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HS2 Merseygate

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South Warrington Conservatives: 'HS2 a big win for Warrington'Labour shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle has condemned the “sneaky” downgrading of the proposed HS2 service to Liverpool, according to the Birmingham Post. Its story explained that Liverpudlian travellers would have a ‘high speed’ service only between London and Lichfield, with trains switching to legacy track for the remainder of the journey.

And a new proposed timetable shows that other services have also been quietly downgraded.

Proposed services to Warrington, in Cheshire; Wigan, Greater Manchester; Darlington, County Durham, and York, have all been reduced.
While attention has tended to focus on the prospect of faster journey times between Birmingham and London, with trains running from a new Curzon Street station in Birmingham to London Euston, the economic case for HS2 hinges on plans to create a nationwide network which transforms connections between Midlands and the north as well as London.

In fact, the continued use (after completion of the Y network) of legacy West Coast tracks for Merseyside services is not a novelty; it was part of the February 2011 Y network proposal. However, in the latest round of changes, Warrington, home of HS2 hitman Pete Waterman, appears to have been dumped from the network, and Wigan appears to have only a connection to Birmingham (not London). The February 2011 diagram (below) showed Wigan as a stop on a Glasgow-to-London HS2 service.

HS2 Y network service pattern, as planned in February 2011

It’s worth noting that neither the February 2011 nor the January 2012 proposals have any provision for HS2-enabled services to places such as Stoke-on-Trent, Stockport, or Weaver Vale (whose MP, Graham Evans, is one of the most vociferous supporters of high speed rail).

The real problem with the current HS2 proposal is that its architecture does not permit the supposed objective of “a nationwide network which transforms connections between Midlands and the north as well as London”. There needs to be a fundamental re-think, but the political straitjacket around the current scheme makes this unlikely.

Written by beleben

February 9, 2012 at 4:01 pm

One Response

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  1. We don’t need lots of trains to Liverpool, they can’t afford the train fares!

    Seriously though, I caught a Liverpool train every day for about 6 months in the evening peaks. The majority of the train would leave at Rugby leaving very sparsely populated carriages for the remainder of the journey.

    Liverpool will simply be fine with Virgin’s existing service as barely anyone uses it anyway. The main drivers of traffic on the WCML are BHM and MCR, the 2 main centres that HS2 will be serving


    February 29, 2012 at 1:20 pm

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