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HS2 cannot deliver for railfreight

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Aw, not that 'HS2 North - South railfreight baloney again?'According to HS2 Ltd

[HS2 Ltd]

Though rail freight would not use HS2 directly, the capacity released by migration of passengers onto a new high speed line would at least mean more rail freight could be moved on the major north-south routes (and the WCML in particular).

In a statement dated 29 October 2013, transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin claimed HS2 could provide space for at least an extra 20 freight paths.

But according to Baroness Kramer, “by transferring long distance passengers to HS2, there is a possibility of up to 20 additional freight paths on that same congested set of lines” [the WCML].

Is the HS2 rail freight uplift ‘at least 20 paths’, or ‘up to 20 paths’ a day’? In either case, the evidence suggests HS2 is no answer to satisfying North — South railfreight requirements.

For example, TfL’s 2007 Rail Freight Strategy gave the following requirements forecasts for the period 2016 to 2026.

TfL / Mayor of London Rail Freight Strategy extract, showing forecast need for additional West Coast freight train paths between 2016 and 2026

TfL / Mayor of London Rail Freight Strategy extract, showing forecast need for additional West Coast freight train paths between 2016 and 2026

And according to the Liverpool 20 Miles More campaign


Rail freight has been growing rapidly, and total demand is expected to grow by 93% between 2011 and 2033. By 2020 the Liverpool City Region is expected to require around 80 trains per day to accommodate freight requirements

This is an increase of around 400% on the current 20 or so trains per day. This number of daily freight trains is greater than the total number of passenger trains per day anticipated by HS2 Ltd between the City Region and London and Birmingham (72 trains per day). Around 75% of these movements are anticipated to travel south on the WCML.

Freight capacity between Seaforth and the South is effectively limited to availability of paths on the Chat Moss line between the Olive Mount Chord and Newton-le-Willows and the WCML between Warrington and Crewe. The Northern Hub electrification will intensify completion for paths with increased passenger services on the Chat Moss Line post 2018.

Unlike a dispersed upgrade-based strategy like RP6, HS2 simply cannot deliver for railfreight.

Written by beleben

February 7, 2014 at 12:21 pm

Posted in Freight, HS2, London

2 Responses

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  1. […] HS2 released capacity ‘delivered‘ 20 additional freight paths on the West Coast Main Line, the effect on total heavy goods […]

  2. […] High Speed 2 (HS2) will improve connections between the North and South and between northern cities. It can be a key element in Ed Miliband’s Agenda 2030 plan to create an economic recovery that reaches every part of our economy. Freeing up capacity on the congested West Coast Main Line will allow more frequent commuter and regional services and more rail freight. […]

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