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East Coast upgrades compromised by HS2

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Much of the East Coast Main Line (ECML) is “nearing the end of its design life”, according to Network Rail, and the benefits of ‘Control Period’ investment are “at risk”. However, the value for money of a substantial upgrade to the line seems to be compromised by HS2, judging by the figures in the company’s January 2018 ‘Route Strategic Plan’.

Much of the East Coast Main Line is 'nearing the end of its design life', according to Network Rail

HS2 was sold to politicians on the basis that it would ‘avoid the need for blockades and weekend closures’ on existing lines. But at some point, the ECML existing track and signalling will have to be replaced, and that will entail track closures and disruption. Those unavoidable periods of downtime could be used to implement a 21st century upgrade of the line, vastly increasing its capability. However, because the government wants to move long distance passengers from the ECML to HS2, the economic case for such intervention is not there.

It is a similar situation to the Midland Main Line, where the case for electrification north of Bedford was destroyed by the government’s plan to cajole, or force, long distance passengers to move to HS2. The ‘outer suburban’ electrification to Corby seems to have survived because it was too far gone for transport secretary Chris Grayling to cancel.

Written by beleben

April 20, 2018 at 10:49 am

Posted in HS2, Politics, Railways

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