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A group has an idea for a "Rail North" scheme to rival the "Northern Powerhouse" rail plan

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class26

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The following appeared today in "New Civil Engineer". It is an alternate proposal to the Northern Power House rail`s proposals.


Alternative proposal tabled to rival TfN’s Northern Powerhouse Rail plan​

08 DEC, 2020 BY CATHERINE KENNEDY

An alternative way to upgrade the North of England's rail network has been tabled by a group of engineers who claim their proposal is cheaper and easier to implement than Transport for the North's (TfN's) current Northern Powerhouse Rail plans.

It comes after the Northern Powerhouse Rail team submitted its preferred route and construction phasing timeline to government last month.

Backers of the alternative proposal - dubbed Network North - have taken the plans to TfN and are said to be "in talks".

The key difference in the two plans is that Network North does not rely on the construction of High Speed 2 (HS2) to be progressed.

In contrast, Northern Powerhouse Rail bosses have repeatedly said that it relies on planned upgrades to the network which will take place as part of the HS2 programme.

Earlier this year, Northern Powerhouse Rail director Tim Wood told The Engineers Collective podcast that the cost of the project would increase by around £13bn if HS2 Phase 2b to Leeds is delayed or axed, as some corners fear could happen.

According to Network North engineers, removing the reliance on HS2 is “conservatively estimated” to save £21bn.

The proposal comes as the industry waits for the publication of the government's Integrated Rail Plan which will consider transport plans in the North and Midlands. It is expected this month.

Network North emphasises that the current Northern Powerhouse Rail proposal – scheduled to start in 2024/25 – relies heavily on the construction of both east and west legs of HS2 in northern England.
Instead, the group has proposed a design for a fully electrified rail network in the North.....
 
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The Planner

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So TPU and a high speed link to Leeds from Manchester? plus Skipton to Colne and Stockport, Manchester Airport to the Chat Moss? Smells of a thinly veiled Woodhead to me. I love their optimism.

Bit of a dig on Google shows Quentin MacDonald to be part of this old chestnut http://www.highspeeduk.co.uk/
 
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Bald Rick

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So TPU and a high speed link to Leeds from Manchester? plus Skipton to Colne and Stockport, Manchester Airport to the Chat Moss? Smells of a thinly veiled Woodhead to me. I love their optimism.

Bit of a dig on Google shows Quentin MacDonald to be part of this old chestnut http://www.highspeeduk.co.uk/

It’s the same two people.

Quite why they think that a few weeks worth of super-crayoning is to a level of development that is ready “to proceed to detailed design needed for construction” is incredible.

I would also very much like to see demonstrator timetable. A timetable of that size would take about a dozen planners two years to develop. How have they done it?

This sort of stuff makes me so cross.
 

The Planner

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It’s the same two people.

Quite why they think that a few weeks worth of super-crayoning is to a level of development that is ready “to proceed to detailed design needed for construction” is incredible.

I would also very much like to see demonstrator timetable. A timetable of that size would take about a dozen planners two years to develop. How have they done it?

This sort of stuff makes me so cross.
It is the fact people listen, accept it verbatim, it gets published and it then gets traction is the scarier bit for me. Clearly dangling for funding to justify themselves. That lad with the Northamptonshire proposals needs to go get them into shape!
 

Bald Rick

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It is the fact people listen, accept it verbatim, it gets published and it then gets traction is the scarier bit for me. Clearly dangling for funding to justify themselves. That lad with the Northamptonshire proposals needs to go get them into shape!

That as well. I’m not sure they are after funding. They just have this belief that they are right and everyone else is wrong.

Glad to see they have nailed down an option. Presumably they have tested scores of other options to demonstrate feasibility, affordability, value for money, and environmental impact.

As it happens I used to work with one of these two - well over 20 years ago. But of a dreamer who didn’t get much actually done. He was close to retirement then.
 

Roast Veg

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Sheffield Victoria? Really? Definitely inspired by Woodhead and not common sense.
It is the fact people listen, accept it verbatim, it gets published and it then gets traction is the scarier bit for me. Clearly dangling for funding to justify themselves. That lad with the Northamptonshire proposals needs to go get them into shape!
Which Northampton proposals are these?
 

The Planner

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Sheffield Victoria? Really? Definitely inspired by Woodhead and not common sense.

Which Northampton proposals are these?
Can't find the thread now, but a 15 ish year old lad came up with some speculative proposals for Northamptonshire that were much more polished and reasoned than this.
 

DarloRich

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Can't find the thread now, but a 15 ish year old lad came up with some speculative proposals for Northamptonshire that were much more polished and reasoned than this.


The Northampton stuff was better put together and set out than this idea! That young lad was very impressive.
 

Roast Veg

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Can't find the thread now, but a 15 ish year old lad came up with some speculative proposals for Northamptonshire that were much more polished and reasoned than this.
I can imagine he didn't have some very heavy Woodhead-styled rose tinted spectacles weighing him down...
 

Halifaxlad

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Prepare for a rant:

The trouble is with this, is that once again it appears to have been done on a map irrespectively of the actual geology!

Its basically as what's been shown previously, with this fixation of combining both Sheffield and Leeds services from Manchester one one route, simply because it looks good on paper. The distances between Leeds, Sheffield and Manchester are that much Im surprised no-one has proposed a triangle of new lines between them.

One of the main advantegous of HS2 I can see is improving connectivity between the North East and East to West Rail along the Cambridge and Oxford Corridor and then on to Bristol & Wales via the GWML. Although HS2 Eastern leg isn't particular great alignment as the bottom of it ideally needs to cross the Birmingham leg of HS2 near Biecester rather than towards Birmingham for one direct service an house, that could go via Manchester.

They're doesn't appear to be any other proposed new lines other than one between Rochdale and Halifax, presumably connecting with the existing line at Milner Royd Jct. With this the need for a wholly new route between Leeds & Manchester diminishes a the Calder Valley at either end (via Brighouse & Dewsbury) is already well laid out for fast services.

I merely posted for discussion and expected the reaction that it has provoked !

You have certainly achieved that!

I can think of a few words the gendarme Crabtree would most likely say if he saw this.
 

bluenoxid

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They have whacked out a press release last week, which I think a rail journalist pointed out and pushed back.

There appears to be a small group of vocal engineers who are keen to get their names in lights by trying to obfuscate the current proposals for high speed rail with very optimistic proposals. The Stockport-MIA-Altrincham-Liverpool is another crayoned item where I’m just baffled at how it can be whipped in as a simple matter.
 

hacman

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It seems this all omits any real mention of the now confirmed Northumberland Line, plus the proposed new link to Consett. Furthermore, with the ambition being for a "design for a fully electrified rail network in the North", there would be some questions to answer in this area too, primarily around how that would work with the fact that Pelaw - Sunderland is already wired up at 1500V DC, and that electrifying routes such as the Esk Valley or Bishop Auckland lines would -whilst ideal- be impractical.

Listing Newcastle - Carlisle as a "connecting service" on that map is also an odd choice, much the same as opting to omit Morpeth and the other SE Northumberland stations on the ECML.
 

30907

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They have whacked out a press release last week, which I think a rail journalist pointed out and pushed back.

There appears to be a small group of vocal engineers who are keen to get their names in lights by trying to obfuscate the current proposals for high speed rail with very optimistic proposals. The Stockport-MIA-Altrincham-Liverpool is another crayoned item where I’m just baffled at how it can be whipped in as a simple matter.
There's also a new intercity line from Bradford to the Blue Line somewhere near Wakefield. I expect it's the Spen Valley line with some creative distortion?
And what's the line continuing SE from Sheffield Victoria to Birmingham?
 

Darandio

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Listing Newcastle - Carlisle as a "connecting service" on that map is also an odd choice, much the same as opting to omit Morpeth and the other SE Northumberland stations on the ECML.

As well as making what appears to be the Leamside Line an Intercity artery. Extreme crayoning.
 

hacman

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As well as making what appears to be the Leamside Line an Intercity artery. Extreme crayoning.
There is another dismantled alignment that leaves the Durham Coast Line at Ryhope, also joining the ECML at Ferryhill, which is still largely extant, so this could be another option for this, given that with use of Leamside you'd have expected Durham to be listed on the map. It's probably more suitable than Leamside for intercity service too, as some changes to the alignment would provide a rather nice and straight run away from population centres.

That said, the Leamside line does get somewhat fetishised as a potential ECML diversionary route, so that could be what's proposed here too - which would add another problematic interface with 1500V DC electrification, not to mention the fact that allocating the Leamside route for intercity traffic rather than suburban/interurban service would likely be met with a poor reception from those living in all the small towns it passes through.
 

Purple Orange

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What infrastructure are they proposing in Liverpool to accommodate what must be assumed to be an increase in frequencies? Won’t Lime Street be particularly constrained?

The whole proposal seems sub-optimal can pared to the scheme proposed by NPR as it stands.
 

Bald Rick

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How that's cheaper than NPR I do not know.

It can’t be. For a start, no one knows how much NPR will be, so it’s impossible to say that something else would be cheaper.

Some time ago, I was on the receiving end of a similar crayonistic proposal from someone (who should have known better) about a project I was working on. It claimed to be much better and cheaper. I got similarly cross. So I invited him in.

After a cup of tea* I then went through his proposal, and asked various questions in a “I’m being thick here, how do you think you would build that... what rates have you used to build up the costs... how are you going to run this service / serve that station” etc.

After an hour we agreed that his project was going to cost twice as much as mine, and deliver less benefit. We didn’t hear from him again.


*no biscuits, obviously
 

Halifaxlad

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It can’t be. For a start, no one knows how much NPR will be, so it’s impossible to say that something else would be cheaper.

I thought they were working to budget of around 30 billion ?

(Obviously they don't actually have the money yet but are pretending they will get it)
 

Bald Rick

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I thought they were working to budget of around 30 billion ?

(Obviously they don't actually have the money yet but are pretending they will get it)

There’s no budget, other than for next year as per the Spending review.

It’s way too early in the development cycle to set a Budget.
 

Energy

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Quite why they think that a few weeks worth of super-crayoning is to a level of development that is ready “to proceed to detailed design needed for construction” is incredible.
It doesn't give much hope when their copyright is using the default font in MS Office, the rest of the map is... well lets hope they didn't pay a lot for the graphic designers.
1607455657181.png
There is a reason why rail projects which are happening usually try and make it look more professional when they are dealing with billions of pounds of tax payers money. That image was taken straight from the New Civil Engineer website, turns out the image has a transparent background.
 

YorkshireBear

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It can’t be. For a start, no one knows how much NPR will be, so it’s impossible to say that something else would be cheaper.

Some time ago, I was on the receiving end of a similar crayonistic proposal from someone (who should have known better) about a project I was working on. It claimed to be much better and cheaper. I got similarly cross. So I invited him in.

After a cup of tea* I then went through his proposal, and asked various questions in a “I’m being thick here, how do you think you would build that... what rates have you used to build up the costs... how are you going to run this service / serve that station” etc.

After an hour we agreed that his project was going to cost twice as much as mine, and deliver less benefit. We didn’t hear from him again.


*no biscuits, obviously

Indeed I was very much saying that in the tone of... Obviously it won't be!
 

YorksLad12

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There's also a new intercity line from Bradford to the Blue Line somewhere near Wakefield. I expect it's the Spen Valley line with some creative distortion?
And what's the line continuing SE from Sheffield Victoria to Birmingham?

It doesn't give much hope when their copyright is using the default font in MS Office, the rest of the map is... well lets hope they didn't pay a lot for the graphic designers.
View attachment 86891
There is a reason why rail projects which are happening usually try and make it look more professional when they are dealing with billions of pounds of tax payers money. That image was taken straight from the New Civil Engineer website, turns out the image has a transparent background.

I hope this *did* pay some designers a lot of money, so that they have nothing left for any more daft ideas.

I remember people writing in when we started work on Low Moor: "You've built it in the wrong place, you'll have to move it when the Spen Valley Line reopens"... nope. Not happening, no matter how many lines you draw on a map.
 
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