Rolling blog. The Class 315 farewell…

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06:30.

I’m up showered and in dire need of coffee (no such luxuries in an ‘Easyhotel’ room) here in Reading, ready to head off to London to take part in the farewell tour of the Class 315 trains which have plied their trade in and out of London Liverpool St station since 1981. It makes me feel old. I moved to London in 1986 when these trains were just 5 years old. I used to watch them pass from the balcony outside our flat. Now they’re nearly all gone. Just last few sets remain and two of those will be working the tour to Shenfield today.

Right, time to go…

07:55.

I’m on my way! It’s another rail strike day so Reading station was deathly quiet this morning. On the bright side, Costa coffee was open so I’ve been able to get my caffeine fix.

The Elizabeth line isn’t affected by the strikes, so they’re running a normal service. Here’s my train.

What’s also running normally is revenue protection! Two officers are on my train and immediatelycaught two arrogant young men who thought buying tickets was for other people. An expensive mistake!

08:10.

My trip along the Great Western main line’s been an interesting one. So much has changed since I left London. And it’s still changing. I’ve just passed Old Oak Common and the site of the new HS2 station. I was here on a press trip the other day but it looks completely different when you pass it on a train as you get to see the start of work on the new main line station.

10:30.

Despite the strike a lot of people have turned up for today’s commemorative trips. Here’s the train before the first run.

Rolling blog. Reading reprise…

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08:50.

I’m off to Reading on a fine and sunny autumn morning, which is a welcome change from all the wet weather we’ve been having recently. It certainly made walking to Halifax station far more pleasant! Despite being awake since the early hours (I often am when setting off on a trip) I left slightly later than planned so as not to disturb ‘the missus’ who’s not been sleeping too well recently.

The view across the Clader Valley as I slogged up the hill to Halifax this morning.

So, I’m now on a heroically late 07:52 Blackpool – York service. A signal fault en-route meant this 3-car Class 195 didn’t depart until 08:35, 42 minutes late! Still, it’s warm and not too crowded, so I’ve bagged a table to set up the mobile office and begin blogging. Let’s see how the rest of the journey goes…

‘Delay repay’ anyone?

09:30.

And relax! I’m now on an LNER ‘Azuma’ service to Kings Cross. This 10-car train originated in Bradford and it’s certainly busy. Most of the remaining empty seats are reserved for later in the journey so I expect it to be packed by the time it arrives in London. Still, I’ve blagged a table as far as Grantham so I can have a breakfast roll (or ‘teacake’ if you’re from Yorkshire, ‘barmcake’ if from Lancashire) and enjoy watching the world flash by the window whilst I do.

09:50.

We’re pulling out of Doncaster where dozens of people crammed into my coach, so I guess my guess this train will be full by London’s come true earlier than expected. Three bays are reserved from Grantham, which will come as a surprise to the people who’ve occupied the seats and not noticed! If the large group who’ve made the reservations turn up this could be fun! I’ll be gone by then as I’m moving to the other unit as soon as we arrive!

10:30.

My Grantham set-swop proved to be a wise choice. There was a big party of elderly people waiting to join us when we pulled in. Whilst it’s not unusual for individual reservations to be unused, such a big grouping is normally taken up. I can only imagine the chaos in the car when they descended on their reserved seats! I was long gone, having skipped into the rear set as soon as we arrived. There were far less reservations here and I managed to secure a table seat opposite a young lady busily bashing keys on her laptop. I’s say the rear set’s about 70% full, which makes for decent loadings when the front set’s jammed. And we haven’t stopped at Stevenage yet – where I’m going to bail out again, this time to catch a Thameslink service down to Farringdon. The cross-platform interchange here saves mucking around walking through two mainline stations and sets of ticket barriers at Kings Cross and St Pancras.

I’ve not traversed the ECML in daylight for a while, so I was surprised to see how many fields are flooded – a testament to all the heavy rain we’ve had in the North. Combined with the blue skies we’ve got today it would have made ideal conditions for lineside photography and reflection shots. Ho hum!

15:00.

Sorry for the gap but I’ve been busy. I’m now in the leafy Thames Valley (yep, even this time of year the trees are hanging on to their fiage). Getting here was fun. My Thameslink connection worked well so I was at Farringdon in no time. Then it was a fast walk down steps and escalators to get to the “Lizzie line” and a train Westwards to Paddington. Considering Crossrail has only been open a few months the passenger loadings are excellent.

Whilst I could’ve got a train straight through idecided to stop off at Paddington for a while – just for old times sake as I rarely visit nowadays. When I lived in London it was an old haunt as it was the gateway to the Thames valley, where we often went cycling, or further trips to the SouthWest.

Thames valley service have changed out of all recognition now. Not only is the route electrified but the GWR services are interspersed with Elizabeth line services that (as the old name implied) cross London, bypassing Paddington.

21:45.

What a fascinating but rather surreal day. Most of it was spent exploring Thames valley rail services which made me appreciate just how much has changed. Nearly all of it’s been for the better, although I mourn the old overall roof at Maidenhead that used to cover the branch line to Marlow. So few of these Great Western features have survived. I ventured West of Reading to catch an electric train to Newbury, which was a first for me. It’s an instructive lesson in how previous Government Ministers and the Dept of Transport have made penny-pinching decisions that make absolutely no sense in the long-term. But long-term isn’t a concept in many politician’s minds. On arrival at Newbury I hung around as the next train back to Reading was 30 mins away. In the meantime passengers from London to Bedwyn (the limit of GWR regional services) had to change to a DMU for the rest of the journey, which takes all of 19 minutes. Madness.

A waste of resources, much?

Now I’m relaxing in my hotel in Reading, editing pictures from today and (half) watching some memory lane TV. Flicking through the channels I discovered the Kenny Everrett video show – a programme I loved which has taken me straight back to my youth which has helped make this trip very much the old football analogy of ‘ a game of two halves’.

I’ve a small favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this or any of the other blogs I’ve written, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course – although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab! – but the revenue from them helps me to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site (which isn’t cheap and comes out of my own pocket). Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website –  https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/

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Thank you!

24th November picture of the day…

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There’s a short blog from me tonight as I’m off on my travels again first thing tomorrow morning. After a busy day picture editing and filing and packing as well as staying out of the torrential showers we’ve had it’s time to curl up with Dawn and a film. But, I will leave you with today’s picture before I go.

Whilst I was at the dentists the other day we got talking about tooth care in different parts of the world. I mentioned a street dentist I’d encountered in India. Everyone was curious, so I called the picture up on my phone (the beauty of having all my pictures on a website). Meet Mr Gurbachan Singh, street dentist and resident of Jaipur, Rajasthan. Well, he was on the 31st October 1991 when I took the picture. Somehow I suspect he’s at best retired, if not expired.

Thankfully, I never required his services! He was a delightful chap to talk to tho’…

Expect a rolling blog tomorrow as I make my way down to Reading where I’ll be based for the next couple of nights, plus blogs on Saturday’s trip out for the Railway Children and my return North on Sunday.

I’ve a small favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this or any of the other blogs I’ve written, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course – although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab! – but the revenue from them helps me to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site (which isn’t cheap and comes out of my own pocket). Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website –  https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/

Or – you can now buy me a coffee! https://ko-fi.com/paulbigland68312

Thank you!

Rolling blog. A dental diversion….

I had to visit my Dentist in Huddersfieldthis morning for a routine check-up and time with the hygenist for a clean and polish. The weather was awful this morning as the valley was blanketed in mist and rain so Dawn very kindly gave me a lift there. I’m one of those rare people who really isn’t bothered by dentists but even so, it was good to hear my teeth and gums are in excellent shape!

I didn’t bother taking the camera bag as I doubted I’d need it. Instead I only brought the D5 and 50mm lens, so I was kicking myself when I left the dentists to find the sun had broken through, leaving the day looking very different indeed. After walking into the town centre I decided to take the scenic way home via Manchester and caught a TPE service to Stalybridge where I could catch a local train to Manchester Victoria. Sadly, the good weather didn’t last. My arrival into ‘Stalyvegas’ coincided with another wet weather front so I didn’t hang around.

My Staly’ steed was one of Northern’s ‘new’ Class 156s cascaded from East Midlands Railway. Repainted on the outside, it still carries EMT seat mocquette.

Traversing the line via Ashton-under-Lyne I noticed something I hadn’t seen before. Progress with electrifying the line has reached the stage where contact wire runs have started appearing.

14:00.

My time in Manchester was brief, just long enough to grab a couple of shots whilst changing trains.

TPE’s 802206 about to head in the direction I’ve just come from…

Now I’m heading back across the Pennines to home – hoping to avoid a soaking in the process! This time my steed’s a busy 2-car class 195 bound for Leeds via Bradford Interchange. I was rather surprised to see it so busy on a Wednesday afternoon, but then you never know on this line. The train remained busy all the way to Halifax, where I abandoned it to walk home, braving the chance of a downpour.

Ready for the off. 195018 working solo as the 13:55 from Manchester Victoria – Leeds via Bradford Interchange.

16:30.

Now I’m back at home for the rest of the day, enjoying the warmth of the office and chance to catch up with some forward planning before another hectic few days, starting on Friday when I travel down to Reading, where I’ll be based for a couple of days. On Saturday I’m volunteering to help the ‘Railway Children’ charity as the Branch Line Society are running a series of Class 315 ‘farewell’ trips between London Liverpool St and Shenfield. Unfortunately, Saturday’s also another day where strikes affect many of the train companies. Thankfully, they don’t affect the Elizabeth line from Reading to Liverpool St. Hence me basing myself there!

I’ve a small favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this or any of the other blogs I’ve written, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course – although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab! – but the revenue from them helps me to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site (which isn’t cheap and comes out of my own pocket). Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website –  https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/

Or – you can now buy me a coffee! https://ko-fi.com/paulbigland68312

Thank you!

More HS2 progress at Old Oak Common.

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It’s a short blog from me tonight as it’s been a long old day and it’s time for bed! This morning I was at the HS2 construction site at Old Oak Common in London to see the Rail and HS2 Minister, Huw Merriman MP, start the new conveyor belt that will carry the London clay being excavated from the HS2 station box across to the former Willesden Eurotunel sidings where the spoil will be removed by rail. Eventually, the 1.7 mile long conveyor system will link three HS2 construction sites to Willesden.

Here’s Huw pressing the button to start the conveyor.

There a whole series of pictures showing construction progress in my dedicated HS2 gallery on my Zenfolio website. You can find them by following this link.

I’ve a small favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this or any of the other blogs I’ve written, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course – although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab! – but the revenue from them helps me to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site (which isn’t cheap and comes out of my own pocket). Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website –  https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/

Or – you can now buy me a coffee! https://ko-fi.com/paulbigland68312

Thank you!

Rolling blog. It’s going to be a long 24 hours…

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22:30

Normally, my rolling blogs would be winding down at this time of day, but this one’s just begun. The reason for that is that my diary has too many back-to-back events in it this week, not helped by timings changing. This evening I had an appointment near Huddersfield which I didn’t want to miss. That was a bit of a bugger as I need to be in London early tomorrow morning for a press event I can’t disclose right now. I’d originally arranged to stay with an old friend in the metropolis, but the times of the press event were moved forward. This meant I wouldn’t have arrived at his gaffe until after midnight, only to leave before 6am! So, having perused various railway timetables, looked at the weather (wet) and considered various options I’m now taking the opportunity to get a few night shots as I make my way South via York.

My first train was a TPE service from Huddersfield, worked by a Class 802. It wasn’t busy. Passengers consisted of students, a few late-finish workers and the odd shoppers who’d been hitting Manchester for a spot of Xmas retail therapy. Our trip to Leeds was easy. I had time to set up the laptop at a spare table and catch up on some work before we arrived. That’s when it got interesting. Our Geordie Conductor came on the PA to announce we’d be taking longer than usual to get to York as we’d be taking ‘the long way’ round via Castleton and Milford Junction – a very unusual route for TPE services and one I’ve not traversed for years. What a shame it was in the dark!

802205 during its layover at Leeds. The fact what should be the front is displaying tail-lights suggests all is not normal.

23:55.

Here I am at York, taking time to relax, charge up my various devices in one of the super-duper waiting shelters whilst watching the trains go by and plan a few photos. I’ve been coming to York station since I was a boy – which feels like a bloody long time ago right now! With the town hosting the National Railway Museum I’ve been here lots of time for various work events too – something I’d never have dreamt of as a kid. Funny how life turns out, isn’t it?

Whilst I’ve been observing the place I noticed these new switch panels laying in the space where the old through tracks used to pass. On closer inspection I noticed something that’s very unusual for the UK but typical in Europe. Can you spot what it is?

08:00.

Sorry for the gap. I fell asleep on the train to London. Here’s my steed at York before we departed. – 91105.

We arrived in London at 07:00. After a brisk walk on a cold morning with clear skies I swapped lines to catch this.

Rolling blog. An impromptu day out…

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10:37.

My original plan to work at home today has been altered by a change in the weather. The forecast for the next few days is lousy but today (so far) has bucked the trend – and the forecast – so I’m heading over to Manchester for a couple of hours in the hope of checking on progress on Trans-Pennine electrification and return clothes I bought from Uniqlo the other day. I’m flattered to say that ‘medium’ size is just too big!

Right now I’m on the train from Sowerby Bridge to Manchester Victoria. It’s a Chester bound service operated by a pair of 2-car Class 195s which is pretty busy for the time of day although I had no problem bagging a table seat to set up the mobile office. This is a lovely time of year to be traversing the Calder valley as the colours in the remaining leaves on the trees are glorious and the low winter light shows them at their most intense. I only hope the sunshine I’m seeing now stays with me. Let’s see. Expect some pictures soon…

11:15.

Neither my luck nor the weather’s held, so it’s time for a different mode of transport to Shank’s pony…

13:50.

That was an interestinginterlude! I caught a couple of trams out to Ashton-Under-Lyme which turned out to be a good idea as the rain persisted until a few minutes after I arrived. The plan was to have a look at progress electrifying the line from Manchester Victoria to Stalybridge. This should have been completed years ago but it was one of the schemes delayed by political dithering. Now it’s well underway. Now, most of the masts and stanchions are in place.

802206 speeds through Ashton-under-Lyme en-route from Liverpool Lime St to Newcastle whilst the masts march towards Stalybridge.

16:00.

I chose to walk between Ashton and Stalybridge in order to check out the views from various bridges on the way. It was an interesting trip as it took me down all sorts of streets I’d never explore otherwise. The area’s a maze of brick-built, late Victorian terrace houses with patches of much wealthier properties. But not all’s well. In the space of a couple of hundred meters I passed three closed pubs. One was derelict, one was ‘closed until further notice’ and the other was up for sale.

I find derelict pubs terribly sad buildings as I can imagine all the happy times people must have had there in the past. They were community centres, but now they’re dying.

I arrived at ‘Stalyvegas’ station just as the rain did, so ended up with a soaking, but I dried out on the train back into central Manchester, where I am now, indulging in my least favourite activity. Shopping!

I’ve a small favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this or any of the other blogs I’ve written, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course – although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab! – but the revenue from them helps me to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site (which isn’t cheap and comes out of my own pocket). Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website –  https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/

Or – you can now buy me a coffee! https://ko-fi.com/paulbigland68312

Thank you!

Rolling blog. Memorials and meandering…

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07:37.

We’ve another misty morning here in West Yorkshire, where little cotton wool clouds cling to the sides of the valley. Not that t matters to me as I’m escaping for the day. Right now, I’m preparing to head down to Sowerby Bridge to catch a train across the Pennines. Let’s see how it goes…

08:18.

Another fun day on the railways. I walked down to Sowerby Bridge in plenty of time to catch the 08:23 to Chester. The service is having a torrid time. The station PIS shows the 07:23 was cancelled and the 09:23 is “delayed”. In contrast, the 08:23 turned up 7 minutes early and is now sat waiting time. Looking on Real Time Trains I see it left Leeds 6 minutes late and looks to have been diverted to run non-stop via Brighouse.

195119 approaches Sowerby Bridge on the Chester service, passing a Leeds bound set.

09:55

After arriving at Victoria I ambled theough central Manchester to Piccadilly. As I passed the gardens I heard a car making an awful racket. Then I saw a young guy driving (as fast as he could) a red hatchback with a smashed and flat front tyre and all the passenger side of the vehicle caved in. A few minutes later I passed this scene…

13:12.

We’ve unveiled the plaque to Paul Abell at Ashburys station in the area of Manchester Paul grew up in. Present were his Widow, Shirley, his sons Brian and Malcom and his daughter Anne. I’ll add more pictures later.

Paul composed this local history board which has been on the station since 2019.
The Abell family with Paul’s plaque. (L-R) Anne, Shirley (Paul’s widow) Brian and Malcolm. The plaque (chosen by the family) depicts one of the engines that used to operate station pilot duties at Manchester Piccadilly and original Manchester tram No 756, which was restored in 1985 and now resides on the Heaton Park tramway.

15:30.

Following the event, we headed off to Guide Bridge station for coffee and sandwiches kindly supplied by TfGM and hosted by Northern in the station offices. On leaving I headed off into the city as an old Network Rail friend was up from London for the day, liaising with stakeholders on forthcoming blockades, so I arranged to catch up with him for an hour before he headed back to London.

Earlier, I had managed to make the most of the sunshine by bimbling along to get a few shots along the notorious railway bottleneck of the Oxford St corridor. Here’s one of them.

15th November picture of the day…

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Half-way through November already, where does the time go? In my case it’s gone very quickly here at Bigland Towers. After our Whitby wandering I’ve spent the past couple of days in the office, which has been no bad thing as the weather has been crap. Most of Monday was spent enveloped in fog, so sitting in my office blogging and picture editing was hardly a hardship. I didn’t even make it out to get my usual 5 mile walk in. Today was very much the same only with the addition of torrential rain. Combined with leaf-fall and Calderdale Council having neglected to clean any drains around here for years the roads turned into streams. So, when I got stir-crazy it was a case of donning the full waterproofs (including gaiters) to venture down to Sowerby Bridge to drop post off and pick up some food shopping.

That apart I’ve had a productive couple of days. There’s been some utter rubbish written about High Speed 2 by two of the usual suspects (Andrew Gilligan and Simon Jenkins) so it’s been great to have time to blog about their nonsense. I’ve also managed to (almost) clear the backlog of picture editing. All the images from my trip to Innotrans in Germany back in September are now on my Zenfolio website. You can find the Dutch railway ones here and the travel images here whilst the German rail ones are here.

Tomorrow I’m venturing out as I’m representing Community Rail Network at a little event to commemorate Paul Abell, the former Editor of Today’s Railways UK and fellow Community Rail Awards judge who passed away suddenly last year. I’d known Paul for several years as one of the small band of railway Journalists who would often meet up on press trips. Then Paul joined me as a Community Rail Awards judge. The pair of us would help judge the shortlist for the Photographic competition. Paul was always a pleasure to work with and never got ruffled by anything. I don’t ever remember him saying anything stronger than ‘Oh – heck!’- despite his service in the Royal Navy and many years as a teacher! No doubt I’ll post some pictures from what transpires tomorrow.

In the meantime, here’s today’s picture, which is taken from my last batch of pictures from Berlin. This looks innocuous, unless you know the history. Here’s the Teufelsberg (Devil’s mountain in English) seen in September 2022 from the roof of one of the halls at the Messe.

Those ‘golf balls’ are part of an abandoned American spybase which was built to listen in on the Russians. It lasted until the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989. The hill it’s standing on? That’s man-made. Rising to over 80 meters it’s constructed from the rubble of West Berlin left after the second world war. All the ruined building were cleared and the remains brought here to construct the hill.

It’s a sobering and very visible reminder of the war.

I’ve a small favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this or any of the other blogs I’ve written, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course – although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab! – but the revenue from them helps me to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site (which isn’t cheap and comes out of my own pocket). Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website –  https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/

Or – you can now buy me a coffee! https://ko-fi.com/paulbigland68312

Thank you!

Simon Jenkins, HS2 and the tunnel that never was…

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It’s not often nowadays that I have the opportunity to fillet so much dishonest and fact-free nonsense about HS2 in the media nowadays, but I’ve been given the rare threat thanks to two people who’ve been writing trash about HS2 for years. Yesterday it was Andrew ‘transcription error’ Gilligan, one of the Tories client journalists who for many years was embedded in the heart of the Tory party as one of Boris Johnson’s coterie.

Today it’s the turn of the dyspeptic Simon Jenkins, whose penned his latest fact-free polemic in the Guardian, which you can find here. It’s up to his usual standard, loads of assertions with no facts to back it up and made-up numbers for the ‘true’ cost of HS2. I’ve examined Jenkins troubled relationship with facts before in this blog.

However, Jenkin’s goes one further than Gilligan and claims that ALL of HS2 should be cancelled immediately – even Phase 1 where construction is well advanced. To support his claim, Jenkins says this;

“A New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, famously halted a rail tunnel under the Hudson river by simply ordering the contractors to fill in the hole”.

There just one teeny problem with this claim. It’s complete and utter bollocks. Jenkins has made it up, and the reality shows Jenkins example of the ARC demonstrates that his idea is short-sighted and stupid in the extreme.

Here’s the reality. Chris Christie does exist. He was the Republican Governer of New Jersey between 2010 and 2018 when he lost to his Democrat challenger. He’d put his hat in the ring for his party’s Presidential nomination, he got nowhere, but Donald Trump did, Christie endorsed him and joined his team, and the rest, as they say, is history.

But what about this tunnel? That didn’t exist. There *were* plans to build one (there still are). Known as ‘Access to the Regions Core’ (ARC) the plan was to build two new tunnels from New Jersey to Manhattan and a new railway station next to Penn Station which was at capacity. The original cost of the project was estimated at $8.7bn. Preparations for building the tunnels began in 2009 with a completion date of 2018, but in 2010 Christie effectively cancelled the project by withdrawing his part of the funding, citing ‘concerns’ about cost overruns. By the time the project was cancelled in October 2010 all that was built was the Palisades ‘tunnel’, an underpass under Tonnelle Ave in North Bergen. Contracts *had* been let for tunnelling, Skanska had won the design and build contract for the full Palisades Tunnel on May 5, 2010, just 5 months earlier but tunnelling proper hadn’t even begun.

That wasn’t the end of the story. The decision was controversial and Christie became embroiled in a series of legal actions over where the money went – especially Federal funding towards the project. The federal government demanded repayment of funding received by New Jersey Transit for the project. After litigation, an agreement was reached where part of the funds were returned while other monies were used on transit-related projects.

That wasn’t the end of the story. Christie’s administration was later investigated and fined $400,00 for diverting funds from the project to subsidise various roads projects. Plus, some of New Jersey’s funds earmarked for ARC were eventually diverted to the state transportation trust, normally funded by a gasoline tax, one of the lowest in the United States. This was believed by many to be a cynical attempt to subsidise motoring by avoiding raising gas tax,

In March 2012, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), a federal agency, published a report entitled Commuter Rail Potential Impacts and Cost Estimates for the Cancelled Hudson River Tunnel Project, which concluded that Christie’s basis for cancellation was a misrepresentation and that he misstated the estimated costs, cost over-runs, and New Jersey’s obligation to pay them (see link)

So, was anything ‘filled in’ as Jenkins claims? No, because the project never really died because it was still needed. This need became ever more evident after 2012’s Hurricane Sandy caused damage to the existing 100 year old rail tunnels which led to flooding of the New York subway. It’s estimated $5bn damage was caused to the rail systems. Some of the completed design and engineering work has been used by Amtrak to develop the Gateway Programme, which will build yes – you’ve guessed it – new tunnels under the Hudson! The Gateway Project was unveiled on February 7, 2011, just 4 months after Christie cancelled ARC.

So, the project Jenkins cites isn’t dead at all. Nothing was filled in and the delays and political shenanigans have cost taxpayers dearly! The original ARC project was budgeted at $10 billion and was due to open in 2018-20. The Gateway programme’s 2022 projected cost of the tunnels and related projects is $16.1 billion.

What Jenkins completely fails to mention is cancelling a project where no main construction works and no Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) were running is a very different kettle of fish to HS2, where the Chiltern tunnels are already over 8 miles long, the Long Itchington Tunnel has one of the 1-mile-long tunnels completed and at West Rusilip there are two more TBMs already boring East into London. Oh, and that’s without the 3.5km long Colne Valley viaduct which is already well underway! Add in all the other civil engineering work along the phase 1 route and we’re talking of 10s of billions already spent or committed. To claim this can just be cancelled or ‘filled in’ is nothing more than idiocy. But then when did Jenkins ever deal in reality when it comes to HS2? The most amusing thing about Jenkins using the Hudson tunnels as an example of how you could scrap HS2 (apart from the fact it was bollocks) is it’s exactly the opposite. It’s a classic example of why you shouldn’t cancel these vital projects and how doing so comes back to bite you on the arse!

Unlike Jenkins US tunnel which was never started much less ‘filled in’. here’s one of the HS2 Chiltern tunnels under construction. This is now over 4 miles long, as is its next door neighbour. The Long Itchington tunnel is half-complete and the West Ruislip tunnels already have two TBMs running. That’s over 9 miles of tunnels bored already…

I’ve a small favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this or any of the other blogs I’ve written, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course – although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab! – but the revenue from them helps me to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site (which isn’t cheap and comes out of my own pocket). Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website –  https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/

Or – you can now buy me a coffee! https://ko-fi.com/paulbigland68312

Thank you!