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I think I might be a Tory convert!

SystemSystem Posts: 8,653 Staff Team
And if I were allowed to vote on General Elections, I might just do so for them, if they are really going to do this:
Tories plan £20bn 180mph rail link instead of Heathrow third runway

A third runway at Heathrow airport would be scrapped by a Tory government that would instead build a £20bn TGV-style high speed rail link between London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds.

In one of David Cameron's boldest moves on the environment, the party will today unveil plans to cut 66,000 flights a year from Heathrow by tempting passengers on to the first new rail line north of London in more than a century.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/sep/29/toryconference.transport


Best policy I've heard of in years. Shame they don't go one better and renationalise the lot while they're at it.
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Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Sounds a good idea, would it be churlish of me to ask where the money might come from?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    budda wrote: »
    Sounds a good idea, would it be churlish of me to ask where the money might come from?

    Department for Transport would be my guess...
    Villiers will announce that a Tory government would spend £15.6bn between 2015 and 2027 (£1.3bn a year for 12 years) to build the new high speed rail link from London St Pancras to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. A further £4.4bn would be paid by the private sector.

    Whilst it sounds a lot, in terms of Government spending it isn't really. By 2015 hopefully the recession will be over and HMT will be getting money in again.

    DfT's budget was nearly £13bn in 2007-8 and is going up. That doesn't include local authority and devolved administration spend.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Presumably most of the money would come from the budget the current government had pre-allocated for the Heathrow expansion project. If the money for the Heathrow plans hadn't actually been put aside or located, the Tories can then accuse the Labour government of creating more black holes and careless planning. A win-win.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Aladdin wrote: »
    Presumably most of the money would come from the budget the current government had pre-allocated for the Heathrow expansion project. If the money for the Heathrow plans hadn't actually been put aside or located, the Tories can then accuse the Labour government of creating more black holes and careless planning. A win-win.

    I alway assumed that BAA would put the money up for the 3rd runway, they built terminal 5 after all.

    As for the Department of Transport paying for it, I suppose if it is over that longer term then it is entirely possible, but frankly governments in this country have never really been all that good at planning very long term.
  • JsTJsT TheSite Graduate Posts: 18,265 Incredible Poster
    Yeah - the tories have always shown themselves to be excellent at managing the UK rail network haven't they? :rolleyes:

    If the scheme goes ahead (which I doubt) it will no doubt operate on a premium basis, meaning it'd cost a lot more to travel via it which no doubt will be coupled with funding cuts to the standard network and cancellation of projects such as IEP and the replacement of other rolling stock.

    The idea of going to Heathrow high speed is completely and utterly pointless bearing in mind its gonna be on CrossRail and also has HEX which does the journey in about 20 mins.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    JsT wrote: »
    Yeah - the tories have always shown themselves to be excellent at managing the UK rail network haven't they? :rolleyes:

    If the scheme goes ahead (which I doubt) it will no doubt operate on a premium basis, meaning it'd cost a lot more to travel via it which no doubt will be coupled with funding cuts to the standard network and cancellation of projects such as IEP and the replacement of other rolling stock.
    It might turn out to be like that, but it doesn't need to be so. Every other country in the world that has a high speed network has (to the best of my knowledge) managed to introduce it without neglecting the rest of their networks or charging exhorbitant prices for high-speed tickets. Why does Britain have to be different, other than because of the prevalent and well-rooted culture of greed and underinvestment?

    One thing is clear. Heathrow does not need a third runway or a sixth terminal. BAA and the aviation industry are a bunch of lying greedy scumbags.

    With an efficient, functioning high speed rail network we could could cut the number of domestic and short haul flights signinficantly. Indeed, it is nothing short of a disgrace that there are so many domestic flights in this country, considering how small Britain actually is. The focus must be on offering a fast and attractive rail network at reasonable prices, so nobody would consider taking the plane over the train unless they have no other option. Whether we like it or not, what people like is true high speed services that are modern and reliable, and rival planes for journey times. The only way to achieve this is to build a dedicated high speed line. Half-arsed improvements on existing track simply won't cut it.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    budda wrote: »
    Sounds a good idea, would it be churlish of me to ask where the money might come from?

    Scrapping ID cards?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Scrapping ID cards?

    Sounds a good swap to me, although I dont have a great deal of faith in the government getting either project functioning properly.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Aladdin wrote: »
    It might turn out to be like that, but it doesn't need to be so. Every other country in the world that has a high speed network has (to the best of my knowledge) managed to introduce it without neglecting the rest of their networks or charging exhorbitant prices for high-speed tickets. Why does Britain have to be different, other than because of the prevalent and well-rooted culture of greed and underinvestment?

    One thing is clear. Heathrow does not need a third runway or a sixth terminal. BAA and the aviation industry are a bunch of lying greedy scumbags.

    With an efficient, functioning high speed rail network we could could cut the number of domestic and short haul flights signinficantly. Indeed, it is nothing short of a disgrace that there are so many domestic flights in this country, considering how small Britain actually is. The focus must be on offering a fast and attractive rail network at reasonable prices, so nobody would consider taking the plane over the train unless they have no other option. Whether we like it or not, what people like is true high speed services that are modern and reliable, and rival planes for journey times. The only way to achieve this is to build a dedicated high speed line. Half-arsed improvements on existing track simply won't cut it.

    I rail travelled in France in my younger days and there local service was so bad it made me yearn for BR (which frankly was an absolutely terrible service and much worse than privatisation).

    That said I agree there shouldn't be a need to fly to Manchester from London (currently it takes just over 2 hours and by the time you get to airports the time saving isn't much). However though, I think JST is right, the money would be much better spent on 'local' rail rather than prestige projects
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    That said I agree there shouldn't be a need to fly to Manchester from London (currently it takes just over 2 hours and by the time you get to airports the time saving isn't much). However though, I think JST is right, the money would be much better spent on 'local' rail rather than prestige projects

    That makes a lot of sense, if we are going to reduce the amount of car journeys then investment in 'local' rail is the way to do it.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    considering i'm nearing the boundary between being an anarchist and a commie, i have to agree, some of the new policies they have been coming up with of late have been good. But people seem to forget that the tory party in general are lying arrogant ignorant bastards. has everyone forgotten good old maggie like she's forgetten herself?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I rail travelled in France in my younger days and there local service was so bad it made me yearn for BR (which frankly was an absolutely terrible service and much worse than privatisation).

    That said I agree there shouldn't be a need to fly to Manchester from London (currently it takes just over 2 hours and by the time you get to airports the time saving isn't much). However though, I think JST is right, the money would be much better spent on 'local' rail rather than prestige projects
    While local and commutting lines could certainly do with extra cash, the biggest problems there appear to be mismanagement and the way the network is fractured and subcontracted. The existing lines are already proven to be perfectly adequate for a good service, so with extra funding for maintenance and better management many problems could be solved.

    The actual lack of a high speed line however is a far more serious problem.

    The only way in which I'd see justification for giving priority to local services as valid is if new lines were going to be built (or dismantled ones re-opened) with the cash. Though I suspect nobody has that in mind, other than the Cross-Rail project.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Forgot to add that if the high speed line was to be build it should go all the way to Scotland as well, rather than just stopping at Manchester or Leeds. There is an awful lot of air traffic between London and Glasgow that could be cut by at least half at a stroke. No current or future service on existing track going to be that appealing to air travellers, but a 2.5h service on modern high speed trains certainly would.
  • JsTJsT TheSite Graduate Posts: 18,265 Incredible Poster
    Aladdin wrote: »
    It might turn out to be like that, but it doesn't need to be so. Every other country in the world that has a high speed network has (to the best of my knowledge) managed to introduce it without neglecting the rest of their networks or charging exhorbitant prices for high-speed tickets. Why does Britain have to be different, other than because of the prevalent and well-rooted culture of greed and underinvestment?

    One thing is clear. Heathrow does not need a third runway or a sixth terminal. BAA and the aviation industry are a bunch of lying greedy scumbags.

    With an efficient, functioning high speed rail network we could could cut the number of domestic and short haul flights signinficantly. Indeed, it is nothing short of a disgrace that there are so many domestic flights in this country, considering how small Britain actually is. The focus must be on offering a fast and attractive rail network at reasonable prices, so nobody would consider taking the plane over the train unless they have no other option. Whether we like it or not, what people like is true high speed services that are modern and reliable, and rival planes for journey times. The only way to achieve this is to build a dedicated high speed line. Half-arsed improvements on existing track simply won't cut it.

    I completely agree, Heathrow is far too big and there are far far too many domestic flights especially to places such as Manchester is ridiculous, especially when you consider the fact that Manchester is quicker by Rail anyway and many cases actually a lot cheaper, I've just looked on BA and a same day return a week today (advance purchase) is £214 yet rail is just £40 with the benefits of point to point travel.

    Away from the high speed networks rail in countries like France is appauling, reasonably small settlements out of city find that they'll get a service a couple of times a day where a similar size place in the UK will typically get an hourly service. I can see in certain circumstances we need better rail links - especially up to Scotland and 'Crosscountry' (such as Newcastle - Bristol etc) but these can be delivered with improvements to the existing network - I remain sceptical that the amount spent on high speed rail is necessary in a such a small country with cities relatively close together. Not everyone wants to go to London!
  • JsTJsT TheSite Graduate Posts: 18,265 Incredible Poster
    Aladdin wrote: »
    While local and commutting lines could certainly do with extra cash, the biggest problems there appear to be mismanagement and the way the network is fractured and subcontracted. The existing lines are already proven to be perfectly adequate for a good service, so with extra funding for maintenance and better management many problems could be solved.

    The actual lack of a high speed line however is a far more serious problem.

    The only way in which I'd see justification for giving priority to local services as valid is if new lines were going to be built (or dismantled ones re-opened) with the cash. Though I suspect nobody has that in mind, other than the Cross-Rail project.

    New lines are being built and reopened - this is only happening in Scotland and Wales where the regional assemblies have gone for the idea, England is the only place where this is not happening and there are so so many groups and regional commities (http://www.selrap.org.uk/ being one of hundreds) pushing for these lines reopening, there is no will from the government to do anything in England to offer new service oppertunities!

    I'd also completely disagree with your suggestion that the network is poorly managed and that is being held back by the 'fraturing' of the network.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    JsT wrote: »
    I'd also completely disagree with your suggestion that the network is poorly managed and that is being held back by the 'fraturing' of the network.
    I should clarify that much of that is the government's fault and the way the whole system of subsidies and sub-letting of rolling stock is structured. But yes, I do believe the system could be run a lot more smoothly and fares could be far cheaper than they are.

    However, I believe those improvements can be achieved without spending tens of billions of Pounds in them. Thus we should be able to offer the necessary funding to continue improving the local and commutting services and building a new high speed track.

    Incidentally the creation of such line would have a positive knock-off effect on the rest of the network as much needed time slots on conventional track are freed up when the long distance services move to the dedicated line. So local and regional services would (or should) benefit too from it.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Has anyone considered the rather important question of where we would put these brand new lovely train tracks? Land isnt exactly going spare in most parts of the UK at the moment.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I don't think the rail service is actually that bad in the UK, just expensive... if there's ever a train late it's only by maximum 10 minutes. On one occasion I had to get a coach because there was a signalling problem or something and that added about an hour onto my journey (was going from York to Leicester but got diverted kind of to Derby and got the bus from there).

    Really I think transport in the UK isn't that bad. I'd put the money into local bus services really as round here there is no sunday service which is bad for a village of 10,000 which you could pretty much class as a suburb. And my friend who commutes to birmingham as a student pays about £1500 a year on train fares because his student discount card excludes peak fares which is no good because if he has a 9am lecture... what can he do? Season tickets are worse value than just going on the days he needs to as well.

    The whole problem is not of quality or delivery of service but the cost. The UK is a very expensive place to get around, nowhere moreso than london. I mean if you are commuting around london every day you are going to be paying a significant portion of your salary on train, bus and tube fares.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    budda wrote: »
    Has anyone considered the rather important question of where we would put these brand new lovely train tracks? Land isnt exactly going spare in most parts of the UK at the moment.

    Would they be new - or just upgrades to existing lines. if its new, and given how long planning permission takes for major projects, a start date of 2015 seems optimistic
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    if its new, and given how long planning permission takes for major projects, a start date of 2015 seems optimistic

    Indeed, the British public want excellent public services, but we are also a nation of NIMBY's.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Another point to consider is that this sounds like a political stunt almost. Referring back to my last post, is it the best use of the money? Of course we all want a bullet train a la Japan that levitates and we want trains every 5 minutes to anywhere in the UK within 60 minutes and we want it to cost the price of a bag of crisps... but at what cost? Like I said we should start investing in the areas that need the most investment first and bring that up to standard before we start on big projects that get lots of votes because everyone thinks they need the best train system in the world...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    budda wrote: »
    Has anyone considered the rather important question of where we would put these brand new lovely train tracks? Land isnt exactly going spare in most parts of the UK at the moment.

    Don't worry. A raft of repossession will soon sort that out. ;) Considering the government now guarantees half of the country's mortgages.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Don't worry. A raft of repossession will soon sort that out. ;) Considering the government now guarantees half of the country's mortgages.

    Better yet, in exchange for keeping their homes they could be forced to work for ultra low wages building the new railway and we could get it on the cheap.
  • JsTJsT TheSite Graduate Posts: 18,265 Incredible Poster
    Aladdin wrote: »
    I should clarify that much of that is the government's fault and the way the whole system of subsidies and sub-letting of rolling stock is structured. But yes, I do believe the system could be run a lot more smoothly and fares could be far cheaper than they are.

    However, I believe those improvements can be achieved without spending tens of billions of Pounds in them. Thus we should be able to offer the necessary funding to continue improving the local and commutting services and building a new high speed track.

    Incidentally the creation of such line would have a positive knock-off effect on the rest of the network as much needed time slots on conventional track are freed up when the long distance services move to the dedicated line. So local and regional services would (or should) benefit too from it.

    The Government actually needs to have someone with a damn clue running things - Ruth Kelly knows piss all about the transport industry so why have her as minister for Transport? She actually helped to name a train in Blackburn last week to honour Barbara Castle, despite ample rail connections it is claimed she went from Bolton to Blackburn by car...... :rolleyes:

    A new high speed rail line is going to have little or no effect on availability on paths on the mainline network. There are very few true point to point expresses - you may have a express service to Manchester but what about the other places on the services thats are served? A case in point being 1649 Euston to Manchester:
    1H27 P50523 29/09/2008 1649 EUS to MAN			
    This Train is operated by Virgin Trains.	  
    [B]London Euston	  	1649[/B]
    CMDNSTH 	  	Pass 	1651
    CMDNJN 	  	Pass 	1652
    Willesden Junction [WIJ] 	  	Pass 	1655
    Wembley Central [WMB] 	  	Pass 	1656
    Harrow & Wealdstone [HRW] 	  	Pass 	1658
    Watford Junction [WFJ] 	  	Pass 	1701
    BONENDJ 	  	Pass 	1705
    Tring [TRI] 	  	Pass 	1708
    LEDBRNJ 	  	Pass 	1711
    Bletchley [BLY] 	  	Pass 	1716
    [B]Milton Keynes Central [MKC] 	  1719	  	1720[/B]
    HANSLPJ 	  	Pass 	1725
    WEEDON 	  	Pass 	1731
    HMTNJ 	  	Pass 	1740
    Rugby [RUG] 	  	Pass 	1742
    RUGBTVJ 	  	Pass 	1743
    BRINKLW 	  	Pass 	1747
    ATLBRJN 	  	Pass 	1751
    Nuneaton [NUN] 	  	Pass 	1753
    Tamworth [TAM] 	  	Pass 	1759
    [B]Lichfield Trent Valley [LTV] 	  	1803	1803[/B]
    ARMITAG 	  	Pass 	1809
    COLWICH 	  	Pass 	1815
    Stafford [STA] 	  	Pass 	1822
    Norton Bridge [NTB] 	  	Pass 	1827
    MADELEY 	  	Pass 	1832
    CREWBHJ 	  	Pass 	1837
    [B]Crewe [CRE] 	  	1841	1842[/B]
    CREWSBG 	  	Pass 	1846
    Sandbach [SDB] 	  	Pass 	1849
    Alderley Edge [ALD] 	  	Pass 	1857
    [B]Wilmslow [WML] 	  	1858	1858[/B]
    Cheadle Hulme [CHU] 	  	Pass 	1905
    ADSWDRD 	  	Pass 	1906
    STKPE1 	  	Pass 	1907
    [B]Stockport [SPT] 1908	  	1909	[/B]  
    HTNOJN 	  	Pass 	1911
    SLDLJN 	  	Pass 	1913
    ARDWCKJ 	  	Pass 	1917
    [B]Manchester Piccadilly [MAN] 	  	1921	[/B]  
    
    This and pretty much every other train on the network would have to run or many people would be left with a lot worse service
    budda wrote: »
    Has anyone considered the rather important question of where we would put these brand new lovely train tracks? Land isnt exactly going spare in most parts of the UK at the moment.

    This is the big issue - especially if you are gonna try and tunnel through the Pennines between Leeds & Manchester. Its gonna be practically impossible without a hell of a lot of work and money
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Would they be new - or just upgrades to existing lines. if its new, and given how long planning permission takes for major projects, a start date of 2015 seems optimistic
    I'm no train buff but as I understand it it'd have to be new land for at least some of it. High speed lines have lower gradient and bend angle limits than standard speed ones so many of the hillier or curvier sectors of the existing line would not be able to accommodate high speed tracks.
  • JsTJsT TheSite Graduate Posts: 18,265 Incredible Poster
    In short yes, and most curves would need to have a tilt/camber profile put in, along with improvement to the OHLE (Power) and signalling systems. Along with no doubt issues regarding gauging the trains with existing structures (bridges/tunnels/stations etc)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Aladdin wrote: »
    I'm no train buff but as I understand it it'd have to be new land for at least some of it. High speed lines have lower gradient and bend angle limits than standard speed ones so many of the hillier or curvier sectors of the existing line would not be able to accommodate high speed tracks.

    I guess that's where the £20bn comes from :)

    However, like all figures from opposition they need to be taken with a pinch of salt. Not there fault - we have dozens of people working on major projects in the civil service and can draw on many more, including economists, specialist planners, consultants. And we get budgets wrong. The figures for this will have been cobbled together by a couple of generalists on a budget which probably wouldn't meet the Civil Services coffee bills.
  • JsTJsT TheSite Graduate Posts: 18,265 Incredible Poster
    The recent reopening of Ebbw Vale Branch in Wales cost approximately £30 million to restore an existing track bed with single line track for about 17 miles with basic OTW signalling, existing track renewals cost in the region of £500,000 per miles including labour - £15bn is not a bad estimate if your doing a shit load of tunnel work and compulsory purchase and so on.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    A good idea from the Tories, I'll readily admit. Now for them to name a person with half a brain who just might actually be able to not only make sure this project goes ahead, but is a resounding success. Over to you, Mr Cameron...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It's a good idea... it's the common sense approach. But, when they actually get into power, will they stand up to BAA?
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