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Posts Tagged ‘Superlink

HS2 rhyme or reason

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The policy on deciding where Britain’s high speed trains should stop is even more confused after the January 28 report on extending the proposed High Speed 2 railway northwards (wrote Private Eye’s ‘Doctor B Ching’, 8 Feb 2013).

Plans for the first section omitted any HS2 stops between London and Birmingham. The area around Oxford and Milton Keynes was deemed too insignificant for an HS2 stop, yet the new proposals shower the northwest with HS2 stops including Runcorn, Chester and Penrith. Meanwhile in the east, even Sheffield and Nottingham apparently don’t justify HS2 services from their central stations, and HS2 will ignore Bradford, Yorkshire’s fastest-growing city.
Last week’s report concedes that not every HS2 train must go to or from London (as the Eye has long argued) and warms to trains from HS2 continuing to the continent via a link in north London between HS2 and HS1 (the London – Channel Tunnel high-speed line). Bristol – Edinburgh, Leicester – Leeds and Liverpool – Paris are given examples of journeys which could use HS2 for part of the way.

But officials still won’t entertain HS2 trains going past London (where they would interchange with Crossrail and other routes) or Heathrow to heavily populated counties such as Kent, Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire.

HS1 was designed as an allegedly high speed rail link from London to the Channel Tunnel, with commuter and freight considerations being secondary. As a result, HS1 interchange with classic rail at Ebbsfleet and Stratford was botched, and journey times to east Kent towns like Margate are not very good.

Connectivity to Maidstone is also poor, and the configuration of HS2, HS1, and the HS2 / HS1 link would make viable through passenger services difficult. Switching HS2 services away from Euston to Kent would no doubt push its benefit-cost ratio down further.

HS1 Ltd, infrastructure map showing stations

A better connectivity enhancement for Essex and Kent would be to ‘superlink‘ Crossrail (beyond Shenfield and Abbey Wood).

Great Central connectionsNorth — South domestic connectivity is a more plausible market for intercity rail than is ‘Near Europe’, but the HS2 Y network concept is of negligible value for big towns like Brighton, Southampton, and Portsmouth. Reactivating the Great Central route between Banbury and Leicester would transform North — South freight and passenger rail.

Written by beleben

February 8, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Euston and Greengauge 21

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According to Jim Steer’s Greengauge 21, there is scope to reduce the project costs of HS2 by smart planning: 

for instance by adopting the Network Rail scheme to take existing commuter services out of Euston and connect them into Crossrail instead. This would save costs and reduce disruption  –  and even bring forward the project completion date.

Proposed London Superlink network schematicThe plan to route Milton Keynes/Northampton WCML commuter trains away from Euston, and into Crossrail, has been around for a long time. It was included in the 2004 Superlink regional rail system, proposed by John Prideaux and Michael Schabas.

According to Mr Schabas, Steer Davies Gleave (Jim Steer’s company) prepared a report for Canary Wharf Group Plc, which attacked the Superlink concept of a ‘regional Crossrail’, and taking Milton Keynes commuter traffic out of Euston. As with the Milton Keynes connection, extension of Crossrail to Reading would have important connectivity benefits, and help balance the western and eastern traffic on the system. But in the Guardian in 2007, Mr Steer was quoted as saying that there was “no basis” for extending Crossrail to Reading.

Reconstruction of Euston carries huge risks, and HS2 Ltd has agreed that it has not monetised its economic disruption effects. In its present form, Crossrail’s configuration would make poor use of the expensive tunnel being built under central London. By moving West Midlands intercity services to the Chiltern Line, and moving Milton Keynes commuter services into Crossrail, there would no longer be any requirement to rebuild and disrupt Euston station (or build HS2).

Written by beleben

January 11, 2012 at 1:34 pm