons in managing prestige engineering project
can be gleaned from a number of projects such as Concorde, the
R101 Airship, Shinkansen, TGV, MagLev, the Isle of Sky Toll Bridge,
Channel Tunnel, Eurostar, and Heathrow T5.
Speed and connectivity are the two attributes that
can be more equitably managed within the HSN strategy. This gives
the best balance of capacity, environmental sustainability, profitability
and speed, all in the same formula.
High Speed North will be a tangible asset to both
this generation, who will be able realise their investment, and
the next generations who will receive a legacy that is engineered
to be future proof and not a financial burden.
4. The Strategic Route
Interfacing HSN with other rail networks will be
more effective with HSN than HS2. This is why the Carbon footprint
and ridership are as robust as they are.
Old Oak Common is still important, but rather than
becoming an intercity interchange the HSN strategy advocates its
use as a connection between WCML and Crossrail, primarily for
the sake of commuters.
HSN proposes that Tottenham Court Road be connected
with Euston and St Pancras with a new transit system. This makes
the connection between Crossrail and HS1 and HS2 through Tottenham
Court Road with a simple extension of concept already put forwarded
by ARUP between Euston and St Pancras. Cost would be circa £400 million
with benefits to all transport services around Euston.
Using Birmingham New Street along with reasonable
200 metre trains enhances the integration because that's what
customers would prefer and it made possible via the M1 route.
Adding to that is the unique east-west connection through the
Woodhead corridor of the Pennines that creates a bi-directional
flow of people for the Midlands. This part of the HSN strategy
strengths the sustainability of the business model while delivering
better economic benefits to the country.
5. Economic rebalancing and equity
HSN does more than just bridge the north-south divide.
The intermediate phases of the network construction will strengthen
the economy of the Midlands while later phases are designed to
connect Scotland and add speed to the longer legs for the benefit
of modal-shift and CO2 reduction.
The economic strategy helps industry remain in situ,
while making fast connections to London for political and financial
Freight capacity to the Midlands uniquely benefits
from HSN by its proximity to the MML and trans-Pennine freight
HSN "does more" than HS2 to develop business
and industry where it already exists because it implements the
bi-directional flow of people and commerce from a broader high-speed
A privately operated high-speed network is possible
with HSN, whereby the combination of a Stakeholder programme and
Public Limited Company helps the Government to maintain regulation
and ensure that profitability. The balances, made possible by
the even spread of risks and benefits makes possible a more overall
support for high-speed rail throughout the regions it serves.
Any number of successful infrastructure projects
can be compared and this should prompt further investigation into
HSN as a viable formula for a British high-speed rail network.
HSN delivers the best speed, connectivity, and value for money.
"Modal shift" is the usual reason given
for promoting high-speed rail. The number of people of who choose
the train over the car or plane will need to be significant to
justify this claim, and HSN achieves this through better scope
and scale. In terms of CO2, HSN is better than HS2
by a factor or 10 because it makes more connections and does it
with less construction and fuller trains.
In terms of economic impact, HSN the regional benefits
and Benefit Cost Ratio are primary reasons for asking the Parliamentary
Select Committee to ask seek further evidence from ourselves and
others whilst also reviewing the HS2 proposal.