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Where is HS3 going?

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In a “keynote speech” in Leeds on 1 June 2015, transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin stated that, ‘building on the concept of High Speed 3 (HS3), the government would progress plans to transform east to west rail connectivity with high-speed services linking Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Newcastle and Hull, radically reducing travel times, increasing frequencies and improving the customer experience’.

British Rail began its new 125mph High Speed Train (HST) service in October 1976

But so far as can be established, Mr McLoughlin’s new “high-speed services” would only run at speeds achieved on a daily basis, on existing lines, since October 1976.

According to The Guardian’s article of 10 January 2012, Britain had just 71 miles [~114 km] of high speed railway, compared with Germany’s 803 miles [~1293 km].

However, most of Germany’s high speed rail mileage is made up of existing track that has been upgraded for higher speeds. The British “71 miles” figure referred only to the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (HS1). If the upgraded existing trackage in Britain were included, the situation would look quite different.

The problem with viewing HS1 as ‘high speed’ is that the entire western section is severely speed-restricted (and most of the trains using it — Class 395 — rarely exceed 200 km/h in service).

gov.uk coverage of Patrick McLoughlin's speech of 1 June 2015

gov.uk coverage of Patrick McLoughlin’s speech of 1 June 2015

Oddly enough, the 2015 Northern Transport Strategy Autumn Report does not seem to mention “high speed”, or “HS3”.

Report Mentions of
‘HS2’
Mentions of 
‘HS3’
Mentions of
‘high speed’
The Northern Powerhouse:
One Agenda, One Economy, One North

(March 2015)
23 1 5
The Northern Transport Strategy: Autumn Report
One agenda. One economy. One North.

(November 2015)
18 0 0
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Written by beleben

December 6, 2015 at 11:30 am

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

One Response

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  1. Isn’t the EC basis for defining a high speed route, one over which the journeys are delivered at an average speed exceeding 100mph? Several UK routes match that already, and are operating a lower speeds than they could be, largely because of the faiklure to deliver the signalling systems which would permit at least 140mph on key sections of WCML and ECML, which already have trains 30 years old built to do those speeds.

    Both ECML and WCML have 2 major but localised speed restrictions, which severely limit the regular delivery of headline times of a 3-3.5 hour journey time to Scotland, although with some concessions trains have got close to 3.6/3.7 hours got the 395/402 miles, even with a 20mph-35mph slack at Carlisle, Preston, Newcastle and York and lesser impact from Morpeth, Motherwell, Stafford, Newark ….plus of course the at grade junctions and axed connections which would allow the flexibility to close the current limited railway and carry out the work whilst still running services.

    Dave H (@BCCletts)

    December 6, 2015 at 1:21 pm


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