There is a by-election in the Copeland constituency, if you haven’t noticed and this is the BBC’s guide to the election.
When I was at Liverpool University in the 1960s, one of C’s friends used to live near Barrow-in-Furness. I remember we had a drink with her once and she told us how she used to have to take five trains and umpteen hours to get between Barrow and Liverpool.
Liverpool to Barrow-in-Furness now takes just over two and a half hours with a single change at Preston.
So when I heard someone from UKIP say that HS2 wouldn’t benefit Copeland on the BBC, I thought I’d check the times.
HS2 opens to Crewe in 2027 and I suspect that trains going to the North of Crewe will use HS2 to Crewe and then run on the classic lines to go North.
Euston to Crewe currently takes 90 minutes, but after HS2 opens this time will reduce to 58 minutes. Times are from this page in The Guardian.
The fastest trains to Barrow-in-Furness currently take three hours fifty-three minutes with a change at either Preston or Lancaster.
So just reducing this time by the thirty two minutes saved South of Crewe, brings the time down to three hours twenty-one minutes.
But I think we’ll see innovation in HS2’s trains.
It seems to be the policy now for a company to have short and long trains, as both the Class 800 trains and Greater Anglia’s Aventras come in both short and long versions, where two short trains can join together for flexibility of operation.
Could Hs2 take this further and say have five-car short trains, three of which could join together for the fast run to and from London?
So will we see five-car trains that can serve places like Barrow-in-Furness, Blackpool and Burnley, joining at Preston for a fast run on HS2 to London?
I also think that by the mid-2020s, all electric trains will have the capability to fit onboard energy storage to give them access to places like Barrow-in-Furness, which may not be electrified.
So could we see a high speed train serving Barrow-in-Furness in 2027? After all Barrow-in-Furness to the West Coast Main Line is just twenty-nine miles, which by that date, will be totally in range of a train with onboard energy storage.
If you look at the provisional timetable for Phase 1 of HS2 on Wikipedia, you will see that there is one train per hour (tph) to Preston. Could this be a train created by bringing together portions from Barrow-in-Furness, Blackpool and Burnley? I don’t know, but the French do similar things with TGVs.
I wouldn’t be surprised and with selective improvements to the route North of Preston and on the Furness Line, the time from London to Barrow could be under three hours, when HS2 opens to Crewe.
Effectively, by building HS2 to Crewe and using specially-designed trains, towns like Barrow-in-Furness get a high speed connection to Birmingham and London.
Cancel HS2 and Copeland will still be deep in the past, as far as rail travel is concerned.
On Sunday morning, I usually watch the Andrew Marr Show and then listen to Pienaar’s Politics on the radio.
- Jeremy Corbyn didn’t give the sort of performance one would expect from a future Prime Minister.
- Aaron Banks, who supports UKIP, frightened me, with his support for the party of neck-enders.
- I didn’t like the treatment Angela Eagle says she is getting from Corbyn supporters.
The only sane voices were the two women, who reviewed the papers on the Andrew Marr Show.
One was so disillusioned with the Labour Party, she has decided to be a stand-up comedian. She certainly got plenty of material.
At least because we should wait to 2020 for the next General Election, there is time for everything to calm down.
In some ways the impact of HS2 on the General Election was more noticeable by its absence. I have only found one serious article in Rail News, that even discusses the subject. This is the first two paragraphs.
Ahead of the general election campaigners against HS2 made much of the opportunity for opponents to vote for parties that wanted the project scrapped. But the final election results suggest HS2 had little impact.
Only UKIP and the Greens put scrapping HS2 as a core issue in their manifestos. And a lone single-issue candidate also campaigned against HS2 in the Westminster North constituency but came bottom of the poll with 63 votes, or just 0.2 per cent of the total cast.
Ukip are a law unto their own, but why are the Greens against HS2?
I do wonder if HS2 is going through a similar popularity as Crossrail, where parts of London were against the building of the rail link in the early days of the project. Now Londoners seem to be getting enthusiastic about their new railway.
I was listening to BBC Radio 5 Live yesterday, when in a fascinating interview, Alan Sked, the original founder of Ukip, called the party BNP-Lite.
I certainly wouldn’t touch either toxic bunch of ists with a bargepole; mine or otherwise.
Rochester and the walk I took, shows a bit of a patchy nature. The eastern end is a bit scruffy and it looked like it wasn’t my sort of High Street. But get past the excellent Visitor Centre and towards the free-to-enter cathedral and it all improves. And then across the bridge in Strood, it all gets scruffy again.
The big change to the area will come when the new station at Rochester opens in 2015 and refurbishment work at Strood station finishes. Judging by the early stage of the building at Rochester station, I do wonder if they’ll meet their target. I do wonder though, if this will make any difference to those in the area, who voted for Ukip in the recent by-election, as I suspect the average Ukip voter probably doesn’t put trains at the top of their priorities!
Rochester together with Chatham is also an easy day out from London, especially if you use the High Speed service. I do wonder if visitor numbers would be improved if Off Peak tickets from London on the High Speed service were more affordable. (At present an Off Peak Return on High Speed is £20.80 and by normal trains it’s £12.65!) My train out was virtually empty, so reducing fares for non-existent passengers wouldn’t cost much!
So Rochester has probably got a lot of things going for it, but whether the negative connotations of the kippers will put off visitors, can only be judged in a few years time.
I took this photo outside a pub on Rochester High Street!
Although the High Street was generally tidy, there were places with a bit of an air of being run-down.
In some ways you can understand, why they voted for the kippers.
I have always believed a story once told me by a hairdresser who used to work there, that Bournemouth does more blue rinses than any town in England.
So I was surprised to see this shop as I walked from Pokesdown station to Dean Court, down the rather less than salubrious shopping street, with its collection of shops which are not the best.
Who’d have thought that Bournemouth would be a hot-bed for kippers.
Matt Ridley has an opinion in The Times entitled Spare me the selfishness of the eco-toffs. It is well worth reading, He says this at one point after looking at the profiles of green and UKIP supporters.
In Downton Abbey terms, Greens are a lady upstairs in the dining room; kippers are a footman downstairs in the servants’ hall.
Does this mean you have to be kippered to vote for UKIP?
Whatever it is, it’s a good choice of a word.
It should help Farage with his choice of neckware!
After Miliband’s dithering yesterday on the English Votes for English Laws question, Ed Balls refused to answer the question directly on BBC Breakfast this morning.
In my view, it is essential that this simple measure is brought in as soon as possible. If we don’t bring it in, then I predict the next General Election will be handed on a plate to the ridiculous UKIP.
This was the title of an article in The Times yesterday by Hugo Rifkind, in which he comes to some interesting conclusions. I particularly liked this bit.
The decline of traditional media — of printed newspapers, limited radio stations, and everybody watching the same TV news — is best understood as the end of media deference. No longer must we gain our understanding of the world via information collected, curated and presented by others. Instead, we can go looking for whatever we like. Consciously or otherwise, we each build our own little online universe.
I think that Rifkind is right and the world will be a worse place because people will not hear any views opposed to their own.