Latest Rail News

06.05.16

HS2 efficiency amendment fails to gain backing of Lords

Instructions designed to bring down the costs of HS2 and increase transparency were rejected by the House of Lords yesterday, despite a number of peers expressing misgivings about the scheme.

The instruction was proposed as the House of Lords named their committee to consider the bill, chaired by crossbench peer Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe.

The Bill came under attack from a number of peers, with Liberal Democrat peer Lord Bradshaw proposing a recommendation that the committee appoint a technical expert to “get under” HS2’s estimated costs.

Lord Bradshaw said: “Since we had the debate in the House, real misgivings about the cost of this scheme have ​emanated from the Cabinet Office, and I believe the need for economy is very strong. I say that as someone who has a lot of experience with these things.”

It was revealed this week that the government has appointed Sir Jeremy Heywood, the head of the civil service, to review ways HS2 can stay within its £55bn budget.

Lord Bradshaw said issues to be considered included whether Old Oak Common should be the phase 1 terminal to allow more time to sort out complaints about the cost and disruption at Camden, and whether the committee should start their evaluation of HS2 at the Birmingham end instead of the London end.

He also said that HS2’s proposals to use rolling stock which is incompatible with the rest of the rail network and capable of going at up to 225mph “should be challenged very strongly”.

Labour’s Lord Berkeley proposed an instruction making it compulsory for the committee to publish evidence, citing accusations in the recent Bynoe report that HS2 is failing to engage with communities and saying that the secrecy could lead to “a slippery slope” where other House of Lords hearings are held without accountability.

Lord Laming, the House of Lords’ chairman of committees, replied that the committee could not appoint a technical expert because their evidence would have to be given in secret, that it is standard practice for House of Lords’ committees to be given discretion on whether to publish evidence, and that “it would not be appropriate” to instruct the committee to focus particularly on savings.

The House of Lords decided not to implement the recommendations.

Peers, including Lord Bradshaw, also discussed proposals to increase competition in railway franchising on Wednesday.

The rest of the HS2 committee are:

  • Lord Brabazon of Tara (Conservative)
  • Lord Freeman (Conservative)
  • Lord Jones of Cheltenham (Liberal Democrat)
  • Baroness O’Cathain (Conservative)
  • Lord Plant of Highfield (Labour)
  • Lord Young of Norwood Green (Labour)

(Image c. HS2)

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an RTM columnist? If so, click here.

 

 

Comments

Huguenot   06/05/2016 at 12:20

1. HS2 must not back down from the 225mph maximum speed. (In fact, design is to be for 250mph max in the future.) Just think if we hadn't gone for 125mph HSTs in the 1970s but had decided to save a few pennies by limiting them to, say, 110mph. What would we say now? 2. What's wrong with a mixture of 'captive' and 'classic-compatible' trains? As the HS2 network becomes extended to Leeds and Manchester so the 'captive' trains with Continental gauge (and therefore more room) will be able to cover more mileage. Delivery of the rolling stock just needs to be tailored to each phase. 3. Getting HS2 going from Old Oak Common as an interim measure is a good idea, enabling the new line to 'bed in' and gaining experience of operations. However, this should be done to enable trains to start running a year early, not to delay Euston beyond the planned opening date.

Add your comment

 

related

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Record number of passenger journeys as UK rail revenue rises to four-year high

18/06/2019Record number of passenger journeys as UK rail revenue rises to four-year high

Record figures of rail passenger journeys have been recorded in England, Scotland and Wales, according to the most recent quarterly report by the... more >
Rail union Aslef launches 'On Track with Diversity' report at Houses of Parliament

18/06/2019Rail union Aslef launches 'On Track with Diversity' report at Houses of Parliament

Train drivers’ union Aslef launched its On Track with Diversity report at the Houses of Parliament on Monday, as it looks to increase ... more >
Dawlish railway may be ‘moved out to sea’ to protect it from storms under new proposals

13/06/2019Dawlish railway may be ‘moved out to sea’ to protect it from storms under new proposals

The storm-battered Dawlish rail line could be “moved out to sea” and away from the “hazard” of the cliffs under new plans... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projec... more >
Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

12/03/2019Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

RTM sits down with Samantha Smith, sole female member of the TransPennine Route Upgrade Alliance Leadership Team, to find out more about encourag... more >
TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

22/01/2019TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

Peter Molyneux, Transport for the North’s (TfN’s) strategic roads director, has been leading on the development of the seven economic... more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. ... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Apprentice to Co-leading the Rail Sector Deal

05/06/2019Apprentice to Co-leading the Rail Sector Deal

In a series of Q&A’s with key speakers on the run up to TransCityRail Midlands, we caught up with TransCityRail panellist and Amey&rsqu... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

Hitachi trains for Happy trains

10/06/2019Hitachi trains for Happy trains

ScotRail project manager Kirsty Devlin discusses the withdrawal of Class 365s, to be replaced with the brand-new Class 385 fleet. While Scot... more >
Malcolm Holmes on new stations for the Black Country

10/06/2019Malcolm Holmes on new stations for the Black Country

Malcolm Holmes, executive director of the West Midlands Rail Executive, described the new stations set to be built for the Black Country region o... more >
The skills bottleneck: Dealing with growing apprenticeship demand

10/06/2019The skills bottleneck: Dealing with growing apprenticeship demand

Richard Turner, head of apprenticeships at Network Rail, details the reasons for growing apprenticeship demand in the rail sector over the coming... more >
A train journey on the Midland Main Line 15 years from now…

10/06/2019A train journey on the Midland Main Line 15 years from now…

Chris Hobson, director of policy and external affairs at the East Midlands Chamber, talks in detail about what travelling through the region will... more >