Results tagged “HS2” from Passenger Transport Networks

PTN Document

Mr Grayling's utterly closed mind

7 December 2016

Linked below is the reply to the letter signed by 54 experienced and concerned people requesting a meeting with the Secretary of State for Transport [see entry on 16 November].  It offers no apology for the fact that it took 23 working days to be drafted, gives no explanation and does not offer a meeting with the junior minister responsible for HS2.

Supporters have commented that it is "brusque and dismissive", "extremely rude", "curt to the point of offensiveness" and "not the most polite 'no' I've ever read".  Some are raising the matter with their Member of Parliament.

Is this not the sort of behaviour by metropolitan vested interests that is causing so much political concern - and potential dangers - around the country ?

DfT letter 02 Dec.docx
PTN Document

Government blocks debate on HS2

16 November 2016

54 people with extensive experience in transport planning and regional economics asked to meet the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, to express their concerns about HS2 and to propose a review.

The request has been ignored.

The signatories are therefore publishing here the letter and associated documents. We believe that a small group of politicians, lobbyists and vested interests are pursuing a flawed project that does not have popular support. There are better, cheaper, quicker, more flexible schemes available to improve our railway - and needs in other sectors that should be met first if so much money is available

Publication of the letter following the Phase 2 announcement :
HS2 message, 16 November.odt

The letter to the Secretary of State and the list of signatories :
Grayling signatures.pdf

The report of the York workshop :
HS2 - the case for a review - July 2016.pdf

The issue of timetable planning :
Timetabling HS2.pdf
Andersen paper.pdf

A transcript of a crucial interview with Mr Grayling :

The Prime Minister's letter to Camden Council :
May to Hayward 9 August 2016.pdf


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PTN Document

Department for Transport : obdurate, evasive and undemocratic

1 October 2016

Attempts to engage in dialogue with the Department for Transport over HS2 are being met with obduracy and evasion and give the impression that any commitment to democratic involvement has been abandoned.  The report of an expert workshop calling for a pause to review the project [see 23 May 2016] has been ignored, and subsequent correspondence has yielded nothing more than 'boilerplate' responses.  This should cause great concern, given the scale of the project, the breadth and depth of critiques and the danger that pressing ahead will add to perceptions of an arrogant metropolitan clique spending money on schemes irrelevant to most people across Britain.

The correspondence so far  > 
Correspondence with DfT.pdf

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PTN Document

Timetabling HS2

28 September 2016

HS2 Ltd has only published simplistic diagrams of its services that do not enable interested parties to understand the proposals relevant to their area. Even more importantly, those with professional knowledge cannot test whether plans for the infrastructure are appropriate with regard to junction and station capacity and the likelihood of conflicts and the need for compromises. The absence of a properly-validated operational timetable is concerning, given the high risk of costly errors in infrastructure specifications and of changes to the proposals that could disappoint certain places and weaken the business case. It is indefensible that for a scheme costing at least £57 billion a timetabling exercise that need cost no more than £100,000 has not been commissioned.

A briefing note on the issues  > 

Timetabling HS2.pdf

A commentary from Germany      > 

Andersen paper.pdf


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PTN Document

HS2 : the case for a review : report on a workshop

23 May 2016

PTN helped to organise a Workshop in York in April entitled

HS2 : time to proceed or time to review alternative strategies ? 

The 40 participants were professionals with a wide range of views.  A Report on the discussion concludes that there is indeed an urgent need to pause the HS2 project, although not all the findings are equally endorsed by all participants.

High Speed 2 has been promoted as a means of improving rail capacity and connectivity between London and the North of England, rebalancing the UK economy and increasing sustainability.  On each of these four counts the proposed scheme is found to be seriously deficient, and in addition there are profound concerns over its opportunity cost, its independence from the classic rail network, its environmental damage and its wider economic impacts.

The Report is entitled  HS2 and the railway network : the case for a review.

It can be found here > 

HS2 - the case for a review.pdf

Below are links to the correspondence that led to the Workshop, its programme, the slides of the presentations and various other documents.

Letter to the Prime Minister and replies  >

HS2 PM original letter + replies.pdf

Programme of the Workshop  >
HS2 Workshop - programme.pdf

Presentations  >

1 - Jim Steer.pptx
7A - Jonathan Tyler.odp
[over-ride the 'does not exist' message !]
8 - Crozet.pdf

We also heard a radical appeal to the professions to face up to the
realities of climate change (which the HS2 project does not do)  >
Mayer Hillman paper.pdf

More documents may be added later.

Comments are welcome by email to

PTN Document

HS2 : strategic wisdom or grand folly ?

7 April 2012

PTN's position on HS2 has moved as the debate has developed (see other entries under the 'HS2' tag).  This article in the April/May 2012 issue of Rail Technology Magazine explains the doubts.of a 'surprising sceptic' : RTM.pdf.

A fully-annotated version of the article is available here : RTM_with notes.doc.


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PTN Document

Transport Select Committee reviews the capacity of HS2

7 April 2012

Capacity was one of the key issues for critics of HS2 when the Commons Transport Select Commitee [TSC] held hearings during the summer of 2011.  The realistic capacity of the proposed high-speed railway connecting northern England, the West Midlands and London is critical to its operational credibility and hence to its business case.  PTN was among those who worked to put the issue on TSC's agenda.  The matter is still far from being resolved.

The nub of the problem is that expectations of what HS2 can do for connectivity have been so enthusiastically promoted that some 25 to 30 paths/hour could be 'needed'.  HS2 Ltd believe that running 18 trains/hour is feasible, although that is several more than any other high-speed line has achieved.  Given this gap, and the possibility of 16 trains/hour being the everyday maximum, some difficult choices will have to be made, and since they may affect major decisions such as the link to HS1 they need to be made soon.

The TSC's Report is at :

See paragraphs 112 - 117 for the discussion of technical feasibility.  For PTN's submissions see the Unprinted Written Evidence, HSR 138 and 138A and for the exchange relating to the latter see the transcript of oral evidence for 28 June, Question 126 (the links are at the foot of the page).


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PTN Document

The evolution of doubt : perspectives on HS2

4 April 2012

Historians can be cussed people, insisting on careful reading of the evidence, requiring evaluation of motives, refusing to accept conventional viewpoints.  I was lucky enough to be trained well in those disciplines.  They have been hardened through a lifetime of reading between the lines of official papers.  That is why I have not been impressed by the avalanche of HS2 material.  Too much of it reads as 'policy-based evidence' rather than as dispassionate analysis.  That saddens me.  We need more thorough, more inclusive, more wide-ranging decision-making in Britain.

PTN has contributed to the debate.  Some of this material can be accessed here.

For example,

*  our submission to the Department for Transport's Consultation in 2011 : HS2_consultation.doc

*  a presentation to a workshop at the Institute of Railway Studies (National Railway Museum / University of York) in June 2011 : Why Oh Y-4 rvsd.odp

*  a paper at the Railfuture conference on HS2 in July 2011 :  Railfuture.ppt

*  an updated version of these presentations for the Cambridge University Railway Club in February 2012 :



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PTN Document

Timetabling HS2

3 April 2012

In September 2010 Greengauge 21 commissioned PTN to construct a timetable for the combined service of the proposed new high-speed railway [HS2] and the existing West Coast Main Line [WCML], as it might operate when phase 1 of HS2 opens in about 2026.  Hitherto only rather vague statements had been made about how capacity released at the southern end of WCML following the transfer of services to HS2 might be used, and Greengauge believed that support for HS2 would be strengthened by demonstrating the benefits offered by new services, additional seats for commuters and extra paths for freight trains.

The general findings of the study were published by Greengauge in February 2011:

The detailed report was finalised in July 2011 and includes extensive documentation of the timetable ideas.  This material can be found here :

*  the report at WCML+HS2 report.doc

*  the timetable graphs and 'netzgrafik' summaries of the proposals at WCML+HS2 graphs.doc

*  a summary of the suggested public timetable at WCML+HS2 public timetable.xls

As far as PTN knows this is the only timetabling that has been conducted for HS2 services in any depth.  We find this rather astonishing and will be commenting on the issue in other entries.



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