Latest Rail News


DfT offers Camden Council new HS2 assurances

Residents of the London borough of Camden have been offered new assurances by the DfT intended to reduce the impact of building HS2 in their area.

Roger Hargreaves, director of hybrid bill delivery at HS2 Ltd, set out the assurances on behalf of transport secretary Chris Grayling in a letter to Mike Cooke, chief executive of the London borough of Camden.

Camden Council recently accused HS2 of not listening to residents about concerns over plans to raise the Hampstead Road Bridge by 4.7m, after the high-speed line company said it would lower the bridge’s planned height by 0.5-1m.

The DfT said HS2 should reduce the bridge by “at least” this amount and continue to review ways to mitigate the impact. It also said it should consider “reasonable alternatives” proposed by the council and engage with the community “in a timely and meaningful manner”.

HS2 is also required to mitigate the effects of construction at the Ampthill Estate, including paying compensation for any damage to utilities, and keep at least one lane of traffic on Adelaide Road open while building there.

In addition, HS2 is now required to reduce the number of construction-related large goods vehicles on the roads in Camden “so far as reasonably practicable”. It must also require its contractors to reduce the number of vehicles they use and ensure that vehicles are powered with Euro VI or lower emission engines.

Camden Council published the assurances in order to support residents who are planning on giving evidence to the House of Lords select committee currently scrutinising the HS2 Bill.

Cllr Sarah Hayward, leader of Camden Council, said: “We’ve been pushing HS2 to be more transparent with residents and are pleased that just days before select committee they’re willing to share this with petitioners. They must go further to move materials by rail and take lorries off the road as their own study shows they could.”

The council itself is due to appear before the committee on 6 September.

Camden is the home of Euston station, where the high-speed line will start, and the council has been consistently critical of the project.

The DfT and HS2 struck a new deal with the local authority at the end of last year, but the council still petitioned the House of Lords for more measures to reduce the impact of the development in April.

The DfT will also make a contribution of up to £130,000 to pay for an environmental health officer to communicate with the public about the project. HS2 will make monthly reports to Camden Council on the noise, dust and air pollution caused by the development.

Cllr Hayward said the council had made “real progress” in negotiating with HS2 in a number of areas, including the impact of the development on vulnerable residents.

HS2 is now required to work with Camden Council to develop a strategy specifically aimed at vulnerable people within the borough. It will also appoint support workers to work with vulnerable people, funded with £190,000 from the department, and will develop a specific framework for engaging with schools.

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



John Burns   07/09/2016 at 12:15

New High-speed rail track is unnecessary as new trains can reach 186mph on existing tracks. Capacity issues are only on the WCML south of Milton Keynes. The WCML has twice the traffic of the ECML. North of MK the WCML only has 'bottlenecks'. History of inter-city in the UK. In the early 1960s trains to major cities from London were spread over 4 mainlines: - Liverpool/Glasgow - WCML - Leeds/Newcastle - ECML - Sheffield/Manchester- MML - Birmingham/Wolverhampton - Chiltern Line In the 60s the WCML was electrified with faster trains. The Manchester, Birmingham and Wolverhampton trains were moved to the WCML, which serves 5 cities, 6 inc' Edinburgh. The other mainlines were lightly used. The population expanded with the WCML becoming heavily loaded. Capacity south of MK on the WCML can be alleviated by diverting trains back to their original lines when updated and electrified. The ECML is now electrified with the MML partially. The shorter Chiltern Line is still diesel run. Uprating the 4 mainlines by electrification and removing bottlenecks will solve capacity issues. The Chiltern Line will benefit by improved local and regional services, so knock-on benefits. Opening old and building new lines, which are needed for local & regional use, will take trains off the mainlines creating four "expressways". Local and regional lines will be more accepted as they are used by the populations they run though daily, so little resistance as HS2 as seen. They can see the immediate benefits to themselves. Remove the bottlenecks on the WCML, run the trains as fast as can be and journey time from London to Manchester compared to full HS2 is about 15 minutes slower. As trains are replaced over the decades, newer faster up to 186mph, train can be introduced. The new 140mph Hitachi trains, they have 160mph models, can make London to Leeds on the ECML about 12 minutes slower than the planned HS2. There is no need to build a high-speed rail line in the UK. Many rail experts have constantly emphasised this point. All that is needs is: - Spread the inter-city services over the four mainlines, Back to their original early 1960s lines. - Electrify the mainlines (which is overdue). - Remove bottlenecks from the mainlines. - Use state of the art fast trains reaching up to 186mph in some tilting models. - Build HS3. A full direct & straight west-east HS3 adds a new dynamic, giving capacity release, cascading throughout the network. HS3 will intersect three mainlines. The fast 140-180mph trains means Manchester can be accessed via the shorter MML and then west under the Pennines via HS3. The WCML gets more capacity, which is important giving the expansion of the Port of Liverpool. Fast up to 186mph trains to Liverpool be on the WCML and then head west on the HS3. Scottish trains then run directly up the WCML. HS3 adds redundancy, trains can be diverted from either mainline via HS3 if problems

Chris M   07/09/2016 at 16:35

Groan! Even the anti-HS2 groups draw a line at quoting 'John Burns' - everyone knows he is a deluded fantasist. His posts are a mixture of historical facts gleaned from Wikipedia and utter nonsense. The reality is that very few 19th century railways anywhere in the whole world allow sustained speeds of more than 125mph, (USA - Acela Express - is 150mph for just one short section). The very last thing the rail users of the UK need is the big capacity reductions that greater speed differentials create on a mixed traffic railway. The clever thing about HS2 is that by removing the fast trains it allows a much greater number of commuter, regional and freight trains to run on our existing lines - improving connectivity and frequency. This is the reason why worldwide so many high-speed railways are being built - to provide greater speed and capacity. The UK is no different. 'John Burns' is essentially advocating the removal of regular stopping services to towns such as Tamworth, Stafford, Huntingdon & Newark (plus countless others). No experts worth their salt would wish to inflict this strain of madness on our existing railways.

John Burns   08/09/2016 at 16:33

Ad hom attacks again mean you have no case. Local & regional rail is best to be where it needs to be, that is not on mainline expressways. We need to take these services off the expressways and put them where they should be, serving the communities much better. It is not difficult to understand that. With bottlenecks removed the ECML can sustain around an average of 160mph end to end from London to Leeds. That is not using tilting trains. Tilting trains are only needed on the WCML. The tilting APT in the early 1980s was to sustain 155mph on the WCML. The problem is clearly the mixing of slow and fast trains on mainlines. WE have it about face. We need to remove the regional & local rail off the mainlines. As to the weird logic of the justification of HS2 route in Cheshire/Manchester. If HS2 is cancelled and there is a capacity issue from Stockport to Manchester, the problem would be solved locally. Not by running another new line to Crewe. Nevertheless there are no capacity issues around Stockport. BTW, today The influential Adam Smith Institute has 'strongly' recommended yo T. May to cancel HS2. It offers so little value. While HS3, if done properly with a Pennines base tunnel, does.

John Burns   08/09/2016 at 17:09

The amount of spoil that needs removal at a new built Euston station for HS2 is about a third of the Crossrail total. In short, a HUGE amount. Needs 800 2-leg truck movements each day during permitted hours, more than one truck movement each minute each way. Most up Finchley Rd I would assume. What a mes that will be with traffic jams of trucks. This is madness, when the inter-city services are spread across all the mainlines, instead of most being only on one, the WCML, and hence all the London stations would share the load, even Crossrail can. All for an unneeded politically motivated railway

John Burns   08/09/2016 at 22:45

The amount of spoil that needs removal at a new built Euston station for HS2 is about a third of the Crossrail total. In short, a HUGE amount. Needs 800 2-leg truck movements each day during permitted hours, more than one truck movement each minute each way. Most up Finchley Rd I would assume. What a mes that will be with traffic jams of trucks. This is madness, when the inter-city services are spread across all the mainlines, instead of most being only on one, the WCML, and hence all the London stations would share the load, even Crossrail can. All for an unneeded politically motivated railway

Chris M   09/09/2016 at 01:46

Dear John, 160mph average on the ECML to Leeds? - oh dear, you really are away with the fairies aren't you! Even 100mph average is probably more than a real train could actually manage without derailing on tight bends. Still if you are so sure I suggest you book a flight to Necker Island ASAP and have a chat with Sir Dickie B. I bet he would love some way to get his trains to Leeds in 69 minutes! Professor Andrew McNaughton (very clever chap, totally the opposite of you) used the 800 lorry figure to demonstrate the worst possible case to the Commons select committee. Industry sources indicate it is perfectly possible to shift around 5,000 tonnes of spoil / rubble a day by rail - and even more if night loading and running is permitted. By the way you conflate the rebuild of Euston with HS2, but to some extent it is needed whether trains in future are high speed or not - with compound growth in passenger numbers between 2 and 5% each year the current station is already struggling to cope with the passenger numbers. It will still have to be rebuilt even if HS2 was cancelled - although of course it won't be. And to be honest the four Midland Main Line platforms at St Pancras are not enough to cope with much more growth either, so more platforms would be needed by the 2030s without HS2. That would require the demolition of a number of flats and St Pancras church to the west of the current railway.

Chris M   09/09/2016 at 03:45

So for the hard of understanding like John Burns - and Joe Rukin - why can we not upgrade the ECML for much higher speeds? Well we could - at a huge price - but it would need a lot of new sections of track to avoid the 2-track and twisty sections. So essentially you have HS2 moved eastwards but with numerous interfaces with the existing railway. Which is a recipe for many years of weekend closures and diversions for the existing passengers, plus blockades for the heavy engineering. Other issues: Electric wires - British Rail electrified the line to a tight budget and for 15 years or so the travelling public has paid the price, suffering hours of delay when the wires come down. It happened again just a few days ago. Arguably the wiring is not fit for the current 125mph speed limit, never mind the kind of speeds John Burns is dreaming about. Essentially the line would have to re-electrified from London to Leeds and York - at least. Currently the ECML stanchions are too far apart, so the amount of tension in the wires is much too low for fast running. This causes sagging in mid section and risks swaying around in high winds. These failings are amplified by the use of headspan wires between the upright stanchions, rather than the traditional metal girder as seen on the WCML. Which means a de-wirement over one track can lead to the wires over all the tracks being pulled out of alignment, closing the line to all electric trains. Power supplies - also done on the cheap by BR. So much so that if more than a couple of trains are stopped in section they cannot all move off at the same time, for fear of drawing too much current and causing the voltage to drop below minimum levels. Complete renewal will be required. Next tunnels - there are seven on the high speed section from Alexandra Palace to Newark. These cause speed restrictions due to the effects of air pressure as trains pass each other. So although East Coast expresses can pass each other in open air at a combined speed of 250mph, the limit in the tunnels on this route is between 200mph and 230mph. John Burns has a fantasy of 372mph closing speed - for this dream to become reality entirely new modern bored tunnels will be needed. Mega-expensive! Clearances - traditional clearances between passing trains and bridges etc. are considered adequate at up to 140mph. Any higher and the tracks need to be placed further apart. This usually means new (wider) under and over bridges, cuttings and embankments. And of course the stanchions for the wires will often need moving too, as will the lineside drains and signalling equipment. At stations such as Peterborough and Newark the platforms cannot be next to the high speed tracks. So in other words the whole railway needs to be comprehensively enlarged. Part 2 follows:

Chris M   09/09/2016 at 03:54

Following on from part 1. Curves - the speed limit depends on the radius of the curves - for instance it is 115mph at Hatfield but only 105mph at Peterborough and Grantham. In built up areas it will never be practical to ease curves to the extent that speeds can be over 150mph - so the only option is a bypass line. Earthworks, bridges and track. As speed increases the force acting on all these elements increase rapidly. Much higher speeds will often require Victorian earthworks and bridges to be ply or completely removed and rebuilt to modern specifications. Generally this will mean lengthy blockades. Even on plain stretches of track deep excavation will be needed as high speed track requires deeper ballasting than 125mph track. Oh, and the track itself needs heavier rail and larger profile sleepers with more robust clips, So add almost complete track replacement to re-electrification. Plenty of other stuff like altered vertical alignment and new signalling equipment would be needed too, but I think it should now be obvious why trying to turn a busy 19th century railway into a modern high speed line is essentially complete lunacy - for which there really is no business case. The last West Coast upgrade fiasco was and is a salutory lesson in how NOT to do it. New lines are the only sensible answer in the UK as our existing lines are so busy. Lengthy blockades damage the economy and annoy the travelling public.. And you might as well make the new tracks high speed as the cost difference is very small (less than 10%)..

Chris M   09/09/2016 at 04:01

Sorry, Para 2 should read: Much higher speeds will often require Victorian earthworks and bridges to be partly or completely removed and rebuilt to modern specifications.

John Burns   24/09/2016 at 17:22

160mph trains can run on the line to Leeds. The ECML is very straight in parts. Having tilting and the winding spur from Doncaster can run faster trains. If the average is 155mph, the speed that the early 1980s APTs were designed to run at on existing lines, a little bit of maths will tell you Leeds is reached in a tad under HS2 times. The same to Manchester.

Add your comment

Rail industry Focus

View all News


The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >

'the sleepers' blog

On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

29/06/2020On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

Following an independent audit, Sulzer’s Nottingham Service Centre has been accepted as part of the rail industry supplier approval scheme (RISAS). The accreditation reinforces the high-quality standards that are maintained by Sulzer’s... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he would not rule out his organisation issuing future r... more >
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 projects across the UK, Pearson Business School, part of... more >