Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Adonis - Dark Lord or Angelic Light

This has to be one of the most extraordinary public statements made by a Transport Minister!

This from the Grauniad...

Transport secretary, Lord Adonis, said "For reasons of carbon reduction and wider environmental benefits, it is manifestly in the public interest that we systematically replace short-haul aviation with high-speed rail".

Of course he did caveat it by saying:

"But we would have to have, of course, the high-speed network before we can do it."

Bearing in mind the aviation industry's relatively slick lobbying machine this is either going to cause one hell of a stink, or even the airlines now know the domestic game is up!

My Lord Adonis - so much to do. So little time.

UPDATE: And here is the official response from Stephen Hammond, Shadow Rails (sic) Minister...

“I am glad that (Lord Adonis) has finally accepted our argument that high speed rail can provide a viable alternative to thousands of short haul and domestic flights. Now that he has undermined his Government’s case for expansion of Heathrow, the next Conservative policy he should force Gordon Brown to adopt is to cancel all moves to build a third runway at Heathrow."

Excellent, that's Cross Party consensus achieved on High Speed Rail.

Now all that's left is to find the lolly...

UPDATE: This from a yet to be convinced Mr Saltaire...

According to the Daily Telegraph Lord Adonis wants to shift 46m passengers from short haul air to high speed rail.

That equates to 126,000 passengers a day (on average, not accounting for peaks and troughs).

Which is the equivalent of 301 fully loaded Pendolino type trains a day.

Based on a headway that allows a clock-face timetable with departures every twenty minutes, only 54 trains could depart from a London terminus heading north each day (assuming an eighteen hours a day timetable) meaning that a maximum of 22,600 passengers could be moved north and a similar number south = 45,200.

Even doubling the number of carriages in each train leaves you woefully short of capacity (and this assumes all trains are fully loaded and takes no account of peaks and troughs in loadings).

Computer say "No can do!".

Maybe the Government should invest the £30bn in researching teleportation… this seems more feasible.

UPDATE: This from Sim Harris over at Keeping Track...

Not sure Mr Saltaire is juggling with the right figures.

I hope very sincerely indeed that the trains on our eventual High Speed domestic network are significantly more spacious than Bendydildoes.

Some figures to consider: seats on a TGV Duplex (8 vehicles) -- 516; Eurostar (18 veh) -- 770.

Also, the Adonis figure is very broad brush: I would have thought that the short haul routes which are most likely to be effectively replaced by rail are London--Manchester, London--Glasgow, London--Newcastle, London--Edinburgh and London--Leeds/Bradford.

Rail is never going to wholly supplant air between London and "outstations" like Inverness/Plymouth/Newquay/Belfast (unless the British LGV network is going to exceed even the dreams of Steer Davies Gleave).

A 225km/h ECML (surely not an insurmountable problem with ERTMS) would also help to mop up some of the London--Leeds/Newcastle/Edinburgh traffic.

If a viable operator can be found, of course!

UPDATE: This just in from Tom West in the Dominions...

516 people in eight vehicles?

770 spread over 18?

Lightweights all of 'em... here in Toronto, the local trains carry 2,100 in twelve (double-deck) carriages!

Vote early - vote often

This from Tom Paine over at the Last Ditch (with a bowler tip to Obnoxio)...

Annoy a Guardianista; vote now!

Poll: What's the best TV show of the decade 2000-09? | Media | guardian.co.uk.

Top Gear can be found at the bottom of the list...

Isambard Kingdom Bowker!

The Fact Compiler spent an enjoyable morning listening to The Long View on the wireless.

This from the BBC blurb on the programme...

A once-prestigious and highly-profitable enterprise, GWR had over-extended itself and the company faced bankruptcy. As debates rage over the future of the East Coast Main Line, Jonathan and guests compare the action taken to rescue the railways in the 19th century with the challenges faced today.

The guests included Graham Eccles, Robert Wright and Terry Gourvish, some of whom are pictured here at Didcot (with a bowler tip to Robert Wright's flickr page).

Great Western Railway saddle tank 1340, 'Trojan', far end of line, Didcot Railway Centre

For those who missed it have a listen on the BBC's iPlayer.

Alternatively it is repeated tonight on BBC Radio 4 at 21:30.

Ford appointed NR Public Member!

Just joking - obviously!

For the third year in succession
Captain Deltic has failed to make the short list for the new batch of Network Rail Public Members.

No doubt there is huge disappointment in Kings Place that the independent selection panel has yet again robbed the company of the Captain's long experience.

Here a clearly disconsolate Iain Coucher receives the news.

Better luck next time Captain.

Network Rail basic science question

Q: What will you observe if you leave bags of concrete in cable ducts on a rainy day?

A: The complete buggeration of yesterday's Midland Main Line rail service.