beleben

die belebende Bedenkung

Meet or move towards

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Transport for the North has commissioned Network Rail and HS2 Ltd ‘to identify options to meet, or move towards meeting the Northern Powerhouse Rail vision‘.

Northern Transport Strategy, Autumn 2015, ludicrous aspirational rail journey times

[from The Northern Transport Strategy: Autumn Report, Transport for the North, November 2015]

We have commissioned Network Rail and HS2 Ltd to identify options to meet, or move towards meeting the NPR vision. They are now carrying out a series of studies to establish the scale of investment that each option would require. This includes looking at making use of the HS2 network where possible, upgrading existing routes, and the construction of brand new railway lines. We are also assessing the investment needed within cities, both at stations and on cross-city routes, to enable the fast through journeys that will make up a coherent network rather than a series of point-to-point links.

Emerging findings from this work show that entirely new lines, or in some cases major bypasses and cut-offs, may be needed to deliver the connectivity vision in full, and we are developing these route options. In certain locations, HS2 will play a part in delivering the transformational NPR vision. On the existing network, express, semi-fast, local and freight services run on the same, often two-track railway, limiting its capacity to deliver transformational changes in speed or frequency. We are also increasing our understanding of the major challenges in meeting aspirations for NPR at some city centre stations.

Between Liverpool and Manchester, there may be the potential to use the proposed HS2 infrastructure to cover approximately half the distance between the two cities. Our initial work indicates such an option would also require a new line from Liverpool to the proposed HS2 route, as we have found little or no scope to achieve our vision for journey times and frequencies through incremental upgrades to the existing rail routes. Such a new line could also permit faster HS2 services between Liverpool and London.

On routes between Manchester and Leeds and Manchester and Sheffield, our work so far suggests that very significant sections of new line would be needed to achieve the vision for journey times and service frequencies. However, if provided, these could free up capacity for additional local passenger services, better serving key intermediate centres and rail freight. The proposed HS2 route offers significant potential to provide a fast link between Leeds and Sheffield.

For Newcastle and Hull, packages of upgrades to existing lines, electrification, and faster trains could improve journey times and service frequencies between the North East and Humber areas and the rest of the North. We are exploring the potential to make more intensive use of the HS2 eastern leg connection to the East Coast Main Line to address the key constraint of line capacity east of Leeds, as well as options on the East Coast Main Line to Newcastle and routes to Hull.

Liverpool - Manchester high speed rail: how much quicker than the existing Chat Moss railway?

Liverpool – Manchester high speed rail: how much quicker than the existing Chat Moss railway?

Manchester Piccadilly HS2 dead endNeedless to say, extending HS2 into Liverpool would cost billions, and the potential journey time saving over the existing Chat Moss route for travel to Manchester would be minimal, especially if trains stopped at the poorly-sited Manchester Airport HS2 station. Furthermore, Manchester Piccadilly HS2 has been designed as a dead-end, which is obviously very awkward for notions of running trains from the Mersey to the other side of the Pennines.

Given the need to fix all the antiquated and unsatisfactory transport infrastructure in the North, it is astonishing that money is being frittered away on nonsense schemes like this.

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Written by beleben

December 1, 2015 at 5:56 pm

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

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8 Responses

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  1. I can’t imagine that any government would sanction several billion pounds to cut a few minutes from the Liverpool journey-time, nor is it conceivable that the suggested Liverpool-link would offer any advantages over the Chat Moss route – except insofar as Manchester airport is concerned. Sadly, it seems inevitable that the most Liverpool can expect will be some minor improvements at Lime Street and (if it’s lucky) some upgrading of the WCML between Crewe and Runcorn. Ultimately, Liverpool needs to focus on those issues where it can appeal to common-sense; namely the lack of capacity on its proposed HS2 service and the lack of a fast service to Birmingham (or indeed anywhere other than London). It is, and will continue to be, the worst-connected of England’s core cities.

    matthew jones

    December 2, 2015 at 8:56 pm

  2. “Sadly” it seems that some can’t seem to stick the notion of Liverpool being given any kind of competitive boost, is probably more like it.

    The cost of the Manchester spur, with its delta junction and 7.5 mile tunnel is less than £2bn (source HS2 Ltd). So, on what basis is it assumed that a HS3/HS2 spur to Liverpool, which would require only minimal tunnelling, would cost several billions. Far less than £2bn with a positive, worthwhile BCR, would seem more like it. And in so doing genuinely freeing up space on the west coast mainline north of Crewe for additional freight and passenger movements, and transforming the connectivity of one of UK’s cities with massive untapped economic potential, connecting it at high speed to Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, and London. And potentially Scotland.

    Compared to a tunnel under the Pennines or the route to Scotland, Liverpool is small change, especially at much below £2bn.

    If there is a HS2 related grip about Liverpool, it surely is that it wasn’t hooked up in the first place.

    Mark

    December 2, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    • The decision to route HS2’s western leg via Crewe seems to have been taken so as to allow trains to run on the classic track into Piccadilly, if the high speed spur becomes unaffordable. Neither the spur, nor the entire western leg of HS2 Phase Two, has a published benefit-cost ratio; there is only a BCR for Phase Two taken as a whole. For most of the day, only 200-metre long HS2 trains would run into Piccadilly. In the view of the Beleben blog, the Manchester spur would cost much more than £2 billion, and the net benefit would be negative.

      The cost of civils for a HS2 Merseyside spur would depend on the location of the Liverpool terminus. Accommodating 400-metre trains at Lime Street would require very substantial expenditure.

      beleben

      December 3, 2015 at 12:05 pm

      • Quite true. Indeed the whole BCR of HS2 is probably overstated because it seems unlikely that HS2 will be able to run anything like 18 trains-per-hour south of Birmingham unless line-speeds are reduced. Even at 140 mph, 18 TPH would be extremely challenging given the complexity of the layout. It’s difficult to escape the conclusion that some painful decisions will have to be made in terms of who gets services and at what speed!

        matthew jones

        December 3, 2015 at 12:54 pm

      • There is nothing I can see anywhere to indicate that the published cost of the Manchester tunnel is incorrect, given the contents and distance of the spur, and the cost seems completely in line with costs for tunnels seen elsewhere. Additionally, accommodating 400 metre trains at Liverpool Lime Street is no more expensive than doing same at Leeds or Manchester, particularly when considering the comparative ease at which the line can be threaded through with minimal tunnelling, emerging shortly after descent into new or expanded portals at Lime Street station (through material that presented no significant difficulty to those excavating for lines built for the world’s first intercity line many many years ago using technology far less superior to that available today). The Manchester spur is most likely to come in at or around the costs published for the reasons given, and a Liverpool spur will absolutely be deliverable for less than this further still. I also do not think it correct that a BCR is only available for phase two as a whole, having at the very least seen in the past a BCR for the Leeds line.

        When coupled with the cheaper Liverpool line (which does have a positive case on its own), I think it is likely that the Manchester spur will also have a positive case.

        Mark

        December 3, 2015 at 9:37 pm

      • There is nothing I can see anywhere to indicate that the published cost of the Manchester tunnel is incorrect, given the contents and distance of the spur, and the cost seems completely in line with costs for tunnels seen elsewhere.

        Which ‘tunnels seen elsewhere’ are you referring to?

        I also do not think it correct that a BCR is only available for phase two as a whole, having at the very least seen in the past a BCR for the Leeds line.

        Perhaps you’d be kind enough to provide the link to the HS2 Ltd document showing the BCR for the Leeds line.

        When coupled with the cheaper Liverpool line (which does have a positive case on its own)

        Where is the evidence that the Liverpool line has a “positive case on its own”? How much “cheaper”, in £, is the Liverpool line?

        Additionally, accommodating 400 metre trains at Liverpool Lime Street is no more expensive than doing same at Leeds or Manchester, particularly when considering the comparative ease at which the line can be threaded through with minimal tunnelling, emerging shortly after descent into new or expanded portals at Lime Street station

        I’ll look forward to seeing your map, or any map, of the ‘comparative easy route with minimal tunnelling’.

        beleben

        December 4, 2015 at 10:19 am

  3. Surely some computer wizz kids could produce a computer simuator that would be able to test just how realistic it is to expect to be able to run 18 trains per hour south of Birmingham at speeds up to 360kph with a moving average annual delay of 30sec at destination. (Dec 2014 HS2 Development Agreement with SoS)
    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/389368/HS2_development_agreement__December_2014_.pdf
    Does anyone know if this was signed? There is lots in the DA which could keep lawyers rich keeing it up to date.

    johnma

    December 3, 2015 at 7:28 pm

  4. Better to focus on the improving (i.e. electrifying) of the four existing 4 Liverpool to Manchester routes. North of Chat Moss (ex-LNW) is the ex-L&Y line that is split at Kirby (see beleben’s well used photo) while to the south are the ex-Cheshire Lines route (via Warrington) and the ex-LNW freight route (closed in the 1980s) via Warrington and Altrincham (which could provide a more direct route to Manchester Airport).

    richie40

    January 12, 2016 at 2:07 pm


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