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Featured UK -High Speed 2 Rail Project

Discussion in 'Current News & Events' started by dms1972, Feb 16, 2020.

  1. dms1972

    dms1972 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    In the UK, this has been talked about for almost 10 years and now seems to be set to go ahead in its first phase: Birmingham to London.

    What is proposed is basically a up to 250 mph New High Speed Rail Link. It would be the biggest infrastructure project the UK has undertaken since WW2. There's still a fair amount of opposition to it due to issues such as enviromental impact, people living on the route losing value on their homes etc. Reception has been somewhat lukewarm (though it has its supporters) as to the benefits of cutting perhaps an hour off of a commute into London, with some commuters saying the longer journey times allows them to do catch up with work on the commute to their workplace.

    The initial cost has spiralled several times and potentially it could now come in at £106 Billion - almost twice earlier estimates of £56 Billion. So now they are looking for ways to reduce costs. The Government has decided to pass a lot of the risk involved onto contractors which had raised costs.

    The first phase is scheduled to be complete sometime between 2028 and 2031. So a long way off before the public begins to derive any significant benefit from it. By the time the second phase is complete - est. 2035 - 2040 some are saying it will be out of date.

    Many of the current trains in the UK are not even running at their max speed. I am not sure why that is, if they need upgrades, but more likely its to do with track geometry. So most of the trains run at about 125 mph, except for the Channel tunnel link (HS1) which is faster (up to 186 mph).

    Meanwhile the large parts of UK have suffered two severe storms in as many weeks, which have caused severe flooding in parts of the country - the latest storm this weekend has given rise to a record number of potential flooding alerts.

    Storm Dennis: six severe flood warnings in place across England and Wales – as it happened

    I wonder if the money due to be spent on HS2 would be better spent in the short term on better flood defenses? A considerable amount is already spent annually on flood defenses it has to be said, and when these are effective they can reduce the financial impact of flooding to about a third. About 12% of land in England is adjacent to a river or stream. About £600 million is currently spent annually on flood defenses in the UK and its estimated that will need to be increased to £1 Billion annually. Given the misery caused by flooding annually surely this is greater priority at the moment than a High Speed Rail Line?
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2020
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  2. ArmenianJohn

    ArmenianJohn Politically Liberal Christian Fundamentalist

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    I don't want to ever live in England, I don't think I could deal with it. The cons far outweigh the pros. This is another example.
     
  3. ReesePiece23

    ReesePiece23 The Peanut Buttery Member.

    +3,135
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    I'll never forget my first visit to New York (I'm from London) - I couldn't believe how cheap the trains were. Our tickets are crazy by comparison, even at standard class for a single journey. I shudder to think how expensive a HS2 ticket would be.

    In summary, HS2 is a complete white elephant. We're such a small country that it just doesn't make sense to have it. I travelled Japan and Korea and I can kind of see a use there, but London to Brummy town? Don't be daft.

    I don't know what the UK is trying to be anymore. We've done amazing things with London and I still love the place, but I just don't understand it sometimes.
     
  4. dms1972

    dms1972 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If they went about it in the right way it might, I say might be worthwhile.

    We should be updating the rail network to accomodate double-decker trains, which apart from the obvious improvement in capacity, they could stop at shorter railway platforms.
     
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  5. ArmenianJohn

    ArmenianJohn Politically Liberal Christian Fundamentalist

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    I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to England and I love so much about it. I have family in Dover also. But while I loved visiting, I felt like it was way too expensive for what you get, for just about everything. Food, rents/homes, cars/petrol, just about everything seemed overpriced and under-sized. But the other thing is, as you said, I don't understand what England is trying to be. The same goes for other parts of Europe I visited. It seems they (and maybe even the rest of the world) want to become other Americas in that they want to be a melting pot. I understand America being a melting pot, that's how America was designed and built. American "culture" is derived from that kind of mixing. But European and other nations have their ages-old cultures and seem to want to push that aside to become American or something else. I don't understand it either. Maybe I'm wrong or ignorant, but I don't understand it either.
     
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  6. Bob Crowley

    Bob Crowley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    What you need is our Australian NBN planners. Then you could use a mix of technologies - you could have a maglev train for the first 30 kilometres. Passengers would then disembark and get onto a high speed electric train for the next 50. Then they'd disembark again and get onto a diesel for most of the rest of the trip. For twenty of the last thirty kms they'd get onto a replica of the Flying Scotsman.

    And for the last 10 kms they'd cheerily disembark again, singing "Knees Up, Mother Brown" in typical British stoic fashion, and hop onto an exact copy of Robert Stephenson's "Locomotion".

    Much cheaper.

    https://www.smh.com.au/opinion/nbn-let-the-blame-game-begin-20171024-gz6ux6.html
     
  7. ReesePiece23

    ReesePiece23 The Peanut Buttery Member.

    +3,135
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    Yeah, I don't get that either - even when I travelled far east Asia I noticed a lot of 'Americanisms'. America IS great, but America is America. Japan is Japan and the UK is the UK.

    The high prices probably have a lot to do with the NHS - which don't get me wrong, I'm thankful for, it's just another one of those tax burdens we have to keep injecting money into that puts a strain on the economy across the board. I'd almost prefer to take out a sound insurance policy and go private.

    Amsterdam is another city I've seen fall away - particularly in recent years. It's sad how the Dutch have virtually given it away.
     
  8. dms1972

    dms1972 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hehe, very good.

    I don't know, I think a fair few UK passengers might prefer to make the journey via one train, if its only a couple of hundred miles. Maybe in Australia where you have swathes of the 'outback' to cross :) - Australia is after all a much bigger place than the UK. Some workers commuting in or out of London, try to get work done on the train journey, which would be another reason.

    But in all seriousness, your comment raises an important point, each country should have a transport network suitable for its own purposes. Not every solution is suitable for every country. Comparing the UK's needs with Japan or Australia, or even France, could be a bit like comparing apples and pears.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2020
  9. ArmenianJohn

    ArmenianJohn Politically Liberal Christian Fundamentalist

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    Just as Great Britain colonized most of the world, the new imperial power today is America. But not in the same way. Not through military power (despite our meddling militarily all over the place). And not even economically, per se (despite our economic strength being flexed around the world in many ways).

    No, America has colonized virtually the whole world culturally. Or should I say POP-culturally. Perhaps even technologically, or at least tech being a huge part of it. We have colonized virtually the whole world via the Silicon Valley and Hollywood. American technology (Apple, Microsoft, Intel) has delivered American pop culture (movies, TV, music) to the rest of the world and they eat it up almost as readily as Americans.

    In 2011 I left the North American continent for the first time in my life to go to Armenia for my brother's wedding there. I was so excited to visit the "homeland" i had never been to. After a stopover in London (which was awesome!!!) I headed on to Armenia.

    We arrived in the wee hours of the morning and my excitement was palpable. What will it be like to see a nation with everything in Armenian? What wondrous Armenian things will I see? What will be different from American life??? This is going to be amazing!!!

    We deplaned and walked off the jetway into a dark, short hallway, then another short hallway with a light ahead... The light turned out to be the duty free store. We had to walk through the duty free store to continue on to customs. All I could see in there were large signs and products like M&M's, Marlboro, Perfume (Chanel, etc.), various other American products and signage. All in ENGLISH. I was so deflated! I joked to my sister "What are we in the Denver Airport???"

    It was amazing to be in a country that is about as outside of American influence as can be in this world and yet there it was, right away, right in your face, American "stuff". Amazing!

    I think I will never know what it is like to be a true traveler, a true stranger in a strange land, as everywhere I will go in this world will have a heavy dose of America thrown in my face.

    Sorry for the side rant, but it speaks to what you so accurately described.
     
  10. dms1972

    dms1972 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    As an aside although I'm going off topic a bit, I was aware of this from a fairly early age due to occasional comments by an uncle about the increase of US TV shows on British Telly.

    In the UK we have always had our own home-spun TV shows (to take one example of POP culture), but I do take your point. As we had imported shows ranging from Dallas to Airwolf, to the Fall Guy, to LA Law, to name a few regularly broadcast on our Networks in the 1980s and 90s. Lots of the imported detective shows were escapist compared to our home-spun gritty detective dramas.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2020
  11. dms1972

    dms1972 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Stranger in a strange land - a bit like Marcus Brody in this scene :)

     
  12. Archivist

    Archivist Senior Veteran Supporter

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    I wish that the US had the passenger rail system that the UK, continental Europe and Japan. We have high-speed rail from Boston to Washington DC on the northeast corridor. In most other places the passenger trains use freight tracks and by and large freight trains are given priority.
     
  13. Anthony2019

    Anthony2019 A work in progress. Being moulded by the Potter! Supporter

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    I regularly take the express train from Birmingham to London. It is a limited stop service that takes around 1hr 20 mins. The new HS1 service which will cost billions and have a major impact on the environment, will take about 50 minutes - saving only half an hour on the journey time. Only people living in the core cities like London, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester will benefit from the new high speed links. People living in other towns and cities will have to travel a considerable distance to benefit from these services.
    Some countries on the continent, such as France, already benefit from a high speed rail network. But France is a larger country than the UK with much longer distances between its major cities. The high speed lines cover long distances allowing trains to maintain their peak speeds of 300-320kph (185-200mph) for a large part of the journey.
     
  14. mindlight

    mindlight See in the dark Supporter

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    All that money is being spent in the UK. The place is so crowded and the housing price so high so a lot of the cost comes there. But the idea of a high speed link is a good one and works very well in mainland Europe. It is also more environmentally friendly to use trains than cars. Given the massively overcrowded motorways of the UK improving train services is a very good option. Theoretically this should open up jobs in the South and London to Northerners and make it easier for businesses to justify moving out of the South East and London to the North of England. The price tag seems steep but this is one of the projects for a century. Look at the return on investment that Britain got from its 200 year old rail network. Set in the longer sweep of history this seems like common sense.

    EDIT: Changed 300 years old network to 200 years old
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2020
  15. dms1972

    dms1972 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Sure in view of long term. But the existing rail network in the UK is not 300 years old. The first lines began operating in 1825, and its obviously expanded since then. But I would guess most of the lines are less than 100 years old. So much of the talk about it and what will happen is conveniently fact-free. By their very nature, predictions of how it will be used are not testable in advance. So all the hype needs to be taken with a pinch of salt at the moment. Will Londoners use it to travel up to Birmingham to shop there, that would seem unlikely, so what impact will it have on Birmingham, what will it do for Birmingham? It seems like it is mainly aimed at benefiting London, in terms of bringing in more workers for a likely expansion of the services sector.

    In itself there is nothing wrong with High Speed Rail Travel (providing its safe).
    Not so long ago ago 125 and 140 mph was high speed. It still is pretty decent compared to the motorways.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2020
  16. dms1972

    dms1972 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    As you say France benefits significantly more (because average journeys are longer), from High Speed Rail than Britain will. It makes good sense for France.

    In the longer view (lets say the next 50 years) its right to think about what will be needed in terms of railway upgrades. So updating is inevitable. Its just a pity we talk so long about it (ten years of talk - the first phase could have been completed by now - instead it will be 2028 at the earliest). I am not wholly against it, I just wish they would plan it right, be more honest about who is going to benefit, test the waters with the public, and if it seems to make sense get on with building it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2020
  17. dms1972

    dms1972 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We've also got an approx £25 - 30 Billion divorce bill to settle with the EU.:doh: Most of that will be paid over the next 5 or so years.
     
  18. Anthony2019

    Anthony2019 A work in progress. Being moulded by the Potter! Supporter

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    I think what matters to most people is cost and convenience rather than speed.
    Even if HS1 went ahead, I would still probably catch a direct train from my own town into London, rather than change in Birmingham, even if it took slightly longer. There's less distance to carry luggage, I can sit in the same seat for the duration of the journey. My ticket would probably cost much less.
    50 mins from Birmingham to London on HS1 sounds impressive.
    But currently, it takes me about half an hour to get into Birmingham. When I get there, it would probably take me the same amount of time to find my way through the station, to wait for the next departure and get on the train. Already I have spent around 2 hours which is about the same the journey would have taken by car.
     
  19. Francis Drake

    Francis Drake Returning adventurer.

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    Double deckers are completely impractical in the UK unless on brand new routes. There are countless bridges and tunnels that would need to be replaced.
     
  20. Francis Drake

    Francis Drake Returning adventurer.

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    Its not the people who are doing this, its the global political elites who are determined to destroy nationhood by mass immigration etc.
     
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