Train speed v. line capacity.

The request was partially successful.

FOI department
DfT

Dear Sirs,

I refer to the Hansard accounts that are cited in the recent article at this link;
https://beleben.wordpress.com/2017/02/28...

The article asserts that Sir David Higgins repeatedly misled parliament by claiming that there was a direct association between train speed and line capacity. In fact, increased train speed diminishes overall line capacity. Faster trains have to be more widely spaced to allow for the increased emergency stopping distance.

I have made an enquiry in this regard to HS2 Ltd. The entirety of that exchange is on line at this link.
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/m...

HS2 Ltd have advised that they do not hold information falling under the terms of that request. I am therefore writing to make a parallel enquiry in respect of the information that might be held by the DfT.

Under the provisions of the Environmental Information Regulations, please provide the information contained in
1. copies of any communications sent subsequently by DfT to either or both of the select committees with regard to the relationship between train speed and line capacity. This would include any apology, clarification or correction in respect of Sir David's oral evidence.
2. copies of the correspondence received, or press coverage held, that would determine when DfT Ltd was first made aware, by external commentary, of this flaw in Sir David's evidence .
3. copies of any communications between HS2 Ltd and DfT that references or relates to this evidence to parliament submitted by Sir David.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Paul Thornton

Department for Transport

Dear Dr Thornton,

I am writing to acknowledge receipt of your request for information which
has been allocated reference number P0014743.

A response will be issued to you in due course.

Regards,

Ivan Pocock
Department for Transport
FOI Advice Team
Information & Security Division
Zone D/04
Ashdown House
Sedlescombe Road North
St Leonards on Sea
East Sussex
TN37 7GA

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highspeedrail, Department for Transport

Dear Dr Thornton,

 

We have been looking at your request FOI14743,  but unfortunately we
require more time and will not be able to submit our response to you yet.

 

We will respond to you as soon as possible, but apologise for any
inconvenience.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Graham Buckley

 

 

Graham Buckley  | , HS2 Communications, Department for Transport
3/13 |  0207 944 2167 (x2167) | 07766 133561
 

___

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Freedom of Information Section
Department for Transport

Dear Sirs,

I refer to an email of the 10th May 2017 from Mr Buckley of the HS2 communications section of the DfT, ref FOI14743. It advises that the DfT are not responding within the timescale required as a maximum by the Environmental information Regulations. It is difficult to conceive that the requested information is either voluminous or complex such that EIR Regulation 7(1) might reasonably be engaged. Clarification and substantiation in that regard is essential. Mr Buckley's email does not fulfil the requirement to be as specific as possible in explaining the reasons for the delay and provides no indication of when the information is to be sent.
Yours faithfully,

Dr Paul Thornton

FOI-ADVICE-TEAM-DFT, Department for Transport

Dear Dr Thornton,

Thank you for your email of the 11th May re: your information request.

To explain, we are not claiming an extension of time under the legislation. Unfortunately our response is late. We aim to respond to all information requests within 20 working days however on this occasion our searches have taken longer than anticipated. We will respond to you as soon as possible. Please accept my apologies for this slight delay.

Regards,

Ivan Pocock
FOI Advice Team, Group Commercial Services Directorate

Department for Transport
D/04, Ashdown House
Sedlescombe Road North,
St Leonards on Sea, TN37 7GA

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highspeedrail, Department for Transport

3 Attachments

 

Dear Dr Paul Thornton

 

Please find attached a response to your FOI request FOI F0014743.

 

Many thanks.

Graham Buckley

 

 

 

[1]cid:image001.png@01D2CDAA.8E6DCA60          High Speed Rail Group 

3/11-15, Great Minster
House
33 Horseferry Road,
London, SW1P 4DR
[2]Follow us on twitter
@transportgovuk 

 

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25 May 2017
For the attention of :
Mr David Coles C.Eng, FICE
Deputy Director,
Technical Strategy
High Speed Rail Group
By email
Your reference F0014743
Dear Mr Coles,

Thank you for your letter of the 17th May 2017

You have provided a summary of the claimed justification for construction of a high speed line rather than a conventional rail line. I am also familiar with the more detailed material in the documents that you referenced. However, those arguments only have credence if one accepts the direct relationship between line speed and passenger capacity per day that was incorrectly claimed by Sir David Higgins before the select committees.

In response to the third component of my request, you have provided a copy of this email from Mr Andy Taylor, Head of Public Affairs for HS2, of 17 November 2014 which included his immediate “précis” of the select committee hearing.

In respect of the subject of my enquiry, Mr Taylor documents the relevant exchange slightly differently to the official record. While Mr Taylor is correct that there was no filming of the hearing, there is an audio record, at this link.

http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index...

Mr Taylor's email rather compounds the error made by Sir David Higgins. He attributes to him the claim that “a train traveling at 220mph carries nearly double the number of people per day than a 125 mph train.”
That the Head of Public Affairs for HS2 has noted and disseminated this claim within HS2 and to senior DfT staff without comment or correction suggests either a deliberate strategy to mislead or a lack of grasp of a fundamental argument by yet another senior member of the HS2 organisation.

I note that your reply does not provide your authorative professional endorsement of the evidence as articulated by Sir David. It would be helpful if you would take the opportunity to confirm that in fact the capacity of a railway line diminishes as the speed increases contrary to Sir David’s evidence.

I note your confirmation that the DfT have not communicated with the select committees to clarify or correct the testimony submitted by Sir David Higgins. Will you be doing so now? Otherwise, it is clearly in the public interest to determine when, and by whom, a decision was made not to correct or clarify the information that had been provided to the select committees.

This erroneous evidence has been the subject of previous EIR requests and/or complaints to HS2 Ltd. The participation of DfT in the preparation of the responses is highly likely. Particularly, the involvement of Mr David Prout is documented here

https://beleben.wordpress.com/2017/03/29...

Questions 2 and 3 of my original enquiry should therefore have had the effect of a “meta request”* in respect of those enquiries or complaints. I am therefore writing to request a review, under the provisions of the EIRs, of the claim that no further information is held by DfT that falls under the terms of my request.

A full history of my information request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/t...

Yours sincerely,

Dr Paul Thornton

* https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...

FOI-ADVICE-TEAM-DFT, Department for Transport

Dear Dr Thornton,

I am writing to acknowledge receipt of your request for an internal review of our decision notice F0014743. We aim to respond to you on or before the 22nd June 2017.

Regards,

Ivan Pocock
FOI Advice Team, Group Commercial Services Directorate

Department for Transport
D/04, Ashdown House
Sedlescombe Road North,
St Leonards on Sea, TN37 7GA

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highspeedrail, Department for Transport

1 Attachment

 

Dear Dr Thornton,

 

Thank you for your 24^th May 2017 request for an internal review of the
FOI response you were sent on 17^th May 2017 from the Department for
Transport (‘the Department’). Please see attached a response from David
Coles in relation to the points you raised about the relationship between
speed and capacity. We have dealt with this issue separately as we
consider that it falls outside the scope of the internal review.

 

The internal review is being conducted by a Senior Civil Servant within
the Department who was previously involved with your case and the outcome
will be communicated to you as soon as possible. The Department needs to
consult with a third party about the possible release of emails, which
unfortunately means we have been unable to conclude the Internal Review
within 20 working days. I will update you by 6th July 2017.

 

Thank you for your patience.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

HSRG Communications team

 

 

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highspeedrail, Department for Transport

1 Attachment

Dear Dr Thornton,

 

Please see the corrected email below. Crucial point is the internal review
is being conducted by a Senior Civil Servant within the Department who was
not previously involved with your case. Our apologies for the
typographical omission.

 

 

 

Thank you for your 24^th May 2017 request for an internal review of the
FOI response you were sent on 17^th May 2017 from the Department for
Transport (‘the Department’). Please see attached a response from David
Coles in relation to the points you raised about the relationship between
speed and capacity. We have dealt with this issue separately as we
consider that it falls outside the scope of the internal review.

 

The internal review is being conducted by a Senior Civil Servant within
the Department who was not previously involved with your case and the
outcome will be communicated to you as soon as possible. The Department
needs to consult with a third party about the possible release of emails,
which unfortunately means we have been unable to conclude the Internal
Review within 20 working days. I will update you by 6th July 2017.

 

Thank you for your patience.

Yours sincerely,

 

HSRG Communications team

 

 

 

From: highspeedrail
Sent: 23 June 2017 17:07
To: '[FOI #399771 email]'
<[FOI #399771 email]>
Subject: Follow up - Freedom of Information Request – F0014743

 

 

Dear Dr Thornton,

 

Thank you for your 24^th May 2017 request for an internal review of the
FOI response you were sent on 17^th May 2017 from the Department for
Transport (‘the Department’). Please see attached a response from David
Coles in relation to the points you raised about the relationship between
speed and capacity. We have dealt with this issue separately as we
consider that it falls outside the scope of the internal review.

 

The internal review is being conducted by a Senior Civil Servant within
the Department who was previously involved with your case and the outcome
will be communicated to you as soon as possible. The Department needs to
consult with a third party about the possible release of emails, which
unfortunately means we have been unable to conclude the Internal Review
within 20 working days. I will update you by 6th July 2017.

 

Thank you for your patience.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

HSRG Communications team

 

 

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highspeedrail, Department for Transport

 

Dear Dr Thornton,

 

Further to our email to you of the 23^rd June 2017 on your case FOI
F0014743, we have been consulting with a third party about the possible
release of emails and this process needs more time. I will update you
again by 14th July 2017.

 

We understand that you are awaiting the response on the internal review
and are doing all we can to get this to you.

 

Thank you for your patience.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

HSRG Communications Team

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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highspeedrail, Department for Transport

2 Attachments

Dear Dr Thornton,

 

Please see attached the response from the Department on the internal
review of your FOI case F0014743 and document of released emails linked to
the internal review (Annex A).

 

Thank you for your patience in awaiting this response.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

 

HSRG Comms Team

 

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