Written evidence from David Thrower (HSR
1. Rail passenger use is rapidly growing. Between
1994-95 and 2009-10, total passenger miles on the main line (Network
Rail) system rose from 18 billion to nearly 32 billion (+78%).
The total number of long-distance journeys by rail more than doubled
between 1994-95 and 2009-10. Some of the UK's key rail routes,
including the WCML, are forecast to be completely full in peak
hours in the next 20 years. (source: Department for Transport).
Further growth on London-Manchester services alone is expected
to be 60% by 2024 (source: Network Rail). Long distance travel
(all modes) in the UK is forecast to increase 46% by 2033. Key
drivers are income, regional interdependence, employment, land-use,
and population increases.
2. Although total freight moved on the UK rail
system has fallen (freight moved in 2009-10 was down 7.6% on 2008-09),
this is due mainly to a sharp fall in coal tonne-kilometres moved
(mainly in the North and Scotland), and a small reduction in oil
and petroleum. However, even during the economic recession, several
elements of rail freight (including flows in the South of England
and WCML) have steadily increased. For example, in 2009-10, domestic
intermodal freight grew 6.5%, metals by 6.8%, international freight
by 5.7% and construction by 3.0%, compared with 2008-09 (source:
Office of Rail Regulation).
3. The need for greater and more reliable north-south
transport capacity is already apparent, and deferral will only
result in the problems of future rail congestion having to be
re-addressed at a later date, possibly at greater ultimate expense.
4. The solution of providing wholly new high-speed
rail capacity is well established in many other countries. There
is nothing about the UK that makes it a specially-unsuited case
for such a solution, and indeed, as a "crowded island",
the need is arguably all the greater. The need for high speed
rail has already been grasped with the successful Channel Tunnel
Rail Link (now known as High Speed 1).
5. High Speed 2 is not just about providing greater
capacity and shorter journey times for long-distance travel. The
southern end of the WCML already conveys a contradictory cocktail
of non-stop, semi-fast and stopping passenger trains plus heavy
freight trains, and further growth in all these sectors is anticipated.
The Midland Main Line and East Coast Main line face similar problems.
Strong growth in demand for WCML capacity is expected to continue,
and growth by 2036 on the Midland Main Line and East Coast Main
Line is expected to be more than 70% greater (source: Network
Rail), with even higher growth on specific services. Population
and housing growth will be additional key drivers, but the need
for increased freight capacity is also critical.
6. HS2 will be the M1 motorway of the rail network.
Because of the long lead time in creating a full high speed rail
network over the next two decades, starting with the HS2 London-Birmingham/Lichfield
section of HS2, a firm resolution to proceed needs to be taken
now. This will constitute an historic decision.
7. This submission:
with the Committee's questions in the order that they set them.
summarizes some recent support for High Speed 2 (Appendix I).
out some of the policy backdrop to High Speed 2 (Appendix II).
other High Speed Rail route study findings (Appendix III).
8. In the 1960s, as demand for travel increased,
rail capacity on the UK's north-south axis was paradoxically severely
cut back. In the past 15-17 years, these serious transport planning
errors in terms of lost capacity and services have been belatedly
realised. Some £9 billion was invested in upgrading the West
Coast route, with accompanying upgrading of the Chiltern route.
Although this significantly improved these routes, it has still
not led to a commensurate increase in capacity on the WCML, which
retains significant inherent problems, particularly in accommodating
traffics of varying speeds and stopping patterns.
9. Attempting to squeeze more and more services
conveying different traffics of varying speeds onto an already
very busy railway will gradually act against the growth of each,
and against many Government policies.
10. The WCML route's speeds on the urban approaches
to cities also remain particularly low. Timetabling fast and semi-fast
passenger services, commuter services, stopping services and freight,
to provide for anticipated growth, is already extremely challenging,
and will progressively become impossible without adverse effects
upon customers, including logistics firms. The prospects (without
HS2) are for increased overcrowding and a gradual worsening of
11. The Government's HS2 proposals, for a 335-mile
Y-shaped network will:
the rail capacity previously lost from Britain's north-south axis,
providing adequate resources for future generations' needs.
in rebalancing the UK economy, encouraging investment in the Midlands
and North, improving accessibility, aiding efficiency and the
ability to move freight reliably (on the classic network) and
providing sustainable transport for a very significant proportion
of the UK population.
a 21st-century-standards high speed link to connect the majority
of the UK's major Midlands and northern citieseither directly
or with onward runningto London and the South East, to
Heathrow and to Scotland (at a later stage) and to High Speed
1 and the European high speed rail network.
HS2 ISSUES IDENTIFIED
Issues identified by the Committee are summarized
in turn below, with brief answers.
How Does HSR Fit In With Government Transport
12. How does improving inter-urban connectivity
compare in importance to other transport policy objectives/spending
programmes?HS2 fits in extremely well with other programmes.
It will greatly improve UK inter-urban connectivity, essential
to the efficient functioning of the UK economy. A very significant
proportion of population and economic activity is centred upon
the major English and Scottish (and Welsh) urban areas, and it
is this which is threatened by serious and growing inter-urban
(and urban) highway congestion and the new and growing phenomena
of rail congestion. HS2 will give much of the national rail network
the capacity it needs to accommodate additional passengers and
13. For speed, critics have claimed that HS2
will reduce journeys by "only a few minutes". This is
factually incorrect. The following journey times will be achieved
by the full "Y" network to Manchester and Leeds, of
which the London-Birmingham/Lichfield section in consultation
during 2011 forms the first, essential, phase:
cut from 84mins to 49mins.
cut from 128mins to 80mins.
cut from 130mins to 96mins.
cut from 129mins to 75mins.
cut from 140mins to 80mins.
cut from 189mins to 157mins.
cut from 270mins to 210mins (source: HS2Co).
14. In addition to dramatically improving London-Birmingham/Manchester/Leeds
journey times, HS2, when extended to Manchester and Leeds, will
offer major reductions in journey times between Midlands/Northern
city regions, compared with 2011 times. Examples are Birmingham-Manchester,
cut from 95 minutes to 54 minutes (reduction of 43%) and Birmingham-Leeds,
cut from 120 minutes to 65 minutes (reduction of 46%). This will
bring further user/regeneration benefits.
15. HS2 will also dramatically improve connectivity
between WCML locations and Heathrow Airport, Crossrail (including
the West End, City and Canary Wharf), and High Speed 1 and the
Channel Tunnel. Interchange with Crossrail will (with one change)
bring Manchester within just over 100mins of Canary Wharf, compared
with 170-180mins today. Also, a regular direct UK-regions-to-Europe
train service, perhaps Birmingham-Stratford-Ashford-Lille-Paris,
would become a realistic potential option.
16. What would be the implications of HSR
expenditure on the "classic" network?Concern
has been expressed by critics that the classic network could be
neglected. But there is no evidence of this to date in recent
Coalition Government announcements. In contrast, there has been
a recent succession of major infrastructure project announcements
(North West electrification, Great Western electrification, Reading
re-modelling, Birmingham New Street reconstruction, Swindon-Kemble
doubling, Ordsall Curve, Nuneaton chord, Hitchin flyover). The
Midland Main Line electrification north of Bedford is awaiting
progress with the HS2 consultation exercise, but an early start
on simultaneous MML electrification during GW electrification
(or vice versa) was always unlikely anyway.
17. Vitally, construction of HS2 will offer a
major boost to the classic network, by freeing-up capacity on
the latter for:
semi-fast services serving important intermediate centres such
as (on the WCML) Crewe, Stafford, Lichfield, Tamworth, Rugby,
Northampton and Milton Keynes, (on the Midland Main Line) Leicester,
Kettering, and (on the ECML and associated routes) Doncaster,
Retford, Newark, Grantham, Peterborough, Hull, Lincoln and Cambridge.
commuter stopping services from important intermediate stations
southwards from Rugby/Northampton, Kettering, Peterborough, Cambridge.
new services such as Milton Keynes-Aylesbury-London.
half-hourly frequencies on existing stopping services such as
Milton Keynes-Watford-Olympia-Clapham Junction-East Croydon and
services in the Midlands such as Northampton-Coventry-Birmingham
and Trent Valley stopping services, plus better local services
on the Stafford-Crewe-Stockport-Manchester, Stoke-Stockport-Manchester
and Sheffield-Leeds corridors.
regular-interval links between local intermediate WCML, MML and
ECML stations, eg as Rugby, Stafford, Newark, Doncaster.
CrossCountry services from the South and South-West to the North-West/North-East.
domestic (UK) freight services from Southampton, Thamesport and
Haven Ports to the Midlands, North and Scotland, and services
from other terminals.
international freight services via the Channel Tunnel.
18. It is notable that the above includes very
significant intermediate beneficiaries along the present London-Birmingham
corridor. That HS2 will not call between Birmingham Interchange
and Old Oak Common does not mean that no location between Birmingham
and London will benefitquite the reverse. As explained
above, there will be similar local beneficiaries all along the
London-Nottingham/Derby (Midland) and the London-Leeds/York (ECML)
19. Planning for HS2 is already well-integrated
with that for the classic network, with the 2010 Network Rail
Draft Route Utilisation Strategy including the following:
development of HS2 between London and Birmingham, and then to
Manchester and Leeds, to release fast-line capacity on the classic
WCML for additional commuter and other services".
of additional fast peak commuter and off-peak long-distance 'classic'
services, including additional capacity into London Euston".
20. Work by Greengauge 21 has identified the
opportunity for two new semi-fast regular-interval hourly (combined
half-hourly) classic WCML services, bringing new travel and connectional
facilities to a number of significant towns that at present have
poor WCML services (with no other hope of improvement):
(a) Manchester, Stockport, Macclesfield, Congleton,
Kidsgrove, Stoke, Stafford, Lichfield, Tamworth, Nuneaton, Rugby,
Milton Keynes, Euston.
(b) Crew, Stafford, Rugeley, Lichfield, Tamworth,
Atherstone, Nuneaton, Rugby, Northampton, Euston.
21. The work by Greengauge 21 identified that
these would be supplemented by:
even-interval half-hourly service from Wolverhampton and Sandwell
& Dudley or Walsall to Birmingham New Street, Birmingham International,
Coventry, Milton Keynes and Euston, offering similar journey times
from Birmingham and Coventry to today's services.
half-hourly regional semi-fast services between Birmingham, Northampton
Northampton-London services serving principal stations.
outer-suburban stopping service.
of the Milton Keynes-Olympia-East Croydon stopping service.
22. The above is detailed to help refute the
allegation that Coventry, Rugby, Milton Keynes and other stations
will somehow "lose out" when HS2 is built. The very
reverse is the case. And HS2 will additionally permit new services
to link Walsall, Shropshire and Mid and North-East Wales with
London. Elsewhere, other wholly new services could equally be
provided on the Midland Main Line and ECML.
23. It will also be particularly important to
provide additional north-south capacity (through construction
of HS2) so that the classic network can (a) serve the rapid population
growth envisaged for the Milton Keynes-South Midland sub-region,
and (b) meet future freight growth resulting from shifting more
international freight from road-ferry-road or road-Le Shuttle-road
to rail haulage throughout (or as far as inland UK terminals).
24. Investment in HS2 will therefore significantly
reduce the need for massive capacity investment in some of the
classic network's trunk line sections, enabling other essential
schemes (Northern Hub, Trans-Pennine electrification, Watford
stations rationalisation, East-West Rail, Blyth & Tyne, etc)
to be brought forward more quickly.
25. What are the implications for domestic
aviation?It is suggested that there will be further
significant reductions in domestic air travel on the HS2 corridor,
particularly because HS2 will offer a significantly better working/travelling
environment with city-heart penetration at each end of many of
26. At present (2010 data), rail has a good market
share for London-Manchester traffic (79%), and a reasonable share
for London-Newcastle (64%). However, for cross-country traffic
that could in part use HS2 it is much lower (Birmingham-Glasgow
30%, Birmingham-Edinburgh 31%), and for Anglo-Scottish traffic
it is lower still (London-Edinburgh 27% and London-Glasgow as
low as 20%). Clearly, there is considerable scope for rail's further
market-share expansion into former domestic air markets, particularly
if HS2 also eventually serves Heathrow.
27. Extension of HS2 to Manchester and Scotland
will bring very significant reductions in Anglo-Scottish rail
journey times, and even further reduce carbon emissions from UK
air travel. HS2Co has estimated that almost two-thirds of forecast
HS2 traffic from Scotland will have switched from air. HS2 will
also permit faster and better cross-country services, again reducing
28. How robust are the HS2 assumptions and
methodology?It is always difficult to accurately predict
future demand precisely for very many years ahead. But reasonably
accurate rail passenger forecasting is relatively well-established
in the UK, and has been refined over many years, although recent
experience has been that demand for new localised schemes such
as new stations has sometimes erred on the cautious, reflecting
the difficulty of accurately modelling human behaviour when many
variables are present. Rail forecasting methodology when used
by others (other than the Department for Transport) must be agreed
in advance with the DfT.
29. The forecasting for HS2 is thus firmly rooted
in past research and experience, and gives significant confidence,
although obviously there will be some uncertainties associated
with some of the major long-term external variables such as world
economic climate, oil prices and emerging climate-change science.
30. It is understood that rail forecasting has
also progressively taken account of technology such as video-conferencing,
homeworking, mobile phones and laptop computer use. There is no
evidence to date that presently-anticipated technological advances
will lead to unexpected step-changes in travel patterns.
31. The quantified costs and benefits of HS2
Phase One, London-Birmingham/Lichfield, calculated as part of
work commissioned by HS2Co, are summarized as follows:
user benefits (business), £11.1 billion.
user benefits (other), £6.4 billion.
quantifiable benefits (excluding carbon) £0.4 billion.
to Government of indirect taxes (£1.3 billion).
transport benefits £16.5 billion.
economic impacts £4.0 billion.
benefits inc wider economic impacts £20.6 billion.
costs £17.8 billion.
costs £6.2 billion.
costs £24.0 billion.
costs to Government £10.3 billion.
ratio without Wider Economic Impacts 1.6.
ratio with Wider Economic Impacts 2.0.
(source: HS2Co, 2009 prices, figures are rounded)
32. It is understood that the economic case for
London-Birmingham/Lichfield is positive with or without the eventual
full "Y" network onwards to Manchester and Leeds. But
the full Y network to Manchester/Leeds, including links to HS1
and Heathrow would:
£44.3 billion (including operating costs);
fares revenue of £27.2 billion;
a net cost of £17.1 billion;
a net present value of benefits of £43.7 billion; and
a benefit/cost ratio of 2.6. These and the above calculations
incorporate "central case" assumptions for variables.
33. It is further understood that sensitivity
testing by HS2Co has considered:
to assumptions regarding the cost of travel.
large changes in road use costs or air fares would be needed to
have a significant effect on the benefit/cost ratio.
a 50% increase in road fuel duty and a 37% increase in air fares
would increase the benefit/cost ratio (even excluding wider economic
impacts) to 2.7.
lower road or air charges would reduce the economic case of HS2.
slower growth (but still an increase) in road/air travel will
again reduce the benefit/cost ratio of HS2.
no growth in road/air travel would result in the benefit/cost
ratio (excluding wider economic impacts) reducing to 1.4.
changes in HS2 costs (higher construction and other costs) would
have an impact upon the economic case for HS2. It is understood
that the range of HS2 cost scenarios tested produce a range in
benefit/cost ratios of between 1.5 and 2.0.
34. What the above means, as HS2's critics have
repeatedly emphasised, is that if all the components of these
calculations worked against HS2, then the scheme's case would
be weakened to the point where it became marginal. But this is
completely artificial and unrealistic. It is extremely unlikely
that in the 2030s the UK would be facing most or all, in simultaneous
combination, of the following:
lower than predicted road costs (note that we have just seen Brent
Crude oil rise from $83 per barrel in October 2010 to $114 per
barrel by May 2011).
low air fares.
rates of road and air travel increase.
high HS2 construction costs, outside the estimates compiled by
high rail fares and charges.
value placed upon time savings.
than predicted rail passenger and freight use.
35. Those promoting HS2 have thus carefully attempted
to rationally predict demand by various modes and to cautiously
assess costs and benefits, using a "middle case" approach
that attempts to be as realistic as possible. HS2Co states that
cost estimates have also been calculated cautiously, using a bottom-upwards
approach, based upon detailed assessment, rather than excessive
optimism. Costs for Phase One have been estimated at £16.0
billion-£17.8 billion, including a plus 64% allowance for
"optimism bias". In other words, assumed costs already
include an allowanceand a very generous onefor any
36. Recent work on UK infrastructure projects
(across-the-board) has identified opportunities for reducing costs
by 15%. If such a reduction could be realised for HS2, then the
benefit/cost ratio (excluding wider economic impacts) would rise
to 2.0, with a higher-still ratio if wider economic benefits were
to be included.
37. The full cost of the "Y" network
identified by HS2Co, that would serve not only London-Birmingham
but also Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds and other cities (with onward
running to Liverpool and to Scotland) is estimated at £32
billion (2009 prices):
a 60-year timeframe, the Y network would generate benefits with
a net present value of £43.7 billion.
net present cost to Government over the same period for building
and operating the Y network would be £17.1 billion.
above would comprise total capital and operating costs of £44.3
billion, less fares revenue of £27.2 billion.
estimate by HS2Co, including allowance for wider economic impacts,
is for a benefit/cost ratio for the Y network of 2.6.
38. Much has been made by critics of the value
placed upon working time in these calculations. Critics have argued
that time spent on trains constitutes valuable working time, and
therefore that journey time reductions (time savings) are not
valuable. But if this were true:
would actually be desirable to have long journeys, say two or
three hours rather than one hour. But commonsense suggests that
businesspeople and others do not seek to maximise the length of
their journeys in such a wayindeed, the reverse is true.
If long journeys were preferred by businesspeople (so as to enable
them to work on the train) then there would have already been
an even greater switch from air to rail than has been the case,
although the modal-switch watershed has undoubtedly already moved
(eg on Manchester-London, post WCML upgrading).
would not suffer peripherality disadvantages from being accessed
via long journeys. In other words, it would be no more disadvantageous
in peripherality terms to locate one's business in (say) Stockport
or Stafford than it was in Milton Keynes, Reading or Woking. Whilst
Stockport or Stafford may have advantages in terms of property
prices, it is counter-intuitive to suggest that being more peripheral
to London and the South-East is in some way beneficial.
39. It is understood that appraisal of HS2 has
used values of time consistent with DfT appraisal guidance. Values
reflect current prices and incomes (an individual's "value
of time" is not the same as "salary earned"). Valuation
of business travellers' time by HS2Co has assumed that users would
otherwise be unproductive during their journey. This approach
has been questioned by HS2 critics, but it is reported (by HS2Co)
that there is very little hard methodological evidence to support
any alternative approach.
40. Investment in a HSR corridor on the north-south
UK axis is relatively "low-risk", as it self-evidently
links very major (in European terms) conurbations with each other,
with Heathrow and with the Channel Tunnel/Europe, tapping into
heavy existing demand and meeting projected future additional
demands, including passenger and freight on released capacity
on the classic-network routes.
41. The extremely long lifespan of HS2 (effectively
infinite) also gives considerable comfort in terms of the long
term business case. Modal shift may even ultimately exceed predictions
due to aspects such as travellers more actively disliking congestion,
or showing greater-then-hitherto concern for the environment.
42. Critics have alleged that past forecasts
for High Speed 1 proved inaccurate. But the following numerous
significant factors need to be allowed for:
impact (now slowly reducing) of low-budget airlines in the 1990s
was not foreseen.
Channel Tunnel's operation has been seriously disrupted by two
major beneath-Channel lorry fires and events such as asylum seekers
and French rail and port strikes (and not helped by snow disruption
and the handling of it).
train-operator charges have until recently been excessively high,
constraining service development.
daytime and night-sleeper services, although forming part of the
original plan to spread the benefits of the Channel Tunnel more
widely through the UK, were never introduced (despite the rolling
stock being built and tested).
(multi-operator) market in Channel Tunnel high-speed passenger
train operationwhich may ultimately lead to regional servicesis
only now beginning to develop, as part of European open access
arrangements that have been slow to develop effectively.
rules (or the interpretation of them) for operating modern high
speed rolling stock designs through the Tunnel have been excessively
restrictive, creating a barrier to entry for new operators.
the Channel Tunnel opening in 1994, High Speed 1 only opened in
2007, and has since very considerably boosted demand.
westward links between HS1 and the WCML (the triangular junction
north of St. Pancras), which permit onward running beyond HS1
to the English regions and Wales/Scotland, were not in place until
Schengen Agreement, making inter-European-state travel extremely
easy and convenient, has not been adopted by the UK.
has been a threat (albeit indirect) from international terrorism,
affecting some international travel, plus a recent very deep European-wide
integrated rail ticketing is still very seriously deficient compared
with airlines, and full-load operation of trains still lags far
43. Despite these problems, which have had a
major collective impact, the use of international high speed services
on HS1 has steadily grown until it is now approaching 10 million
passengers per annum (9.5 million in 2010), with further first-quarter
growth in 2011 of 8%. The route, and its terminal at St. Pancras,
are regarded as extremely successful, and will benefit the UK
for many decades to come. HS1 was successfully delivered on time
and on budget.
44. Post-HS2, there will be some lost passenger
revenue on the classic WCML, MML and ECML routes, but this will
be very significantly offset by operational and maintenance savings
and the development of a significantly greater classic-network
market through the additional passenger and freight links listed
45. What would be the advantages of upgrading
the existing WCML or building a new conventional-type line? (assumed
125mph)Further upgrading of the existing WCML could be
undertaken, but at very great cost. A number of flyovers/diveunders
and numerous major works such as station upgrades and track re-instatements
and re-alignments would be required. These would be individually
extremely costly (as recent cost yardsticks, Reading remodelling
is £850 million, Airdrie-Bathgate upgrade/re-opening £300
million, the single-track ECML Hitchin flyover scheme £62
million, Southampton-Birmingham gauge clearance £71 million,
Swindon-Kemble re-doubling £45 million, Paddington Fourth
Roof Span £40m, the short Ordsall Chord £85 million,
New Street Upgrading £600 million and Farringdon Crossrail
station £375 million). Additional tracks and rail noise from
a new conventional route would also impact upon nearby properties,
and in some cases require demolition of residential and business
properties. When finished, it would have incurred much of the
costs of a new line, but far fewer of the benefits.
46. Significant major rebuilding of city terminal
stations such as Euston would still be required, even without
HS2. The Euston-Bletchley corridor would be particularly difficult
to upgrade, especially at tightly-constrained locations such as
Berkhamsted. In some places, complete (and costly) sections of
new route would still be required. Similar additional works would
also be required on the Midland Main Line and the ECML, as these
routes, too, would be congested if HS2 was not built. Again, upgrading
on these routes would be extremely costly.
47. Network Rail has concluded: "By 2024,
the WCML, particularly at the southern end of the route, is effectively
full, and subsequent additional capacity could only be provided
by exceptionally expensive infrastructure solutions." Already,
bids for additional services which would benefit passengers are
being refused, including in 2011 new Blackpool services, open
access operations and London Midland's extension of services to
Liverpool and Preston. Freight operations are also currently seeking
additional slots at times that suit the logistics industry.
48. It would be possible to build a wholly new
conventional railway for freight only, (or freight and passenger)
to European clearance standards, but again this would be very
costly (more than a high speed passenger railway) due to the need
for a gentle ruling gradient. Although welcome for freight (and
permitting Euro gauge operations), it would not generate more
than a moderate proportion of passenger benefits, due to much
lower speeds/longer journey times. It is most unlikely that freight
potential, and much lower passenger benefits, could finance such
49. There would seem to be only limited gains
to be had from building a new conventional passenger-only railway.
It would have many, or most, of the costs of a new high speed
line, would cost more to operate, and whilst it would ease capacity
problems it would not offer the reductions in journey time that
HS2 would offer. Each of the above alternative-to-HS2 options
has been demonstrated by HS2Co and consultants to be less good
value for money, compared with HS2. Mainland European Governments
notably continue to invest funds in new truly high speed lines,
rather than new conventional lines, for this very reason.
50. What would be the pros and cons of managing
demand, eg by price?demand management would raise serious
ethical/equality issues, as it would effectively force the less
well off to travel at very quiet times (late evening, or at night)
or not at all. It would also be difficult in practical terms to
manage overall travel demand in a balanced way across all modes,
given the lack of road pricing and other factors such as the lack
of duty on aircraft fuel.
51. Lessons to learn from other major projects?there
is evidence that recent UK projects are being significantly better
managed now than a generation ago. The HS2 costings also allow
amply for optimism bias. There is a wealth of experience available
from other Western European countries regarding HSR construction.
52. Are stations at Euston, Old Oak Common,
Birmingham International/Interchange and Birmingham Curzon Street
the best possible locations?In my view, these are all
correct choices. Euston is the vital Central London railhead for
the North, North Wales and Scotland, with excellent local TfL
connections, although limited residential demolition will regrettably
be necessary. Old Oak Common will give interchange with Crossrail/Heathrow
and other services, and constitutes the "trump card"
of the Chilterns alignment. Birmingham Interchange will serve
the WCML, Birmingham Airport and the NEC, and Curzon Street is
extremely well placed for Birmingham city centre, and is well
worth the very modest cost in property demolition. It is also
adjacent to the re-expanded Moor Street station.
53. Regarding Phase One intermediate stations,
it is strongly suggested that there should be none, other than
Old Oak Common and Birmingham International. Further intermediate
stations would add cost, slow-up services and use precious capacity
on what will be an intensively-used long distance line. The criteria
for all stations should be use and distance from London and other
54. I believe that the decision not to route
HS2 via Heathrow, and to provide Heathrow (and Crossrail) connections
at Old Oak Common, with a loop or spur through/to Heathrow (as
recommended by Lord Mawhinney), is correct.
55. Which cities should be served by an eventual
high speed network?the proposed network will serve
the major cities of London, Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield,
Leeds and Leicester/Nottingham (this latter through a parkway-type
station). With onward running over existing lines, services will
serve Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow. It is further strongly
recommended that Manchester should be the main intermediate stop
between London and Glasgow/Edinburgh.
56. It is suggested that the main deficiency
in the current Y-network proposals is the lack of a high speed
spur to serve Merseyside. An early-construction spur from HS2
Phase One to Derby and Sheffield is also justified. The high speed
spur to Liverpool (possibly via Liverpool Airport) should be planned
so that Merseyside is not economically disadvantaged in relation
to Manchester and Leeds. Under present plans, Merseyside-London
travel will take 95mins, 15mins longer than Manchester-London.
This could act as a significant deterrent to businesses considering
locating in/near Liverpool city centre. A spur to Derby and Sheffield
would cut Sheffield journey times ahead of HS2's eventual extension
57. It is understood from the work of HS2Co that
there is a potentially strong business case for extending the
Y-shape route to Scotland. This makes the early progressing of
the initial London-Birmingham/Lichfield section all the more vital.
58. Should the network be built in stages?Yes,
but significantly more rapidly extended to Manchester/Leeds than
is currently planned, by 2025 rather than 2033. Building the network
in stages is the only option capable of being funded. There is
no reason why the Scottish Government (construction of new lines
in Scotland is a devolved decision) cannot commence "HS2S"
in Scotland whilst the English sections are under construction,
providing there is a viable case.
59. Links to HS1 and Heathrow?As
noted above, I believe that the Government's decisions to build
the HS1 link at the outset, and the Heathrow direct link several
years later, are correct, given funding availability, although
in an ideal world the Heathrow spur/loop would come at the earliest
60. What evidence is there that HS1 will promote
economic regeneration?a number of studies have identified
(and attempted to quantify) the regeneration effects of high speed
rail elsewhere in the world These are referred to in Appendix
III. It is difficult to apply these findings with absolute precision
to the HS2 corridor to the North and Scotland/North Wales, as
comparative circumstances involve a number of variables, but HS2,
by connecting up a number of major conurbations/areas, will benefit
very large numbers of people.
61. Wider Economic Impacts calculated by HS2Co
include benefits from improved links between different firms,
which can lead to greater efficiency and cost savings to business
("agglomeration effects"). It is believed by HS2Co that
there may be further potential beneficial economic impacts if
HS2 results in changes in the spatial patterns of economic activity.
It is understood that HS2Co are carrying out further work on HS2's
wider economic impacts. Clearly, the latter are of very significant
interest to the UK regions and to Scotland and North Wales.
62. The Government believes that HS2 will be
a catalyst for economic regeneration, stating: "A British
high speed rail network could contribute strongly to regeneration
in our major cities
.A London-West Midlands line alone
could support the creation of around 40,000 jobs. Successive generations
have sought to bridge the north-south divide. A national high
speed rail network could provide a unique opportunity to finally
ensure it happens."
63. It should be stressed that HS2 is a very
long term investment, and thus that very significant benefits
will flow for many decades (and several centuries) to come.
64. Should the shape of the network be influenced
in order to support local and regional regeneration?A
careful balance must be struck between meeting travel needs and
achieving regeneration gains. SNCF planners have warned UK planners
against acceding to requests for non-essential intermediate stations
for purely regenerative reasons as these will delay the majority
65. HS rail stations should therefore be kept
to a minimum, and routes should be as direct as topography allows.
But the network can be further shaped to aid regeneration, eg
by making Manchester the major intermediate stop between London
and Scotland, and building a western high speed spur from Cheshire
to serve Merseyside, as long as this does not damage overall network
66. Locations and socio-economic groups that
could benefit from HS2?the locations that benefit will
be the city regions directly served, and those served through
onward running onto the classic network. But other areas/locations
can benefit too, through good connections to HSR stations, and
those centres on the classic network (such as Stafford, Nuneaton,
Rugby, Milton Keynes) should receive a major boost through improved
regular-interval semi-fast services.
67. All socio-economic groups will benefit from
regional economic rebalancing, and through jobs directly created
by the construction and operation of the new line. It is also
imperative that all groups should be able to afford fares on HS2.
The large number of seats offered daily will ensure that very
attractive discounts are provided, particularly at off-peak times.
All groups will also benefit from reduced congestion, greater
reliability, fewer accidents and lower emissions. All groups would
also benefit from job opportunities, including significant construction
68. It is recognised that the routeing of HS2
through the Chilterns is very controversial for local residents,
and consideration should be given to linking WCML outer-suburban
services into Crossrail to bring a very significant associated
planning gain to at least the eastern edge of the Chilterns area.
69. How should Government ensure that all
major beneficiaries make an appropriate contribution and bear
risks, and should EU support be sought?the major contribution
to funding will be made in the long term by users over succeeding
decades. Local authorities could make a part-contribution to stations
(but should not be permitted to "buy extra stations"),
and could assist in funding complementary schemes such as local
rail and bus networks. Business interests and individuals could
buy shares in operators of passenger and freight services. Developers
could contribute significantly to the costs of stations, but again
must not be allowed to "buy extra stations". The Scottish
Government could contribute to a future Scottish extension of
HS2. Support should be sought from EU funding pools. Rolling stock
owning companies could support investment in new trains.
70. Maximising the spread of contributions will
spread risk. But this is a major long-term strategic scheme, and
Government should remain in the leadership role.
71. What will be the impact on emissions?
How much modal shift would be needed for HSR to reduce carbon?the
answer to these questions is considerably complicated by uncertainties
over (a) future power generation in terms of emissions, (b) future
air and road pricing, whether through carbon taxes or other mechanisms,
and (c) the successful development of future technologies, especially
improved hybrid or battery vehicles.
72. Clearly, in an environment where fuel costs,
fuel taxes (including carbon taxes, legislative changes, technical
advances and rail fares and charges are all variables, it is therefore
difficult to precisely forecast this area. As noted, there will
be significant modal switching when HS2 (and released capacity
on the classic network, for other passenger traffics and freight)
is available. It is understood that HS2's forecasts take a "middle"
prediction stance on carbon.
73. A future power-generation strategy for HS2
will need to increasingly employ "green" sources such
as wind, tidal and hydro-electric power. Should this be the case,
then an electrified HS2 could have relatively low at-source emissions.
74. In contrast, the already significantly reduced
emissions from motor vehicles (including HGVs) and aircraft, as
older vehicles/aircraft are scrapped, will be difficult to reduce
further unless there is a major breakthrough in battery or some
other technology, and this will offer a very large residual transport
emissions base that could thus bring emission-reduction gains
through modal switching to rail.
75. The extent to which modal switching to reduce
carbon can be effected has been carefully measured as part of
HS2Co's and other's studies. HS2Co estimates that for the "Y"
network, 6m air trips and 9m car trips per year could switch to
rail. This estimate may ultimately prove cautious, particularly
for car trips.
76. HS2Co has estimated that the overall carbon
effects of HS2 would be broadly neutral, with an annual range
between -0.41m tonnes to +0.44m tonnes, plus temporary (but not
significant) emissions during construction. Should power generation
be "greened", as above, these estimates may prove cautious,
with a net overall reduction after modal switching (passenger
and freight) is allowed for. Passenger switching as part of the
HS2 package should include new commuter, semi-fast and cross-country
services on the classic network.
77. It may be possible to increase modal switching
even further (over and above HS2Co predictions) in favour of rail.
Factors that may assist this include greater environmental awareness/responsibility
of travellers, further increased awareness of the waste of time
that driving and congestion create, ever-greater parking difficulties,
the expectation that fuel will become more expensive as world
demand intensifies and wholesale prices rise further, and improved
marketing of rail in conjunction with more attractive/simpler
fares and easier booking.
78. HS2's trump cards are that it will make the
trunk part of longer-distance journeys effortless and delay-free,
will offer immense capacity for lower-carbon passenger trips and
freight movement, and will offer many new journey opportunities.
79. An understated key part of HS2's value is
the release of capacity on the existing WCML, Midland Main Line
and ECML for additional freight use, reducing the carbon impact
of heavy lorries. Transport is the fastest-growing source of carbon,
with road transport accounting for 26% of all-sources UK emissions.
HGVs are estimated to account for 23% of carbon emissions from
domestic transport. Rail is very significantly more energy-efficient
than road haulage, which per tonne carried consumes between four
and seven times more energy. Released capacity on the classic
network will further reduce freight carbon emissions. Overall,
I therefore believe that HS2Co's assumptions on carbon emissions
are relatively cautious.
80. The announcement of the European Commission
in March 2011 to reduce Europe's dependence on imported oil and
cut carbon emissions by 60% by 2050, including a 50% shift of
medium distance intercity passenger and freight journeys from
road to rail and waterborne transport is clearly relevant.
81. Are environmental costs/benefits (including
noise) correctly accounted for in the business case?as
noted, environmental costs of HS2 include additional carbon from
power generation, until cleaner sources are brought on-stream.
However, the external environmental costs of power generation
pre-clean-up should not be debited against the long-term environmental
benefits of HS2.
82. Some noise footprint will be generated by
HS2, but experience in Kent and elsewhere shows how the noise
footprint of HSR trains can be mitigated. Overall, noise generated
by HS2 needs to have future very significant noise reductions
of road and air traffic subtracted from the calculation. High
speed rail also has safety benefits (reduced death/injury from
83. In the medium and long term, the noise impact
of HS2 will become less of an issue, as population changes occur
(births/deaths) and people locate close to HS2 as a matter of
free will. The Committee may wish to note this point. It will
be vital to compensate all those immediately affected by noise
84. For emissions costs, it is difficult to place
a precise value on these, partly because future carbon savings
may have been understated, and partly because it is very difficult
to place a precise value on lowered carbon emissions when the
science linking emissions to environmental damage is relatively
85. Impact Of HS2 Upon Freight Services On
The Classic Network?This is one of the most important
aspects of HS2. It is suggested that the major strategic benefits
of HS2 to freight using the classic network has been under-appreciated
to date. At present, there are a very limited number of freight
paths available on the WCML, Midland and ECML. Already, the development
of efficient fast freight links via the classic routes is constrained
by the need to accommodate intensive fast passenger services and
carry out essential maintenance at night. The WCML alone forms
a key section of the following three freight corridors:
Ports-Nuneaton or Stoke-NW-Scotland.
Tunnel and London-NW-Scotland.
86. The longer-term forecasts for freight on
the north-south axis are for continued growth. This is partly
due to UK landmass and European coastal geography (relative positions
of northern conurbations, south coast and east coast ports and
the Channel Tunnel). But growth is expected to develop further
still as port throughputs increase and as competition for freight
through the Channel Tunnel is at last freed from excessive charges/restraints,
and benefits from a deregulated and more competitive mainland
European rail freight sector.
87. Subject to economic recovery, UK rail freight
(including domestic traffic, linked to new distribution warehousing)
is forecast to increase from 23.5 billion tonne kilometres (btk)
in 2006 to 31.0btk in 2015 and to 50.4btk in 2030 (source: Rail
Freight Group/FTA, MDS Transmodal study 2009). Increased rail-connection
to ports and warehousing, and forecast transfer by the logistics
sector of non-bulk commodities to rail for reasons of cost/reliability,
is predicted to expand domestic non-bulk traffic from 1.0btk in
2006 to 14.8btk by 2030, and port-based non-bulk traffic from
4.9btk in 2006 to 19.9btk by 2030, with lesser increases in construction,
automotive and petrochecmicals sectors. Percentages of tonne-kilometres
(rail as % of all modes) could increase from 12.6% in 2006 to
20.7% in 2030.
88. A specific example of a source of freight
growth is cross-Channel railfreight traffic, currently running
at a very poor annual rate of only 1.2m tonnes (was 3.1m tonnes
in 1998). The cross-Channel market for unitised goods (all land-based
modes) is an estimated 90m tonnes per annum (source: Eurotunnel).
Eurotunnel estimates that of this,15m tonnes is suitable for rail-throughout
movement. The annual market for cross-Channel rail freight space
sold to forwarders is estimated at 1.8m tonnes, and cross-Channel
containers destined for the UK but unloaded from ships at European
ports is a further 1.2m tonnes (source: RAIL, 4/11). At present,
most Channel Tunnel freight growth is on HGVs (numbers up 30%
in the first quarter of 2011 compared with 2010). These HGVs add
both to UK motorway traffic levels and emission levels.
89. Based on the above, future growth in rail
freight (both international and national) within the UK, including
deep-sea, bulk and intermodal traffic will require very considerable
additional capacity on the UK's north-south axis, if efficient
transits are to be offered by rail freight operators. Switching
freight to rail has near-universal public support, but continued
growth in passenger traffic, both long-distance and regional and
commuter flows, will be in direct conflict with this freight growth
unless passenger capacity is expanded by building HS2.
90. Some additional capacity could be provided
on the classic rail network through additional running lines,
passing loops and grade separation, but this would only buy time
and (as already noted) would require very significant investment.
The creation of a new dedicated passenger route (HS2) will free-up
capacity on the existing WCML, Midland Main Line and ECML for
additional freight services, and (as previously mentioned) much-needed
additional capacity for cross-country, commuter and local passenger
91. HS2 itself could potentially carry some premium
European-clearance freight. The drawbacks are that, for heavy
freight use, the curvature and gradients would have to be more
moderate than for passenger use. It would, of course, be impossible
to operate freight and high speed passenger at the same times,
as a mixed-traffic railway. Notwithstanding this, HS2 could still,
in my view, open-up the opportunity for a very limited premium
service of through Channel Tunnel (Euro gauge) freight services
late at night, providing this could be accommodated within route
infrastructure maintenance and gradient/curvature requirements.
92. Disruption To Services On The Classic
Network During HS2's Construction?When the WCML upgrading
was carried out, services were very seriously disrupted over long
periods, and much business was lost from rail. There were particular
problems with freight and mails. As noted, further major upgrading
of the classic network would be required on the WCML, Midland
Main Line and ECML, at many locations over many years, with serious
and protracted disruption to passengers/freight customers and
excessive compensation to train operators.
93. In dramatic contrast, the construction of
HS2 will largely not impinge on the classic network at all, except
at the few locations where the trackwork of both physically connect
or intersect. Construction of new stations such as Birmingham
Curzon Street and Interchange would also proceed without disruption.
94. The exceptions (for the London-Birmingham/Lichfield
phase) would be at Euston and at Old Oak Common. However, there
are already strong arguments for major reconstruction of Euston
anyway, even without HS2. The creation of a new short link near
Old Oak Common between WCML local London services and Crossrail
would remove many local services from Euston and permit a careful
phasing of works (across a newly-expanded site) to avoid serious
disruption. Overall, given the scale of the HS2 project, disruption
would be kept to an acceptable minimum.
95. The case for HS2 has received widespread
support in the Midlands, North and Scotland, within the business
community, the transport/logistics industry, the media, and from
local government and from a number of national politicians:
Confederation of British Industry stated: "We support
the business case for a high speed rail line linking London with
Birmingham and the North of England, and we continue to make this
case to the Government." (quoted in RAIL, 3/11)
pressing ahead with a high speed rail network, we can ensure sufficient
rail capacity for the foreseeable future. Some opponents have
argued that upgrading the existing main line networks would deal
with any capacity constraints, but that would only address the
problem in the short term."John
Leech MP (Manchester & Withington, debate, Westminster Hall,
Williamson, chief executive of Leeds, York and North Yorkshire
Chamber of Commerce, recently stated: "High speed rail
is a vital part of the long-term vision for the UK economy
protests of the few are jeopardising the prosperity of the many,
and the propagation by some rural communities that the business
case for HS2 is flawed is incorrect."
3/11, some 90 Yorkshire business leaders signed an open letter
to the Secretary of State in support of HS2. They were backed
by 21 MPs, 14 Council leaders and the major Northern universities.
other countries that have developed high speed rail networksSpain,
Germany, France, China and Japancannot all be wrong."Iain
Stewart, MP (Milton Keynes South, Westminster Hall, 3/11)
Derby and Derbyshire Rail Forum stated (3/11): "We believe
(HS2) will boost business, create jobs and make passengers' lives
easier. It will not only benefit our region
be for the good of the country's future."
21 Campaign stated: "HS2 will provide much-improved links
from the great cities of Scotland, the North and the Midlands
to London and the South-East." (quoted in RAIL, 3/11)
Smith MP (Skipton & Ripon) stated: "It's becoming
more and more evident that there's a chasm between north and south,
and I believe high speed rail will play a major role in addressing
that." (Yorkshire Post, 3/11)
North West Business Leadership Team stated in late 2010: "The
(High Speed) network must be extended to the North and eventually
to Scotland and Wales if the whole UK economy is to benefit, and
the economic disadvantages of peripherality and poor connectivity
are to be overcome." (High Speed To The North WestGrasping
The Opportunity, NWBLT)
Association of Train Operating Companies stated (3/11): "By
deploying the best of British design and engineering in the construction
of the high speed line in Kent in the 1990s, we struck the right
balance between national and local interest. We can do the same
again with High Speed 2".
Palmer, CBI Yorkshire said: "We see real benefits from
having a high speed line
.The Government must commit
to the full network, not just the initial trunk route to Birmingham,
and ensure that the network is adequately connected to international
gateways such as Heathrow and HS1." (Yorkshire Post,
Campaign For Better Transport stated in early 2011 that high speed
rail should form part of a broader national transport strategy
to increase capacity on the rail network, but that existing (classic)
lines should not be neglected.
Higgins, Chief Executive of Network Rail, said in early 2011:
"West Coast (upgrading) has been a tremendous success
within 10 years, and probably six years, the route will be at
absolute capacity, and that's with additional carriages
the only way left to cope with demand (without HS2) will be to
push the prices up."
96. There are a number of policy backdrop documents
to High Speed 2, and a very brief sample, by no means comprehensive,
is given here in chronological order:
for a European High Speed Network",
Community of European Railways, 1989, which looked towards a pan-European
network being created.
call by the North West Channel Tunnel Group in 1990 to construct
a new high speed main line on the West Coast corridor in the early
21st century ("Capitalising on the Channel TunnelAction
for North West England").
by the West Coast Rail 250 Campaign in the early 1990s, which
identified the opportunity for new cut-off (by-pass) lines for
locations such as Stafford. During the mid-1990s, the opportunity
for a new high speed line was further recognised, and adopted
as part of long-term North West regional development planning.
work by Greengauge 21 during the past decade, which has found
a clear positive financial case for an initial UK high speed rail
undertaken in recent years by consultants working for the Department
for Transport and Network Rail, which again found a clear case
for a high speed network.
Stern Report, 2006 (Stern Report on the Economics of Climate
of a Sustainable Railway, Department for
Speed Rail, Department for Transport,
work undertaken by and on behalf of the Government's High Speed
2 company during 2009-11, which has further confirmed the case
for high speed rail, and recommended an initial Y-shaped network
linking London, the West Midlands, North West England and the
East Midlands, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire, with services
continuing to other destinations including Liverpool, Lancashire,
Glasgow/Edinburgh and to North East England.
National Infrastructure Plan, 2010.
Speed RailInvesting In Britain's Future, Consultation Summary,
DfT, March 2011.
European Commission's Transport 2050 Strategy, seeking
a 50% shift of medium-distance intercity passenger and freight
journeys from road to rail/water, with the majority of medium-distance
passenger traffic (300km-plus) using rail.
same strategy delivering a fully-functional EU-wide core network
of transport corridors (TEN-T core network) by 2030, with by 2050
all core network airports connected to rail, preferably high-speed
97. A number of studies elsewhere have generally
confirmed that high speed rail investment brings significant regional
economic benefits. A small selection of these studies' findings
is briefly summarized below.
98. Study by R Vickerman, International Connections
by High Speed RailMetropolitan and Inter-Regional Impacts,
published by Centre for European, Regional and Transport Economics,
University of Kent, Canterbury, (based on a paper presented at
the World Conference on Transport Research, University of California
at Berkeley), 2007:
of new accessibility opportunities.
impact on productivity, competition, and competitiveness.
in patterns of agglomeration, leading to gains in productivity.
workforce participation (access to jobs).
of one to two days per week commuting/homeworking (access to new
99. Study by P M J Pol, The Economic Impact
of the High Speed Train on Urban Regions, published by European
Regional Science Association, August 2003:
regions" become larger.
quality of life and accessibility of city centres.
effect of HSR on regional economies.
can obtain higher position in European city hierarchy.
can stimulate weaker regions to improve economic competitiveness.
100. Study by G De Rus, The Economic Effects
of High Speed Rail Investment, Joint Transport Research Centre,
University of Las Palmas, published by OECD and International
Transport Forum, August 2008:
for investing is strongly dependent on existing traffic base.
depends on time savings, generated traffic, willingness to pay.
beneficial release of capacity on congested alternatives.
speed rail has very long asset life.
101. Study by K Kamel & R Matthewman, The
Non-Transport Impacts of High Speed Trains on Regional Economic
DevelopmentA Review of the Literature, published by
Locate In Kent, November 2008:
of accessibility, and importance of changed perceptions.
in commercial rents, house prices and reduced vacancy rates.
on decision-makers when new businesses are located.
to businesses with strategic/international contracts/linkages.
for investment in other key transport infrastructure.
102. Study by S Randolph, J Haveman and E Egan,
California High Speed RailEconomic Benefits and Impacts
in the San Francisco Bay Area, published by California Bay
Area Council Economic Institute, San Francisco, October 2008:
creation, congestion, development, climate change.
enlarge reachable workforce.
retain businesses that might otherwise move away.
tourism and support hotel/restaurant sector.
capacity at key airports.
for urban infill, more compact development.
uses one-third of air trip carbon and one-fifth of car trip carbon.
103. High Speed Train Impact Study Final Report,
published by HST Impact Consortium, 2008:
speed rail contributes to the economic importance of cities/regions.
investment draws-in other investment, and tends to contribute
to regional economic growth.
exploits the benefits of reduced journey times.
into HSR routes plays a major role in the urban development of
cities, and regenerates deprived areas.
price levels increase in the areas around HSR terminals.
104. Report of Kent County Council, Study
of Kent and High Speed 1 Domestic Rail Services, Kent County
Council, January 2009:
services can be catalyst for future development.
authorities should encourage development and facilitate regeneration.
favourable effects on property (higher demand).
(approx) travel time is important (for HS2, this will benefit
London, Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds).
is important to retaining businesses.
should be integration with local public transport.
105. Study by H S M Sanchez-Mateos (Universidad
de Castilla-La Mancha) and M. Givoni, Accessibility Impact
of New HSR Line in the UKPreliminary Analysis of Winners
and Losers, Working Paper No. 1041, Transport Studies Unit,
University of Oxford, December 2009:
justification for HSR in UK is economic and environmental.
not always be large switch from air to rail.
case could be undermined by non-green electricity.
(non-travel) benefits are employment, agglomeration, economic
reductions in travel time, for cities served.
"shrink" the UK.
106. Study by J Willigers, H Floor and B van
Wee, High Speed Rail's Impact on the Location of Office Employment
within the Randstad Area, 45th Congress of European Regional
Science Association, Amsterdam, 2005:
and connectivity effects of HSR are important.
travel times increases accessibility for business travel.
(in this study) is most important for international services.
concentration of offices around HS stations raises accessibility