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The mythtery of how Winsford would benefit from HS2

with 2 comments

This week, the Guardian has ‘attempted to capture the key issues’ about HS2 in a series of articles called ‘HS2: who’s right?‘. How successful this attempt has been, is debatable, however.

Consider, for example, the article titled ‘Northern Powerhouse Rail: backers say HS2 is vital to its success’ (4 Feb 2020).

From this story, one might well get the impression that

  • NPR would create ‘a crucial freight route between the ports of Liverpool and Hull’ and
  • HS2 would ‘free up space for far more local stopping services, as well as freight’ in the north of England. Fast intercity services to London and Birmingham would be ‘removed from the existing mainlines’.

'Northern Powerhouse Rail: backers say HS2 is vital to its success', Helen Pidd, The Guardian, 04 Feb 2020

[Northern Powerhouse Rail: backers say HS2 is vital to its success, Helen Pidd, The Guardian, 4 Feb 2020][…]

To understand how dysfunctional the north’s railways are, Winsford provides a good example. About 33,000 people live in this working-class Cheshire town, built on top of a huge salt mine that provides 50% of the grit used on UK roads each winter. Situated right on the west coast mainline, the busiest mixed-use railway in Europe, Winsford is approximately 30 miles from both Manchester and Liverpool.

But there are no direct trains to Manchester from Winsford. And even during the morning rush-hour there are just two services you would realistically take to get to work for 9am in Liverpool. For most of the day there is one solitary train in each direction per hour – and that’s if they turn up (15% of trains from Winsford were cancelled last month). […]

Of course, HS2 could not mean ‘far more local stopping services, as well as freight’ in the north of England. According to the ‘PFM Assumptions v7.1’ document, it is not envisaged that fast intercity services to London and Birmingham would be ‘removed from the existing mainlines’.

And as far as Winsford is concerned, there would be no change in service levels whatsoever from HS2, or NPR (based on the publicly available information about these schemes).

Winsford station,
Cheshire
Number of trains
to Manchester
per hour, 2020
(weekday)
Number of trains
to Manchester
per hour, with
HS2 phase 2
in operation
(weekday)
Number of trains
to Liverpool
per hour, 2020
(weekday)
Number of trains
to Liverpool
per hour, with
HS2 phase 2
in operation
(weekday)
0 0 1 1

Winsford station in the PFM Assumptions v7.1 document

Written by beleben

February 4, 2020 at 2:43 pm

Posted in HS2

2 Responses

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  1. Gwyn Topham’s regeneration article was nonsense. I think he’s drunk the Kool-Aid.

    Nottingham is losing half its services, whatever the assumptions may say. The fast service is being slowed, while the slow service is being cancelled.
    Even then, they’ll never get shuttle services in/out of Toton to meet all the HS2 trains supposedly stopping there, without doubling the tracks. I doubt there’s room for the shuttle services & the reduced services.

    Mike

    February 4, 2020 at 10:13 pm

  2. […] previously mentioned, the Guardian has this week ‘attempted to capture the key issues’ about High Speed Two in an […]


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