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Amelioration of West Coast maintainability

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According to its backers, one the reasons HS2 is ‘needed’, is the difficulty of maintaining the existing West Coast Main Line (due to the intensity of traffic).

But how HS2 would reduce intensity of traffic — or make West Coast more maintainable — has never been explained. Consider, for example, Professor Andrew McNaughton’s 2015 presentation of ‘before and after’ traffic on the route [below]).

Andrew McNaughton's presentation of 'before and after HS2' passenger traffic on the West Coast route (2015)

One way of improving maintainability on West Coast’s busiest (London to Rugby) section would be to divert trains on weekends, when the number of people travelling is lower. At present, re-routeing possibilities are limited, because of infrastructure shortcomings.

WCML weekend diversion concept using new build connections (Watford - St Albans City and Bedford - Northampton)

WCML weekend diversion concept using new build connections (Watford – St Albans City and Bedford – Northampton)

On occasion, the Chiltern line has been used as a diversionary route during WCML works, but capability is restricted by lack of electrification and modern signalling. With the right investment, the Midland Main Line could also be suitable as a diversionary route. One possibility would be to upgrade and connect the Watford Junction — St Albans Abbey branch line into the Midland south of St Albans City.

St Albans, Midland to West Coast Main Line connection concept

St Albans, Midland to West Coast Main Line connection concept (Beleben)

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Written by beleben

June 22, 2015 at 8:23 pm

Posted in HS2, Planning, Railways

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