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Jim’s got maps and pencils, part two

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Part one

In September 2013, Simon Jenkins was criticised by some HS2 supporters for suggesting that if the stupid project were to go ahead, some sanity could at least be injected by bringing passengers into Old Oak Common and on through Crossrail to Kent (and possibly beyond).

Vague Greengauge 21 proposal for a British gauge link to Kent, Apr 2014Lo and behold, a functionally equivalent scheme (but not using the Crossrail tunnel) is now being promoted by Jim Steer (Greengauge 21). In his oddly titled HS1 – HS2 connection: A way forward‘ (April 2014) Mr Steer did not actually identify the route of a connection between Old Oak Common and Stratford, but said it should be double-track and built to UK rather than Continental gauge.

The Channel Tunnel Rail Link was deliberately designed to avoid population centres like Maidstone, so demand prospects from HS1 Kent to places north of London are likely to be poor. Given that high speed rail is really about making a political ‘statement’ rather than cost-benefit, one might well wonder why there has been no proposal to run British gauge high speed trains via Crossrail, beyond Abbey Wood to Ebbsfleet HS1. Certainly, it would be an absurd misuse of Crossrail capacity, but a paragon of prudence alongside schemes for £3 billion ‘twin-track dedicated links’ and suchlike, favoured by Centro.

Any project based on linking HS1 to anything will run into the unfortunate truth that provision for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link to serve domestic destinations (outside the capital) was an afterthought. A much better cross-London proposition would be to build Crossrail_X2 and run regional trains from north of London to Maidstone, Tunbridge Wells, etc.


Written by beleben

April 2, 2014 at 8:32 am

Posted in High speed rail, HS2, London

One Response

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  1. If a cross-London line was build from Charing Cross to Marylebone (or Paddington), the SER and GW/GC lines could be connected to provide more direct Kent – Birmingham services (similar to the Greengauge map).

    With a single intermediate station at Bond Street, passengers catching the current terminating services would have have better connections than now.


    April 3, 2014 at 9:16 am

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