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‘Fury’, said Tony

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Leeds - Sheffield - Bedford - St Pancras intercity rail conceptThe interim mayor of Greater Manchester, Tony Lloyd, told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme (10 May 2016) that he had heard nothing about plans to remove Manchester Ringway airport station from the proposed HS2 scheme, and said there would be ‘fury’ if reports turned out to have any foundation.

However, he was unable to provide a coherent argument as to why the airport needed HS2, or why HS2 needed to serve the airport. The airport’s catchment area is the north of England, the north Midlands, and north Wales. Surely, it would make more sense to focus on providing western rail access to the airport from Ashley, on the Altrincham to Chester line, to improve connectivity from its own ‘hinterland’.

On April 7, the Beleben blog described the proposed HS2 infrastructure as “the biggest encumbrance to improving rail connectivity in northern England”.  But HS2 is also the biggest encumbrance to the viability of electrification of the under-used Midland Main Line.

The eastern leg of HS2 would provide low quality access to Derby, Nottingham, Sheffield, and most of West Yorkshire. It would make sense to cancel HS2 east and extend Midland Main Line electrification beyond Sheffield, thereby allowing a fast intercity service between Leeds and St Pancras via the Erewash valley.

Suggestions that Manchester Airport has been axed from the HS2 route are ‘unequivocally untrue’ and an ongoing review into HS2 by the Cabinet Office does not have the airport stop within its scope, Manchester council leader Richard Leese said (according to the Manchester Evening News). So, one might ask, what exactly is 'within scope'?

A possible no-HS2 north-south rail service grouping (base diagram by DfT)

Written by beleben

May 10, 2016 at 3:07 pm

Posted in Politics

4 Responses

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  1. a fast intercity service between Leeds and St Pancras via the Erewash valley.
    Would this pass through Toton?


    May 10, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    • Will the current electrification scheme for Midland Mainline (to Sheffield) electrify Erewash Valley & route passenger services past Toton?


      May 10, 2016 at 11:05 pm

  2. In July 2013 HS2 said
    “Given the potential for significant development around an HS2 station at this location, the Government conditionally supports the airport station subject to agreeing a suitable funding package with the airport
    and the wider region in order to deliver a fair deal for the taxpayer.”
    Presumably a suitable funding package has not yet been found for the station and there is no funding for a link between the station and the airport. The government has taken a different line with Birmingham airport.

    It seems unlikely that HS2 would want to convey passengers between the airport and the Manchester terminus station. The 12km tunnel required to access Manchester is shown as having 4 trains per hour each way; 2 from London and 2 from Curzon St, Birmingham. While these trains may be fast they do not stop at intermediate stations so they will be inaccessible to most people wanting to access the airport. Far more benefit could be achieved by Investing in an S-bahn system to serve Manchester, improvements to the existing rail system and the creation of an integrated bus system, like the one in London.

    The direct route from St Pancras to Leeds does pass through Toton but London trains do not use it and it is not included in the MML electrification. It appears that it is considered more important to serve Nottingham and Derby rather than reduce journey time.


    May 11, 2016 at 9:19 am

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