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HS2 and West Yorkshire, part two

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Part one

James Lewis of West Yorkshire ITA, on BBC Look North

In January 2012, West Yorkshire Metro chairman James Lewis said

[‘Welcome for high speed rail link’, Huddersfield Daily Examiner, Jan 11 2012]

“HS2 will free up capacity on already-busy, existing local rail lines, but it will only be effective if those routes are improved to spread the benefits of the high-speed link across West Yorkshire and the Leeds City Region.

In January 2013, councillor Lewis told BBC Look North, “By taking trains off the existing rail network, we are able to run more local trains as well”.

One might wonder what West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (‘Metro’) knows about

(Q1). The current capacity utilisation on each railway in West Yorkshire
(Q2). How each line’s current capacity utilisation compares with its maximum capacity
(Q3). How the HS2 Y network to Leeds would change items (Q1) and (Q2)
(Q4). What, in engineering and expenditure terms, is meant by “improved routes to spread the benefits of the high speed link across West Yorkshire and the Leeds City Region”‘.

Well, what they know turns out to be: almost nothing.

[WYPTE, December 2012]

A1, A2 and A3. Metro does not hold the information […] requested. Metro’s statement, that [were highlighted in relation to high speed rail], was made in general terms to highlight the very probable capacity benefits that will be released on the classic rail network as a result of HS2. […]

A4. Metro does not hold the information […] requested. However, in broad terms and as set out in Metro’s latest Railplan 7, Metro is seeking to speed up journey times from across West Yorkshire and increase train frequency, as well as provide adequate capacity. […]

Although Metro has not been able to provide the detailed information [required] Metro considers that the above provides the context in which the statement was made.

Written by beleben

February 6, 2013 at 4:25 pm

HS2 and West Yorkshire

with 2 comments

Yorkshire Needs HS2 is a pro-high-speed rail campaign led by Yorkshire local authorities, with a message reminiscent of the West Midlands campaign (Go HS2).

A significant number of the journeys currently made to London and other destinations on the East Coast Main Line, which along its length handles long-distance expresses, local services and freight trains, would be transferred to the HS2 high-speed route.

This would free up the space in the timetable and on track for more, fast, frequent commuter services between Leeds and growing population and business centres such as Wakefield, Sheffield and Doncaster.

Additional capacity would also become available for freight services, particularly fast container trains from the South and East Coast ports to the Midlands and North, thereby helping to reduce the number of lorries on the motorway network.

In HS2 phase one, the new track would run only to Staffordshire, so there would be no effect on capacity in Yorkshire. In phase two, new track would be extended to West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester, and bringing the national total of true HS2 stations to eight or nine.

HS2 Ltd’s scheme appears to comprise parkway-type stations in ‘South Yorkshire’ and the ‘East Midlands’, with only Leeds having a centrally located station. This would probably make the existing network faster for journeys between the central business districts of Sheffield and Leeds, and Nottingham.

Given the existence of alternative routes between Leeds, Doncaster, and Sheffield, it’s hard to see how HS2 would provide a noteworthy capacity uplift on the Yorkshire network. And owing to the paucity of destinations on the Y network, it’s hard to see how conventional intercity services could be cut without reducing connectivity.

Railways in the Leeds Wakefield area, showing a possible Midland Mainline electrified route

Written by beleben

January 3, 2012 at 12:00 am

Trolleybuses in West Yorkshire

with 2 comments

When government funding for a Supertram light rail network in Leeds was rejected for a second time in 2005, the city council decided to pursue a trolleybus system – ‘New Generation Transport‘ (NGT) – instead.

The West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive‘s September 2011 NGT Best and Final Funding Bid gave the following details.

• 14.3km network serving North and South Leeds;
• South route (4.5km): city centre to Stourton Park & Ride;
• North Route (9.1km): city centre to Bodington Park & Ride and on to Holt Park; and
• North-South city centre link (0.7km).
• Operated by electrically powered trolleybuses operating at a six minute headway during core hours of operation.

• Approximately 56% segregation from general traffic;
• 6.1km of which is new NGT-only route where NGT is 100% segregated; and
• Priority and traffic management measures planned where NGT is mixed with general traffic to ensure adequate levels of reliability

Unfortunately, NGT has the same ‘gold plating’ issues that have afflicted other British transport schemes. However one looks at it, 14 kilometres of trolleybus route is not worth £250 million.

The NGT scheme would leave the vast majority of services operated by diesel buses. To provide environmental benefits, the trolleybus system should have been designed to maximise on-wire coverage of main routes in the city. So NGT is the nearest British equivalent of Nancy‘s tramway sur pneus.

Written by beleben

December 5, 2011 at 6:00 pm