Written evidence from the Chartered Institute
of Logistics and Transport in the UK (HSR 100)|
The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport
in the UK ("the Institute") is a professional institution
embracing all transport modes whose members are engaged in the
provision of transport services for both passengers and freight,
the management of logistics and the supply chain, transport planning,
government and administration. We have no political affiliations
and do not support any particular vested interests. Our principal
concerns are that transport policies and procedures should be
effective and efficient and based, as far as possible, on objective
analysis of the issues and practical experience and that good
practice should be widely disseminated and adopted.
The Institute has a specialist Strategic Rail Forum,
a nationwide structure of locally based groups and a Public Policies
Committee which considers the broad canvass of transport policy.
This submission draws on contributions from all these sources.
1. What are the main arguments either for
or against HSR?
1.1 The capacity of the rail network needs to
expand to meet growing demand for travel. High Speed Rail (HSR)
is the most economically efficient means of expanding rail capacity.
Major investment in developing the capacity of existing lines
is both expensive and disruptive, as experience with the West
Coast Route Modernisation showed.
1.2 HSR will enhance accessibility, contributing
to the cohesion of Britain and thus reducing the "north/south
divide". Many current rail journey times are slow and compare
poorly with road. With the proposed "Y" shaped HS2 network,
Leeds and Manchester to Birmingham journey times would be virtually
halved, greatly improving the connectivity of these cities, both
to London and between themselves.
1.3 This would also improve the classic network's
ability to cope with other traffic, which is especially important
for the large intermediate towns or cities (near HS2 between London
and Birmingham) such as Milton Keynes and Coventry. These may
otherwise be faced with increasingly limited access to long distance
trains, due to such services being full before these cities are
1.4 HSR helps address the under-appreciated challenges
associated with population growth, ageing and distribution, and
an increasing propensity to travel.
1.5 The arguments against HSR centre on affordability,
the possible reduction of funds to support the classic network,
alternative means of expanding capacity by more modest multiple
investments, and what might more loosely be called "environmental
1.6 The last of these can be mitigated by careful
routeing of HSR away from sensitive areas and sound protection
measures such as noise barriers. Environmental impacts should
be seen on a "net" basis, taking account of reductions
in effects associated with road and air traffic movements.
2. How does HSR fit with the Government's
transport policy objectives?
2.1 HSR represents a major infrastructure enhancement
which will contribute to achieving Government's sustainability
and carbon reduction objectives. It will relieve congestion on
the strategic road network, reduce pressure on London's congested
airports and by reducing pressure on the classic rail network
enable it to meets the challenges of commuter and regional demand
2.2 As a means of connecting different regions
and urban areas, HSR may be seen as an enabler for economic development,
by reducing journey times and providing the necessary capacity.
Faster journeys by HSR also mean greater productivity for the
transport providers. In broad terms, halving the journey time
allows the same number of trains and staff to provide twice as
2.3 A degree of ring fencing between an HSR network
and the classic network could be introduced, as it was on London
Underground with the construction of the Jubilee Line extension
in the 1990s.
2.4 The problems of urban/suburban networks on
the classic railway will be affected only marginally by HSR and
the continued relevance and need for investment there will remain.
Similarly, freight will continue to depend on the classic network,
where all the freight terminals are located.
2.5 Contrary perhaps to popular belief, the British
internal market for aviation is not strong, due to railway developments
in both speed and frequencies in recent years. It does however
have niche domestic markets, and these include services where
water crossings are involved, such as the Scottish islands, Ireland/Northern
Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. What remains
of the main trunk routes serves markets close to airports, such
as the Thames Valley from Heathrow or Canary Wharf from London
City, or passengers interlining at Heathrow for longer distance
2.6 There is thus little scope for further reductions
in domestic aviation. It is relevant to note that airport operators
and some airlines are fully supportive of HS2, because they feel
that it would enhance connectivity to air services.
3. Business case
3.1 The approach adopted in the preparation of
demand forecasts and in the appraisal of benefits is robust. An
appropriate methodology has been adopted and the assumptions and
appraisal methodology have been subject to peer review.
3.2 The classic railway system has done very
well to accommodate around 40% growth on a more or less fixed
network over recent years, but there are practical limits as to
what more can be achieved. Gradients and especially track curvature
limit future expansion, whilst the four tracking of double track
lines (for instance) imposes both land take and the adoption of
the standards used by the original railway builders.
3.3 HSR has a strong international precedent
demonstrating business benefits. For instance French Railways
built their first high speed line as the most economic way of
enhancing capacity between Paris and Lyon.
3.4 The building of a new classic railway may
be suitable for urban areas, but would be a missed opportunity
for an intercity type operation. It might possibly be cheaper,
but the benefits would also be much less. There is no reason to
conclude that it would avoid environmental problems. It could
not provide the same capacity gains as HSR without a fundamentally
3.5 Any new railway infrastructure designed to
link the core cities of Britain and raise the standards of connectivity
needs to be built to high speed standards. Such standards also
need to be those adopted internationally, if the future holds
large scale increases in the demand for such travel.
3.6 Pricing on the existing network is clearly
an important issue, and there are precedents for controlling demand
by above inflation price increases. But such an approach ignores
Government objectives of facilitating travel and social and economic
regeneration. Managing strategic demand growth through pricing
action will tend to reduce mobility and stifle economic growth
to the detriment of the economic and social wellbeing of the nation.
3.7 A related and perennial issue for transport
is capturing wider economic benefits, such as increases in time
saved by users or in land values, none of which shows in the operators'
3.8 Transport projects can and have been delivered
to time and budget. Evidence from HS1 and other major transport
projects suggest that the key requirements are a clear project
plan, a funding plan, strong project management and good stakeholder
4. The strategic route
4.1 CILT agrees with HS2 Ltd's choice of stations,
both the number and locations. Euston requires improvements in
access to the Underground and the capacity of the Underground
lines serving it, but its superiority to any other reasonably
available site is also apparent.
4.2 The Old Oak Common site for a Crossrail interchange,
with its own access to Central London, is well conceived and potentially
very useful. That extends to connections with services operated
on the Great Western main line, which could offer substantial
benefits to travellers to South West England and South Wales.
4.3 The proposed route of HS2 is commendably
direct. It does not pass near any major towns, and any case for
additional stations is correspondingly weak. HS2 Ltd seem to have
taken much care in minimising the undesirable effects on the communities
through which HS2 is likely to pass and it is not possible to
undertake such major transport infrastructure projects without
some effects on third parties. Existing trunk rail routes, even
when they include major structures such as Welwyn Viaduct, Hertfordshire,
and the Royal Border Bridge, Berwick, do not seem to have had
a seriously adverse effect on nearby local areas.
4.4 The Y network concept should be supported,
albeit as perhaps an intermediate development stage. Success is
likely to result in popular pressure to extend the network to
Newcastle and Edinburgh, and then to Glasgow, so later extensions
to these cities are a distinct possibility. Comprehensive plans
for a national High Speed network are desirable and passive provision
for later construction should be made, where and when sensible.
4.5 There are two reasons why construction should
begin at the London end of the route. Firstly, there are the practical
matters of rolling stock and infrastructure maintenance depots,
for both of which suitable sites have been identified. Secondly,
working north from London would maximise early fares revenues.
4.6 The connection to HS1 is desirable and the
option identified is probably the best that can be achieved physically.
As matters stand, it will however have to rely solely on revenues
from international passengers from Birmingham and those who join
at Old Oak Common. (It is assumed that passengers from Stratford,
Ebbsfleet and Ashford will have alternative provision). The additional
ability to carry wholly domestic passengers on these trains would
have a substantial beneficial effect on service viability. This
is a matter which needs to be resolved by the Borders Agency as
a matter of urgency.
4.7 The proposals to interchange with Heathrow
services at Old Oak Common are appropriate for Stage 1. Filling
1,100 seat trains, which have a modest service frequency from
the West Midlands, direct to Heathrow, is a substantial challenge.
It is not going to happen quickly, and probably needs the stimulus
of the services from Manchester and Leeds under Stage 2 to make
it a viable proposition.
5. Economic rebalancing and equity
5.1 On its own, HSR cannot provide economic regeneration,
but it can make a major contribution. London Docklands provides
a useful precedent. The area could not have been revitalised without
large rail transport investments, but it did need the input of
entrepreneurial bodies. Development had to be underpinned by local
authorities providing planning permission, and the judicial investment
of public money.
5.2 HSR is however more about regional benefits,
particularly those to business. Effective distances are shrunk
and the disadvantages of the time taken in having to travel 100-250
miles are much reduced. The cities in the North/North West and
the Midlands become that much more accessible, between each other
as well as with London and the near continent.
5.3 Care though has to be taken that the High
Speed railway does indeed remain as such, so stops are necessarily
limited. Benefits for those places which are not served directly
may be secured by good quality connectional arrangements, but
the freeing up of the classic network will in itself allow substantial
improvements to be made.
5.4 Planning for HSR should be in terms of the
network which might exist in perhaps 50 years time. It is important
that all interested parties; the cities and regions, industrialists,
economic and social planners, the transport industry, rail passengers
and freight users and the general public, should know what is
intended and be able to plan ahead accordingly.
5.5 Funding should be sought from a wide variety
of sources including local authorities and potentially businesses.
The EU's TEN-T programme should also be regarded as an appropriate
source of funding. In this context, the connection to HS1 and
hence the rest of the European High Speed Network will be an important
6.1 Rail is the most environmentally friendly
transport system and remains the only proven and demonstrably
effective way of using electricity as a source of propulsion in
6.2 The environmental costs and benefits are
properly accounted for in the business case. However, the local
environmental impacts, notably noise and visual intrusion, will
need to be assessed in detail to ensure that the final design
minimises the environmental impact of HSR.
6.3 Freight would remain a classic network customer,
and would be able to benefit from the additional train paths being
made available. The need for operational flexibility is a characteristic
of the freight business, where some traffic flows can change quickly,
so the freeing up of capacity would provide opportunities to serve
this market better. This additional capacity would be shared by
other passenger services, whether long distance, regional or local,
its apportionment between these interests subject to regulation.
6.4 The service disruption challenge from Euston
reconstruction is significant but preplanning can mitigate the
impact considerably, as has been shown with the successful regeneration
of St. Pancras station.
7.1 CILT(UK) understands the planning, construction
and funding challenges of HSR but is fully supportive of this
vital project being progressed.