Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 124 total)
  • HS2 spiralling costs
  • Premier Icon zilog6128
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    £106bn! £250m spending PER MONTH currently! Who is going to see the biggest benefit from it – corporations and already well-off individuals or your average Joe? And despite the calls for it from northern politicians/businesses, surely it’ll mainly benefit London? I could probably think of 106bn things that would be of more benefit to more people than this project! Anyone actually in favour of it?

    Premier Icon failedengineer
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    An absolutely ridiculous waste of taxpayers’ money, IMHO. I will be scrapping this and Trident when I come to power.

    Premier Icon ahsat
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    I was kind of in favor of it when we first moved to Leeds – great, quick journeys to the city. But now what I would far prefer is for them to spend that money on sorting out all the awful regional services (I am looking at you Northern), that impact millions of lives every day.

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
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    It’s far more complicated than that.

    Partly it’s Government procurement – it’s actually quite easy to build an embankment and cutting, it’s been done for centuries. But Government have asked for all sorts of guarantees like it mustn’t move more than 30mm in 25 years. So that means huge extra building costs, it also means that you have to insure (because if you come back to it in 27 years and its moved 33mm, you could sue the building company but chances are that building company won’t exist any more (due to mergers, bankruptcy, acquisition etc) so the insurance costs are phenomenal too).

    Land costs have been badly dealt with. There was one particular instance of HS2 promising they didn’t need this land, it’s all OK so the landowner built a block of flats. Suddenly its like “oops, we do need this land” so the cost went from just buying the land to buying the land, demolishing the newly built block of flats and compensating the landowner.

    However, rail (especially the West Coast Main Line) is already at and sometimes over capacity. The only way to free it up and get more/better commuter services which are desperately needed is to put all the HS stuff onto a dedicated line. That frees up the existing infrastructure for more freight (vital to meet climate change obligations) and more passenger stuff (again, vital to get people out of cars).

    It’s not about outright speed between destinations. Well, not solely. And the proposed Northern Powerhouse Rail is predicated on using a fair chunk of HS2 infrastructure so it’s not really an either/or, it’s a “both”. They’re designed to tie in.

    The idea is sound. The Government is (as always) utterly abysmal at managing large scale infrastructure.

    I think house prices gone up a lot since the original 2011 quotes too, so the cost of purchasing the land has increased.

    I don’t see how any of this is avoided if you want to build a new railway though.

    Premier Icon kimbers
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    How much has the latest review added to the costs ?
    (considering it was a pre-election sop to potential tory voters)

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
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    How much has the latest review added to the costs ?

    Surprisingly, virtually nothing. Couple of hundred thousand at most.
    However, the costs of potential redesign, revision of contracts, possible re-procurement, re-tasking, the cost of the delay (so if the forecast economic benefits were due to be accessible by 2027 and now it’s going to be 2030…).

    That could run into billions.

    Premier Icon midlifecrashes
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    I’m not too bothered by the idea of spending money to get a good system, it’s more that the scheme fails the common sense test from all sorts of angles. No two people sitting in Leeds or York wanting to get to London have ever come up with the idea that the best way to do it is to go through Birmingham. We say that we need to connect cities, but come up with the 21st century equivalent of Alfreton and Mansfield Parkway, a bus stop on the A52 instead of going near downtown Nottingham or Derby, then 30 miles further north decide it can go downtown to Sheffield on legacy lines, and of course having to cope with two diverse systems for new build and legacy lines complicates the spec immensely. We get the idea that it will be expensive, and disruptive, but that’s just not OK if the final result is half-assed. I think most of the compromises stem from having a single line into London and having the trains use legacy lines beyond HS2 new build. Tell people if you want to go further, use the 20th century infrastructure, build a whole new ECML, WCML with new exclusive tech where the trains never leave and old spec trains never run on, and have a proper fresh start.

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
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    No cos that’d be twice the cost minimum. Firing everything through Birmingham but at 2.5x the speed anything can go at currently solves both problems. You only need one line and one lot of land to buy. The journey times are still quicker than anything currently.

    And even if you did build a new HS ECML, it’d only be 10 mins quicker than just going through Birmingham. But at a much much lower Benefit:Cost Ratio.

    Premier Icon 13thfloormonk
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    I say this every time in these sort of discussions, without being able to offer any concrete numbers myself, but if government invested in the technology and policy to avoid this many people having to travel for business (e.g. subsidising video conferencing technology, building local business ‘hubs’ were workers can choose to work remotely if it can be proven they don’t *need* to be in office etc.) would we actually need the new rail infrastructure? How much of it is required just to support the idiotic system of all of us rushing to city centres for approximately exactly the same time of day, every day?

    Premier Icon wwaswas
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    This article about *why* we need it and what’#s it for is really good, imo.

    If we want people to use cars less we have to increase mas transit capacity locally and moving high speed onto a separate line helps achieve that.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/hs2-logistics-financial-benefit-controversy-a8937936.html

    Premier Icon bikebouy
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    £106bn! £250m spending PER MONTH currently

    “sniggers, walks off.

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
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    £106bn

    The headline is it could cost £106b, you could die walking out the door, Donald Trump could be found guilty and Brexit could turn out to be a good thing for the country. Some of these things are outlying best/worst cases, some are ……… actually they all seem quite unlikely don’t they.

    It’ll be someone with some risk management software chucking variables in and working out there’s a 90% chance of it being under £Xbillion. There’s probably an other end to that bell curve where there’s a 10% chance it won’t cost more than £Ybillion (where Y<56 is it currently), but that doesn’t sell you a newspaper.

    Also bear in mind that that £106billion of YOUR money being given to…………… you? Work in engineering, it’s your sallary, are you CFH?, then it’s your paperclips and post it notes making up those reports, work in an LBS, you’re selling toys to those engineers and paperclip salesmen. That money ends up in the economy somewhere.

    subsidising video conferencing technology, building local business ‘hubs’ were workers can choose to work remotely if it can be proven they don’t *need* to be in office etc

    Skype is basically free and no one needs to be in the wrong office, if they can work remotely they can work from home.

    Birmingham is already planning to do this, they’re introducing a £500 annual tax on car parking spaces which will encourage public transport use and working from home. There’s also massive incentives to companies to slim down their offices in the form of rents and business rates. So in that sense working from home is already ‘subsidized..

    5lab
    Member

    3 grand per UK taxpayer. Thats quite a large amount of money considering driverless cars could make trains pretty much obsolete in 20 years time

    Premier Icon tjagain
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    In todays news, they are going to “review” the stuff north of Birmingham – exactly as predicted it i going to be dropped.

    Its a huge vanity project and a white elephant and that money could have done far for good for far more people being spent in better ways – but that does not give the politicians the vanity projects they crave and does not line the pockets of their friends as much.

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
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    Thats quite a large amount of money considering driverless cars could make trains pretty much obsolete in 20 years time

    They won’t.
    EVs and autonomous cars is a distraction technique to avoid talking about the desperate need to get people out of cars and cars out of cities.

    Same with drones, hovertaxis, etc. Literally pie in the sky stuff.

    Premier Icon 13thfloormonk
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    Skype is basically free and no one needs to be in the wrong office, if they can work remotely they can work from home.

    Yeah… but Skype is currently crap for meetings with numerous attendees needing to share technical knowledge, unless one of them has invested in big ‘smart screens’ etc. Also, employers are stuck in their ways, in my experience of an otherwise understanding and relatively forward looking employer, you basically have to make a very very good case for working from home/remotely, when I believe it should be the opposite way round, e.g. why are they insisting on making you come in?

    I suggest remote working hubs as I still believe people need to get out of their houses and go somewhere from a social/mental health/excessive masturbation point of view…

    Birmingham is already planning to do this, they’re introducing a £500 annual tax on car parking spaces which will encourage public transport use and working from home. There’s also massive incentives to companies to slim down their offices in the form of rents and business rates. So in that sense working from home is already ‘subsidized..

    People will pay the £500, moan a bit, then life will carry on as normal. I predict very, very few people will ditch the car, which in turn means the roads remain congested and that taking the bus stays just as off-putting and inconvenient as it currently is (I could drive to work in 35min, ride in 45min, or take the bus in 1hr10…).

    Premier Icon zilog6128
    Subscriber

    Also bear in mind that that £106billion of YOUR money being given to…………… you? Work in engineering, it’s your sallary, are you CFH?, then it’s your paperclips and post it notes making up those reports, work in an LBS, you’re selling toys to those engineers and paperclip salesmen. That money ends up in the economy somewhere.

    Doesn’t mean it’s not a waste though does it! I’d rather the £106bn be paid to police, nurses, etc salary. Still going to end up “in the economy”, would actually provide useful benefit on the way through too!

    I would also argue that business commuting (already feeling a bit 20th C) is only going to become less important in the years ahead. It’s already massively less important than it was say 20 years ago.

    However, rail (especially the West Coast Main Line) is already at and sometimes over capacity. The only way to free it up and get more/better commuter services which are desperately needed is to put all the HS stuff onto a dedicated line.

    seen this argument a fair bit, surely though if passengers move away from the existing rail services, those services will just be reduced until they’re at 100%+ capacity again? The rail companies, being privately rather than state owned, aren’t going to be running with spare capacity if they don’t have to are they?

    Premier Icon ajaj
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    have asked for all sorts of guarantees like it mustn’t move more than 30mm in 25 years.

    Doesn’t sound entirely unreasonable if not moving by more than 30mm is necessary to avoid high speed train crashes.

    Why don’t all of the things mentioned affect train lines in France, Germany or America?

    Premier Icon Murray
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    Skype etc. do work if you force people to use them by e.g. banning all travel without board level approval in a major bank

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
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    Why don’t all of the things mentioned affect train lines in France, Germany or America?

    Because they have far far more space to work with and lower population so it’s easy to just bang a straight line through everything. UK geology is more variable too.

    American trains are dreadful, there’s no HS. Most people just fly.

    Premier Icon MSP
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    Why don’t all of the things mentioned affect train lines in France, Germany or America?

    They do, look up the “Stuttgart 21” for an equally badly run rail project. But al least Germany spreads around the investment even when they **** up. HS2 is just about bringing in more people to London, which completely misses the country’s investment needs by a million miles.

    Premier Icon Houns
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    Never mind the £ cost, the environmental cost is huge 😢

    I thought it got Londoners to Birmingham as well?

    Premier Icon MSP
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    HS2 should always have been a major rail overhaul for the whole country, Southampton to Glasgow on the west coast, London To Edinburgh on the east
    And then various crossings of the country Chunnel to Cardiff, Liverpool to Hull, and a diagonal London to Birmingham, with possibly slightly lower speed but still massively improved tracks going from Nottingham to Birmingham, Carlisle to Newcastle and Glasgow to Edinburgh.

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
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    Doesn’t mean it’s not a waste though does it! I’d rather the £106bn be paid to police, nurses, etc salary. Still going to end up “in the economy”, would actually provide useful benefit on the way through too!

    Partially true, but there’s a reason infrastructure investment is separated from the day to day costs in the budget. You spend £56-£106billion on a railway, because you intend to make a return on that investment. Even the bypass round our village has a business case that says it’ll pay back the council in …. years. So there’s not just a useful benefit to those using the railway (which will be paying a fare to use it, it’s not free) someones sat down and worked out that the resulting economic growth is more than the cost. It’s a bit crap that it’s biased towards the SE as that’s where you make money on this sort of project, but it’s untrue that it will provide no useful benefit as you put it.

    Employing £56billion worth of nurses and policemen sounds nice, but you don’t necessarily make a return on that investment. Well it does, healthy people work longer, crime often has a direct financial cost, but that would probably be a different matter and undesirable (a big cut form where we are now).

    And it goes round in circles, all those engineers and train drivers pay taxes, which then pay for nurses and police etc etc.

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
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    People will pay the £500, moan a bit, then life will carry on as normal. I predict very, very few people will ditch the car, which in turn means the roads remain congested and that taking the bus stays just as off-putting and inconvenient as it currently is (I could drive to work in 35min, ride in 45min, or take the bus in 1hr10…).

    They’re also proposing to ban private cars from the city center, and block circumferential roads to private cars between the various areas like they do in some European cities, forcing cars out to the ring road, or in reality encouraging you to cycle those <2 mile journeys between them.

    There’s a good article on the Guardian comparing it to what happened in Ghent when they did the same thing a few years ago.

    I hadn’t realised the govt had asked for bank stability guarantees.  I can understand why and think it is a good idea.  On my area of the SE we currently have the Redhill-Tonbridge Line Crowhurst JN slip site that will be out for months, minor slips near East Grinstead and Haywards Heath as well as piling work at Wivelsfield to alleviate a slip in progress before it closed the main line.

    We also have had historic slips on the Quarry lines near Redhill and Hooley, the main line at Earlswood and also on the Eastbourne line near Ripe.  Most of these caused by excessive rainfall and poor quality “made up” ground failing embankments or excessive rainfall on very old cuttings.

    So getting it right in the first place may save many pounds and train delays later.

    For my two pence worth I’d rather have seen the money spent improving the Northern, East-West links between major cities before extending down towards London.

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
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    A friend who is ex Network Rail has explained to me that these new HS lines are the best way of improving capacity without paralysing the existing system with 25 years of weekend closures to upgrade them.

    I kind of see that, but these spiralling costs are only going to go up. And all it will do is make it easier to get from the north into London. I’m close to the proposed HS2 hub at Toton, and I can just see Nottingham and Derby becoming commuter towns for London, rather than being regenerated. There must be a better, greener way to improve transport across the whole country with that budget, surely.

    And I’m inclined to think – based on what I’ve seen in central and local government, that any scheme of any size is seen as a cash cow to the service providers

    Premier Icon tjagain
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    its not going to be “the north” to london. Its going to be Birmingham to London. The rest will be dropped.

    Premier Icon Dickyboy
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    It’s going to pass about a mile from our house, cut off my main road cycling route, destroy various local woodlands etc 😕 but also cut off the main road leaving just a pedestrian and cycling underpass 👍 so £106 billion well spent, but joking aside we do need new railway facilities in this country and we think nothing of using the channel tunnel, which would cost how much in todays money?

    Premier Icon tjagain
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    My issue is that money could be much better spent. Revising cross pennine routes, better rolling stock in the north, revamping stations etc etc. You could provide much more benefit doing this that in creating a commuter line birmingham to london

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
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    can just see Nottingham and Derby becoming commuter towns for London

    I really can’t see that happening. There might be the odd person on the board at Rolls Royce who gets poached to the board of some London company and opts to commute. But for everyone else it would still be a massive commute, and TBH, there isn’t room, London office rents are already 8-10x most UK cities, no ones going to relocate offices from Birmingham to London in a particular hurry.

    The general justification with this sort of thing is in fact the opposite. Companies will (it’s hoped) base themselves in Derby, Nottingham, Birmingham etc because they make huge savings in rents, rates and wages. But their clients are only about an hour further away than if they were based the wrong end of the Bakerloo line.

    London might benefit more than Birmingham from HS2, But I’d bet that Birmingham still gets a net positive from it.

    £106 billion well spent

    Again, worst case (although with all government projects the more people mess about with reviews the more it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy).

    It starts off with “we can build a 200mph link between London and Brum”, then you spend a few billion designing it, and someone demands a review because it’s cost a few billion before anything’s even been built. So it becomes a 190mph railway to save a few billion, repeat every year until you’ve paid the original 200mph price for a line that end’s at High Wycombe and runs with refurbished BR Mk1 carriages because someones been elected to not spend a penny more on this white elephant. The government then sues the engineering contractors for wasting public money on extravagant things like peoples salaries and steel (both of which had to be procured at the last minute at higher prices and pay penalty clauses to the previous suppliers as someone demanded the spec was changed to something cheaper to save money) as well as all these “consultants” to carry out the reviews, and loses even more money paying lawyers.

    Premier Icon simon_g
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    Indeed the “sort out local services” thing is a big part of what HS2 is for. Running slow local and fast intercity services on the same line means keeping big gaps between services and far less flexibility if stuff goes wrong. A slightly delayed local train gets held for longer to let a fast train through instead of being allowed to catch up. You could buy dozens of new trains for no benefit if there’s not enough capacity to use them.

    Building new railways is the best way to fix that, and if you’re building new it makes more sense for them to be fast ones.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
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    Current cost is around £90,000 per metre, although it gets to be £180,000 if we go full £106bn.

    Premier Icon ajaj
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    Because they have far far more space to work with and lower population

    Why would that affect insurance and the need to build to a quality standard, which is what was suggested as the reason for the costs in the UK?

    UK geology is more variable too.

    Digging a ditch in the Chilterns is harder than building a tunnel through the Alps?

    look up the “Stuttgart 21”

    Yes, was expecting that response, but even that project is cheaper than HS2 and HS2 has many years of cost overruns to come.

    Premier Icon tjagain
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    Simon G.

    Its obvious all the stuff north of birmingham is going to be ditched and even if it were no then its going to do nothing for the local lines running in the noreth of england. The will just remain the same.

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/jan/20/hs2-costs-government-review-west-midlands-manchester-leeds

    Track improvements on existing lines would deliver far more return for the money.

    irc
    Member

    American trains are dreadful, there’s no HS. Most people just fly.

    True. I travelled from SAn Francisco to Chicago by train. Average journey speed 39mph. On the other hand there was acres of legroon and the seatas reclined well back without banging into the passenger behind. OK for a holiday but nobody is going to choose a 2 1/2 day journey over a few hours in a plane.

    Premier Icon zilog6128
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    but joking aside we do need new railway facilities in this country and we think nothing of using the channel tunnel, which would cost how much in todays money?

    £9bn I think so comparatively very little – and irrelevant anyway as IFAIK most (all?) was privately funded.

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