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Old August 18th, 2019, 10:47 PM   #461
passiv
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Some digger action at Old Oak Common...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vz1K8b44vAI

Last edited by passiv; August 18th, 2019 at 10:58 PM.
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Old August 21st, 2019, 11:39 AM   #462
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https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-49420332

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Old September 3rd, 2019, 01:59 PM   #463
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Uh-oh indeed...

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-49563549

Quote:
HS2 railway to be delayed by up to five years

Phase one of the HS2 high-speed railway between London and Birmingham faces a delay of up to five years, Transport Minister Grant Shapps has said.

The London to Birmingham stage was due to open at the end of 2026, but it could now be 2028-2031 before the first trains run on the route.

Mr Shapps said HS2's cost had risen from £62bn to between £81bn and £88bn.

The second phase to Manchester and Leeds was due to open in 2032-33, but that has been pushed back to 2035-2040.
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Old September 3rd, 2019, 02:26 PM   #464
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Absolutely pathetic. At this point you might as well not bother.
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Old September 3rd, 2019, 02:31 PM   #465
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However, Shapps has instructed HS2 to continue on with works, work will also continue with the bill for Phase 2A.
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Old September 3rd, 2019, 02:52 PM   #466
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Timelapse of some demo works at Old Oak here...

https://www.time-lapse-systems.co.uk...hs2-broadcast/
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Old September 3rd, 2019, 10:04 PM   #467
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I've just had a skim through the Allan Cook report. What jumped out at me was that efficiencies identified in 2016 through bench marking against international high speed rail examples have proved to be too optimistic and have largely failed to materialise. Reasons cited include the following:

1. City centre connections
2. Higher frequency of operation and tonnage necessitating slab tracks and tighter geotechnical challenges
3. More stringent environmental standards

On 1, it seems that the team doing the bench marking exercise failed to properly understand the scope of HS2 and applied average unit cost rates at too disaggregate a level - i.e. not comparing unit rates separately for embankment tracks in the countryside, tunnels under cities, and city centre stations among others.

2 is something I never fully appreciated before. I always thought we were designing and building something to, and not beyond, typical European standards (i.e. 3-minute planning headways and 400m GC-gauge trains), and that we are just designing the operation in a way that allows 18tph running (i.e. parallel paths for long distances and overlapping markets which are conditions other systems to date have not had to the same extent). What I have not considered is that such intensity of running places higher demands on the physical infrastructure. Are we to say therefore, that the Paris - Lyon HSL would technically never be able to operate at 18tph?

3 - How much of this is down to thing like over-provision of tunnels to appease the Chiltern and other NIMBYs? Are we really striking the right balance between respecting the physical environmental sensitivities directly related to the physical infrastructure, and creating a sustainable (non car-dependent) economic model that delivers prosperity to all?
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Old September 3rd, 2019, 10:30 PM   #468
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The report itself is quite clear about price bases. In 2015 prices the new estimated total cost is now £72.1-78.4bn, compared with the funding envelope of £56.2n (adjusted), so about a £20bn increase.

What is slightly surprising is that after so many years of design development, the level of contingency has not gone down, even for Phase 1. Phase 1's funding envelope of £27.6bn include £7.0bn of contingency, or 37% of cost to go. The latest emerging estimates comprise of a £28.9bn point estimate plus £7.2bn-£9.5bn worth of contingency, despite the project having advanced to a stage of having awarded a number of contracts. One can only conclude that recent risk assessments have assigned increase probability of risk events or identified new risks, even if some of the old risks have been 'realised' into the new point estimates.

The costs have evolved from early estimates based on (top-down) international bench marking (from professional services consultants) to what's called 'Baseline 7' - the first baseline which has significant input from the construction industry, 'following the appointment of enabling works contractors (EWCs, November 2016), main works civils contractors (MWCCs July 2017), use of the Network Rail framework rates (from December 2016) and station design services contractors (SDSCs, February 2018)'. I'm particularly intrigued by the Network Rail framework rates bit. The whole point of doing HS2 is that we build a new railway largely in an environment that we can control, to allow us to avoid the complexities of working on an operational railway and the institutional inefficiencies commonly associated with Network Rail projects. Have the contracts awarded so far revealed that was too optimistic an expectation, or are we too premature in giving up on doing things more efficiently?

The Shapps statement says he has authorised HS2 Ltd to continue in its current works. It follows with 'This will ensure we are ready to proceed without further delay for the main construction stage of Phase 1 in the event that the government chooses to continue'. This actually suggests to me that major spending decisions - awarding of contracts and release of funds, are actually paused until the Okervee review is concluded. So where does this leave the Old Oak Common contract that was just about to be signed as of yesterday?
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Old September 4th, 2019, 10:26 AM   #469
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NCT View Post
What I have not considered is that such intensity of running places higher demands on the physical infrastructure. Are we to say therefore, that the Paris - Lyon HSL would technically never be able to operate at 18tph?
I suspect that the answer is it would be perfectly capable of running that level of service, but the cost of maintenance would be a big issue, hence the need to build HS2 to a higher standard to mitigate that.

I also wonder what the effect of deciding to make it fit for 400 km/h running are. I'm not a civil engineer but I would guess that the dynamic load on structures is quite a bit more for the extra speed. Whether that has a material effect on the cost of construction is not something I can answer, but I wouldn't be surprised if it does
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Old September 5th, 2019, 10:27 AM   #470
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stuu View Post
I suspect that the answer is it would be perfectly capable of running that level of service, but the cost of maintenance would be a big issue, hence the need to build HS2 to a higher standard to mitigate that.

I also wonder what the effect of deciding to make it fit for 400 km/h running are. I'm not a civil engineer but I would guess that the dynamic load on structures is quite a bit more for the extra speed. Whether that has a material effect on the cost of construction is not something I can answer, but I wouldn't be surprised if it does
Not exactly my area but I would imagine a small increase in cost in over bridges and tunnel diameter. Materials are not really the issue they once were. Even a 10% material increase, as long as its not more time, will not have a huge impact on the total. Generally its people's time that costs. Personally I would lean to over engineering civils because of this, its no extra today and cheaper than fixing any mistakes later.
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Old September 5th, 2019, 03:09 PM   #471
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I concur - the 400km/h spped is really only a consideratino for ongoing maintenance costs, shouldn't have had a huge impact on contruction costs, save for the odd extra bridge / ditch / tunnel required as it needed to be slightly straighter.
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Old September 5th, 2019, 03:26 PM   #472
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Quote:
Originally Posted by damo_ View Post
Not exactly my area but I would imagine a small increase in cost in over bridges and tunnel diameter. Materials are not really the issue they once were. Even a 10% material increase, as long as its not more time, will not have a huge impact on the total. Generally its people's time that costs. Personally I would lean to over engineering civils because of this, its no extra today and cheaper than fixing any mistakes later.
A large proportion of the tunnelling chainage is in West London and the northern section of the Manchester spur (an a short tunnel at the beginning of the Leeds spur). The line speeds there are already well below 400kph (function of acceleration / deceleration lengths from Euston / OOC - all services stop at OOC) and max turn out speed onto the spur. So those tunnels' bore (aerodynamically driven) will not be especially large anyway.

Most tunnels of Ph2B Eastern Leg were got rid of in the route refinements (including the change to M18 route in S Yorks) - no tunnel under EMA, no tunnels south of Barnsley.

The Chiltern Tunnels are perhaps another matter, and of course were significantly lengthened as environmental mitigation following Ph1 Consultation.

I said at the time all that 'money-on-trees' largesse to somewhat subdue the Chiltern NIMBYS would result in less money to spend on the (less mature design stage) northern Phases. Sure enough, the budget envelope has been burst (for other reasons as well, of course) and the detailed design emerging for the Leeds Spur has put a very long stretch of track that was to be hidden in cutting now on a 'cheap'/unattractive concrete viaduct - a stretch that doubtless is overlooked by a lot more residents than any Chiltern cutting would have been!
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Old September 19th, 2019, 12:37 AM   #473
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What’s everybody’s opinion on the future of HS2 I’m praying to god this doesn’t get cancelled but I’m fearing the worst to be honest.
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Old September 19th, 2019, 10:25 AM   #474
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Can I gently remind contributors that this thread was started as a repository for reportage of actual phase1 construction activities.

I suggest a better thread for "speculative" type discussions is this one... https://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=423318 (amongst others.)

Far be it for me to claim to know the mind of the OP, but from memory the idea was to have a (this) thread free of the "politics" of what coulda/woulda/shoulda be built for those only interested in actual construction works.

Kind regards.
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Old September 19th, 2019, 11:25 AM   #475
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Quote:
Originally Posted by makita09 View Post
I concur - the 400km/h spped is really only a consideratino for ongoing maintenance costs, shouldn't have had a huge impact on contruction costs, save for the odd extra bridge / ditch / tunnel required as it needed to be slightly straighter.
Unfortunately it is having a significant impact on construction costs for some parts of the route.

For certain sections the 400km/h design speed is pushing towards the Rayleigh wave velocity of the ground (i.e. the speed of a mechanical wave travelling through the soil). If a train were to reach this critical velocity it would increase ground vibrations by a large factor, in a similar way to an aircraft hitting the sound barrier. Designing this out requires significant additional interventions to improve the ground - digging out and replacing the ground to several metres depth, or some other form of ground improvement.

This is an area of ongoing academic research so the phenomenon is yet to be fully understood. I do wonder whether HS2 have adopted a risk-averse approach to this rather esoteric problem and in so doing have escalated the cost of dealing with it.

Some of the types of clay along the route are also prone to 'heave' if they experience a reduction in overburden. This causes problems in very deep cuttings, where the underlying ground will continue to move upwards over a number of years. This would ultimately affect track tolerances. There are ways to mitigate the issue, the cheapest of which is simply to wait a few years after the excavation until the heave has stopped before laying the track formation.

Quite how much these have contributed to the cost increase I don't know, but they are enough of a concern to feature in the Allan Cook report.
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Old September 20th, 2019, 02:19 PM   #476
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https://www.paradisebirmingham.co.uk...s-our-support/


HS2 deserves our support

18 September 2019

By Rob Groves, Regional Director, Argent

As the Oakervee Review looks into the deliverability and affordability of HS2, we want to be clear about our support for this vital national project.

It’s crucial to understand the impact the project will have on the economy of our region, as well as helping to drive growth across the whole of the UK.

HS2 delivers two key economic goals. Firstly, it releases capacity on the existing West Coast Mainline that connects the country’s four largest cities and allows it to meet growing local and regional demand for both passenger and freight services.

Without this upgrade, the existing Victorian railway infrastructure that underpins Europe’s busiest mixed-use railway line will become increasingly congested, overcrowded and ultimately, obsolete. The West Coast Mainline will also fail to meet current and future demand without further costly and time consuming multi-billion pound investment.

Secondly, HS2 creates a modern, fit for purpose rail link between the seven largest metropolitan areas of the UK. This will help drive huge gains in productivity and regeneration, increase the nation’s skills base and help our regional cities underline their international status as major economic capitals in their own right.

Birmingham and the West Midlands is already reaping the benefits of a steady increase in major inward investment that has taken place over the past 5 years. If you look across the city right now you can spot countless projects creating jobs and driving economic growth. One example is Paradise, another is the relocation of HSBC’s UK headquarters from Canary Wharf to Broad Street.

Birmingham currently has the potential to reinvent itself and see through a once in a century step change in its economic fortunes.

Taking just one sector as an example, the city has the opportunity to significantly grow its business, professional and financial services (BPFS) economy to the benefit of everyone who lives here. This would help rebalance the sector’s emphasis on London and the South-East and create huge economic dividends for the city and wider region.

The BPFS economy in the UK is an acknowledged global leader and has huge potential for growth in our major regional cities. But we can only achieve and sustain this economic growth on the basis of two key factors.

One is the quality of our urban environment which has been a high priority for decades. Birmingham is also a world leader in sport, culture, the arts and quality of life. With cheaper costs of living and housing than the capital, we have an advantage that is not being fully realised due to a lack of modern infrastructure.

This argument can be applied to investment in all of the major economic sectors, including advanced manufacturing, tourism and life sciences.

Secondly, many economic drivers rely on connectivity. This is where HS2 comes in.

In a single project, HS2 transforms connectivity across the whole of the UK. Over 100 towns and cities will benefit from vastly improved rail services as a result of HS2.

Importantly, it allows great cities like Birmingham – birthplace of the industrial revolution that transformed the world as we know it – to fully realise its potential.

When we compete against our international rivals for inward investment, whether they are in Europe, North America, or the Far East, we need to have something unique to offer.

Our very Britishness, with our reputation as a powerhouse for culture, innovation and business, is always a major – and unique – selling point.

And that offer becomes even more compelling and appealing with HS2 in the mix.

Without it, we lose some of our appeal and significantly hamper our future growth potential.
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Old September 27th, 2019, 06:39 PM   #477
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It seems HS2 have released some new images of demolition works at Euston. Links below to a couple of online publications carrying them (there are others.)

https://www.theconstructionindex.co....-euston-towers

https://www.railpro.co.uk/news/hs2-n...-euston-towers
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Old October 3rd, 2019, 12:33 PM   #478
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Soooo... I am possibly stretching the definition of what ought to be posted in this thread and what should not, but I am "flying" around in Google Earth (Windows, desktop version,) at time of posting and I see a fair bit of imagery has been updated to 2019 versions around Birmingham and London. If one "knows where to look" (I have the route loaded in as an overlay,) one can see various HS2 works ongoing. Web version does not seem to be updated yet.
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Old October 5th, 2019, 07:43 PM   #479
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Schedule 17 planning application for Colne Valley Viaduct works...

(PL/19/3332/HS2)

https://pa.chilternandsouthbucks.gov...=PYHC7SESHSP00

EDIT (Having had time for a skim through) - there's plenty of renders therein, esp. in the Design & Access Statement (DAS) documents.
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Old October 7th, 2019, 12:21 PM   #480
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Quote:
Originally Posted by makita09 View Post
I concur - the 400km/h spped is really only a consideratino for ongoing maintenance costs, shouldn't have had a huge impact on contruction costs, save for the odd extra bridge / ditch / tunnel required as it needed to be slightly straighter.
I think it is the high speed that is the reason for slab tack, and not the tonnage / frequency. There is a critical speed where trains catch-up with the pressure wave they create in the ground, a bit like a fighter jet's sonic boom. This can cause track quality problems on ballasted track.
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