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‘Defaffinating’ northern rail

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Although it is not true to say that rail lines on the prime routes are already dominant in those transport corridors, concentration on expanding the existing large traffic flows, such as London – Birmingham, London – Manchester, London – Leeds, etc will not achieve a major modal shift – mainly because rail already has a significant slice of the market on those routes which, by themselves, do not constitute the majority of passenger travel in the UK (noted Professor Roger Kemp in his paper ‘Scope for reduction in transport CO2 emissions by modal shift’).

However, this idea of “expanding the existing large traffic flows” lies at the heart of the proposed HS2 railway. Another fundamental problem with HS2 is its inability to free up (or create) more capacity for local travel in conurbations like Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, and Nottingham.

Roger Kemp. 'Scope for reduction in transport CO2', Manchester - Leeds example

‘Northern powerhouse rail’ is supposed to reduce the rail journey time between Manchester and Leeds by spending billions of pounds on a new line, but as Professor Kemp noted, the existing weekday service is four ‘reasonably fast’ trains per hour.

The problem is generally not the in-vehicle time on the intercity portion of such trips, but the ‘faff’ and unreliability associated with real point-to-point travel, which doesn’t start and finish at big-city ‘hauptbahnhof’ stations.

Sadly, these facts are completely lost on many northern and London politicians, and public sector bodies like Transport for the North.

Written by beleben

August 26, 2019 at 9:12 am

One Response

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  1. Of course that other detail is the lack of knowledge – even of experts like Professor Kemp, and the added stupidity of not connecting a massive trip generation location such as Salford Quays with direct connections to those Cross-Pennine routes. A high capacity 4 platform station replacing the part-time MUFC (MUF) which doesn’t even appear in the regular timetables, would be a short walk from Salford Quays, or an interchange at Cornbrook (trams to Eccles, Media City, Airport, and Trafford Park), or restoring a rail line through from the Cheshire Lines Committee route to Liverpool via Warrington to the 1830 L&M route via Newton le Willows.

    Smart folk however cycle, 15-20 minutes to Manchester Victoria* for the fastest trains to Leeds, or the fast service via Bradford from Victoria, which actually stops at New Pudsey rather than catching a train back. *Or the shorter distance to Salford Crescent if the train stops there. Bike hire in Manchester = £3.50/day – with these bikes I’ve done equivalent of City Hall Manchester to City Hall London in 2.5 hours DOOR TO DOOR.

    Most recently I’ve done Salford Quays to Oxford Road (11 minutes – to platform) and made my connection, to Glasgow – comfortably by 8 minutes.

    d9015

    August 26, 2019 at 1:02 pm


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