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Mein Umschlags-Kampf

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David HigginsAfter months of struggle with HS2’s “funding envelope”, HS2 superhero tsar David Higgins “will spark fresh controversy on Monday when he sets out details of his recommended route and stations for the Northern half of the controversial £50 billion HS2 line”, the Daily Mail’s Ray Massey reported (24 Oct 2014).

[“High speed rail ‘tsar’ to spark fresh controversy with new HS2 route and stations recommendations”, DM, 24 October 2014]

On the Eastern leg from Birmingham, Sir David is expected to favour an East Midlands hub at Toton Sidings between Derby and Nottingham. Conservative MP Anna Soubry had expressed fears that a council house-building plan might have scuppered this.

A bit of a surprise, if that is true. It is possible that the idea of re-siting the East Midlands hub station to Breaston was leaked, to gauge reaction. Reaction was generally negative, so the cost savings might have to be found somewhere else.

[DM] It is also expected that Sir David will recommend and confirm that the existing station in Leeds should be extensively revamped to provide a new Northern high speed terminal for the Eastern leg of HS2. This would also be a central ‘hub’ for the planned East West ‘HS3’ line from Liverpool to Hull via Leeds and Manchester.

That would also be a surprise, if the reconstruction of Leeds City was to permit captive (Continental gauge) HS2 trains into the station. On the other hand, it could mean the laughable idea of buying captive trains has finally been ditched.

[DM] However sources were keen to play down the amount of detail that would be forthcoming, insisting that there would be broad outline proposals and strategic objectives rather than an ‘inch-by-inch’ route map for the £21 billion second phase of HS2. They also stressed that it would ultimately be up to political leaders to accept or reject his recommendations.

No surprise there. Mr Higgins’ previous opus, HS2 Plus, suggested he doesn’t do detail, nor does he do much in the way of explanation. The presentation of ‘Mein Umschlags-Kampf’ on Monday is likely to be heavily news- managed, and it remains to be seen whether any media interviewers will ask, or be able to ask, the right questions.

A map of population densities between Liverpool and Hull shows the inutility of spending large amounts on new-build track between those cities

A map of population densities between Liverpool and Hull shows the inutility of spending large amounts on new-build track (‘HS3’) between those cities

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Written by beleben

October 24, 2014 at 8:34 pm

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

2 Responses

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  1. The map may indeed indicate the likely cost and inutility of new-build track (‘HS3′) between Liverpool and Hull (200 miles), but 40 miles of new-build track between Manchester Victoria and Leeds would cut through the economic barrier of the Pennines and join up an east-west Northern Cities Crossrail that served all four stations and a very big northern economy:

    http://hsnorthstart.wordpress.com/

    Michael Wand

    October 24, 2014 at 11:01 pm

  2. It is possible that the idea of re-siting the East Midlands hub station to Breaston was leaked, to gauge reaction. Reaction was generally negative
    I found the reaction positive: the cost savings of avoiding tunneling under the airport & the proposed freight depot, of easier connection to the Nottingham-Derby railway. The only drawback being the floodplain, but there are plenty of flood defences in the area which could be extended. The area is as well connected in terms of road, rail, tram & airport as Toton and has more green belt land for development. (All the development at Toton will be on green field green belt. There are no plans to redevelop the freight depot. The airport is mainly freight. There’s no synergy with passenger-only HS2.)
    An independent poll of some 500 Toton residents found four-fifths against HS2 and that’s when they’ve only heard HS2’s side of the argument. It’s only the local politicians that are supporting HS2.

    Mike

    October 25, 2014 at 10:38 am


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