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HS2 capacity release on the East Coast corridor

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ECMA map

ECMA map

The Consortium of East Coast Main Line Authorities (ECMA), managed by York city council, says it represents councils and Scottish regional transport partnerships throughout the area served by the East Coast Main Line. In July 2014, the Consortium published its manifesto on the economic benefits of investment in the ECML.

[‘Delivering the right schemes for economic growth’, from July 2014 ECMA manifesto]

Network Rail and others in the rail industry are best placed to develop the specific schemes that will be needed to achieve the potential for economic growth identified in our research.

The research shows that the following actions would create the conditions that achieve strong levels of economic growth:

1. Providing eight, long distance, high speed passenger trains each hour from London linking core and intermediate stations together, with nine trains north of Peterborough in the longer term. These trains need to run at 100 mph along the ECML – our “Silver Standard”.

2. Providing through HS2 services in the longer term to Leeds, York, the North East and Edinburgh – our “Gold Standard”.

3. Providing regular direct services to London from places that currently have no or few trains each day to the capital and linking these places to other destinations on the ECML. Bradford, Scunthorpe and Middlesbrough are examples of places that need a regular service to the capital.

4. Providing a new direct passenger service from the north to Cambridge in the longer term, without reducing links between other ECML stations.

5. Improving the quality of the whole journey both on train and at platform, for example by providing 100% mobile connectivity throughout each journey to enable people to work whilst travelling.

6. Improving the movement of freight by completing gauge enhancement work, providing enough capacity for freight trains and connecting the ECML to the Electric Spine to allow more electric haulage to key destinations such as ports, power stations and logistics sites.

ECMA’s prospectus — authored by JMP — proposed substantial but uncosted improvements on the ECML, and an increase in the number of long distance passenger trains.

[ECMA prospectus, 8 September 2014]

If it were possible to increase line speeds above 125mph [200 km/h], for example to 140mph [225 km/h] then investment should be prioritised in the following order:

1. Doncaster – Leeds
2. Hitchin – Peterborough
3. London – Hitchin
4. Peterborough – Newark
5. York – Leeds
6. Newark – Doncaster
7. Doncaster – York
8. York – Northallerton
9. Northallerton – Newcastle
10. Newcastle – Edinburgh

According to HS2 Ltd, its new-build Y network would allow fast intercity trains to transferred away from the ECML, thereby releasing (path) capacity for regional and freight traffic, and avoiding the disruption which would follow from upgrading East Coast.

But clearly, ECMA’s aspirations for the East Coast line are not compatible with those of HS2 Ltd, and the idea that HS2 could take over the intercity role of the ECML has no plausibility. Between Leeds and London, HS2 would not serve a single town on the East Coast corridor.

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Written by beleben

November 3, 2014 at 2:06 pm

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