die belebende Bedenkung

Vanity rail projects take funding away from existing railways

with 2 comments

Railways in the north of England have a high cost base, and a low user base. They tend not to provide satisfactory connectivity. But PR-led initiatives like replacing ‘Pacer’ trains are unlikely to change the fundamentals.

Could HS2 or HS3 fix rail travel in the north of England?

Could HS2 or HS3 really fix rail travel in the north of England?

The scale of change required is much greater, but government does not seem to have a plan, or funding, in place. ‘Transport for the North’ seems to be away with the fairies.

Outdated and uncompetitive rail transport in the North: Kirkby station, Merseyside, by Raymond Knapman (Creative Commons)

SDG gave Leeds to Manchester as an example of an existing 'quick, frequent, and comfortable rail journey experience'  but that corridor is the linchpin of the proposed 'HS3' vanity project

SDG gave Leeds to Manchester as an example of an existing ‘quick, frequent, and comfortable rail journey experience’ – but that corridor is the linchpin of the ‘HS3’ vanity project

Written by beleben

October 30, 2016 at 2:30 pm

2 Responses

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  1. If anything like a single economic powerhouse is to grow in the North, it will need two key transport links to be driven east-west through the North’s great economic divide, the Pennine moors. The first is a motorway from south-west Manchester to join the M1 at Sheffield. The second is a classic-compatible fast rail link from Manchester Victoria to Leeds via Rochdale and the M62 corridor (40 miles), with a ditto second stage of 40 miles to connect it south via Mirfield to connect it to an upgraded MML at Sheffield Midland. Each east-west link will need a new main tunnel. HS2 will not do any of this. Nor will its Manchester Piccadilly terminus serve. Worse, if HS2 is built before these east-west ’powerhouse’ links it will leave the UK’s North South Divide wider. See: and

    Michael Wand

    October 30, 2016 at 6:52 pm

  2. The picture illustrates well one element of the resolvable cost-base issues Ormskirk, Bidston, Wigan Wallgate still operated separately from North Western, ’00’s of minutes cost in reversals and trains standing still at Bradford for wont of a connection which could have been built in the city redevelopment, unlocking significant resilience and an open access route to Scotland, and consolidating 2 peripheral stations into a single central entity.

    More radical – but with the railway land available, and possibly the better location roads-wise is a new Warrington Station – moving Bank Quay Northwards and Central to the West. The first move – useful the second move – would be better to keep the connection to the town centre as short as possible. With the good connections already available (with a bike or taxi at Warrington) at Warrington (Liverpool/Manchester) and Wigan (Manchester) WCML journey times to these key cities can be cut by around 30 minutes – now. Imagine the improvement (for all passengers) when combining the stations and the resilience this can build in to the network of alternative routes for engineering blockades etc.

    Of course there are 3 ex-railway cross-Pennine tunnels, plus a substantial route mileage reduced from 4 to 2 or 2 to 1 track (even WCML has a the option to restore a 4-track main line over much or the distance between Preston and Crewe. Building in this flexibility and connectivity offers some major opportunities to fit more paths through, and so much can be delivered incrementally – as the Preston-Bradford (Copy Pit) route, which is now offering the restored Todmorden (Burnley) curve and much faster Burnley-Manchester journeys.

    The offer now to let Leeds deliver a tram-train in place of the trolleybus and Manchester’s plans also considering dual working of a street running ‘tram vehicle’ over existing or revitalised rail routes also unlocks capacity and shares costs for routes that can provide night time freight access.

    Dave H (@BCCletts)

    October 31, 2016 at 12:00 am

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