High Speed Rail Scotland

Altnabreac

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Scottish Government to receive final High Speed Rail report by the end of 2015 with an announcement in February 2016.

Cabinet Secretary Keith Brown announces step forward for High Speed Rail in Scotland

Three-hour train journeys between Scotland and London are a step closer after Infrastructure Secretary Keith Brown today announced a deadline for delivery of the HS2 final report.

The study, commissioned by Transport Scotland and the Department for Transport, will supply details on potential route options to Scotland and will report at the end of this year.

When furnished with full details of potential routes, Mr Brown will be in a position to make an announcement in February on the next steps in the realisation of his objective of ensuring Scotland’s inclusion within a high speed rail network.

The study was launched after the publication of Fast Track Scotland, a report by civic Scotland which found that high speed rail would benefit Scotland to the tune of around £25 billion.

Speaking ahead of his address to the Greengauge 21 high speed rail conference in Glasgow, Mr Brown said: “The Scottish Government has long made the case, with support and strong advocacy from Scotland’s civic and business communities, that we must be fully included in any plans for high speed rail.

“Effective transport connections are vital in ensuring we allow business to compete and grow, and high speed rail for Scotland represents a significant advancement in our world-class public transport networks.

“This long-awaited and important study will furnish us with feasible route options and is a welcome development, putting our campaign to bring high speed rail to Scotland back on the fast track.”

Gareth Williams, High Speed Rail Scotland partnership, said: “The HSRS partnership believes that the investment case for high speed rail is strong, but it is even stronger when Scotland is included. A journey time of less than three hours between both Glasgow and Edinburgh and London is key to delivering the full economic and environmental benefits, including increased availability of slots at London airports for north of Scotland air links.

“A high speed rail network, better connecting central Scotland and the Northern Powerhouse, and integrated into an improved rail network, can promote knowledge exchange, investment and growth, which strengthens the competitiveness of both and rebalances the economic prosperity of the UK.

“The HSRS partnership has been concerned about a lack of clarity on the way forward for high speed rail connections with Scotland, particularly given the accelerated priority for HS3 Transpennine connectivity. So we welcome the announcement today and we will continue to work together in Scotland and with partners across the English regions to develop the strongest possible case for high speed links.”
http://www.transportscotland.gov.uk...high-speed-rail-scotland#sthash.7lD6uD9M.dpuf

Been a fair bit of discussion in various different threads about this but I think a dedicated thread about this project with the new High Speed Rail Scotland name is now in order.

As expected there is a strong focus on the benefits of the 3 hour journey time from Edinburgh / Glasgow to London which is seen as key to realising the benefits of HS2 for Scotland.
 
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clc

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"When furnished with full details of potential routes, Mr Brown will be in a position to make an announcement in February on the next steps in the realisation of his objective of ensuring Scotland’s inclusion within a high speed rail network."

So will the announcement in February be the joint announcement with DfT confirming the preferred route, costs, timescales etc?
 

NotATrainspott

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Presentations at the Greengauge 21 conference are now available on their website.

One of the presentations was from Network Rail where they laid out the capacity constraints on the northern WCML. As I've said before, it being four-tracked and with a single-digit tph doesn't mean it doesn't have the same sort of capacity problems that affect the route south of Preston.
 
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WatcherZero

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See Greengauge still start off by trotting out their ridiculous argument for there being two parallel high speed lines the length of the country? Though in the detail they find poor business case for a route on the east side of the country and propose a mix of WCML upgrades and replacements.

Network Rails presentation you cant really get anything from the slides alone other than they seemed to be exclusively focused on Carlisle-Glasgow.
 
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Altnabreac

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Some positive mentions of High Speed Rail Scotland in the most recent HS paper from Department for Transport.
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploa...chment_data/file/480712/hs2-east-and-west.pdf

Confirmation that work is ongoing with Scottish Government to develop more journey time improvements:

39. We are also working with the Scottish Government to consider the viability of possible further improvements to journey times in Scotland. We will reach a decision on the remainder of the Phase Two route in autumn 2016, but we are also providing an update on our current intentions in this Command Paper. In doing so, we will take the necessary steps to manage cost pressures and ensure the final scheme is both affordable and delivers good value for money for the taxpayer.
There had been some fears that accelereating Phase 2a to Crewe could lead to the Golborne link being dropped but this does not seem to be the case:

Connecting to the WCML
56. The Government consulted on the route for HS2 to connect to the WCML north of Manchester at Golborne. Some concerns were expressed about the Golborne proposal in response to consultation. There are significant constraints on the existing line between Crewe and Wigan, and we believe a connection north of Crewe, from HS2 to the WCML is necessary. Our current view is that the Golborne link remains the best option for achieving this although we need to consider this in more detail before a decision is taken. We intend to take a decision on the location of connection back onto to the WCML in autumn 2016.
Further mention of the work to improve journey times including the 3 hour target (my bolding) and a date for an announcement on this aspect in "early 2016":

Connections with Scotland
64. HS2 is a clear demonstration of the Government’s commitment to the United Kingdom. As designed, it will significantly improve connections with Edinburgh and Glasgow. For example, when HS2 first opens with Phase One in 2026, Glasgow will benefit from a reduction in journey times to London. Phase One will deliver a journey of 3 hours 56 minutes and Phase 2a will deliver 3 hours 43 minutes, compared with a typical journey time of 4 hours 31 minutes at present.

65. When the full “Y” network opens it is expected to further reduce the journey times from London to Edinburgh and Glasgow. For example, the journey time from Glasgow to London will be 3 hours 38 minutes. This will benefit the Scottish economy by around £3 billion. We continue to work closely with the Scottish Government to consider options for further investment that could deliver yet further reductions in journey time, recognising their aspiration for a 3 hour journey time to London. We expect to publish an update on this in early 2016.
Only bad news for Scotland is the decision not to develop the link to the classic network in Birmingham which could potentially have allowed Bristol - Scotland services (which are currently very busy air routes). Hopefully not designing it in at this stage does not preclude it being developed in future if demand is there:

69. More widely, the 2013 Strategic Case for HS2 included an option to link the HS2 network to the classic network in the West Midlands area. This would allow services from Bristol to travel towards Manchester or Leeds on the HS2 network. Having examined the case for such a rail link we are not further developing options along the Phase One route.
 

Noddy

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69. More widely, the 2013 Strategic Case for HS2 included an option to link the HS2 network to the classic network in the West Midlands area. This would allow services from Bristol to travel towards Manchester or Leeds on the HS2 network. Having examined the case for such a rail link we are not further developing options along the Phase One route.
I'm really surprised at that. I wouldn't have thought it would be that expensive to provide a relatively simple connection in the Washwood Heath area. I can't see it being a huge constraint either, as everything on HS2 in this area will be running relatively slowly. As Altnabreac says the benefits to the XC routes would be significant so it seems like it will be an opportunity missed.
 
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I'm really surprised at that. I wouldn't have thought it would be that expensive to provide a relatively simple connection in the Washwood Heath area. I can't see it being a huge constraint either, as everything on HS2 in this area will be running relatively slowly. As Altnabreac says the benefits to the XC routes would be significant so it seems like it will be an opportunity missed.
Agreed, such a link would have lead to significant journey time reductions on the Bristol-Newcastle axis. Would also have allowed supporters to address critics arguments that HS2 is only about reducing journey times to London.
 

edwin_m

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No inside knowledge, but I suspect they have left it out because it would need Birmingham-Bristol electrification to be of any use. Politicians may then feel they have to add that to NR's electrification programme, whose timely delivery isn't exactly inspiring anyone with confidence at present...

I hope they do at least leave passive provision in the design.
 

MarkyT

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I'm really surprised at that. I wouldn't have thought it would be that expensive to provide a relatively simple connection in the Washwood Heath area. I can't see it being a huge constraint either, as everything on HS2 in this area will be running relatively slowly. As Altnabreac says the benefits to the XC routes would be significant so it seems like it will be an opportunity missed.
It could also allow classic compatible trains from London to reach Wolverhampton and Stafford via Birmingham NS. For Cross Country traffic to use either branch of the Y, electrification between Birmingham and at least Bristol would be required. Many trains go further west to Plymouth and some to Cornwall so for full benefit, a lot of additional electrification would be required. I thought it would be fairly straightforward to weave a grade separated junction across the top of the tunnel portal in the Washwood Heath area, without any additional major structures. I hope the designers at least passively provide for or protect a potential alignment for a connection in this area as it could still be added later when further classic line electrification takes place.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
. . .I hope they do at least leave passive provision in the design.
snap!
 

clc

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Scottish Government to receive final High Speed Rail report by the end of 2015 with an announcement in February 2016.
.
Further mention of the work to improve journey times including the 3 hour target (my bolding) and a date for an announcement on this aspect in "early 2016"
Do you think the announcement(s) will tell us if Glasgow-Edinburgh HSR is going ahead?
 

CdBrux

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A further thought on the lack of Brum connection for XC on Bristol -> Newcastle axis. If HS2 eastern leg is also shared with HS3 / NPR under a TfN proposal due next year then would also adding XC services on be considered too complex and risky to reliability?
 

Altnabreac

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Do you think the announcement(s) will tell us if Glasgow-Edinburgh HSR is going ahead?
I expect there will be a commitment to develop the scheme further through the STAG process early in the new year. I'm not sure it's quite at the full sign off stage yet.

Suspect given the project size it might go through the full bill process at Holyrood (rather than a TWA process) but early in the new parliamentary session is probably a good time to start that process.
 

overthewater

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What a waste of money and time, And who is going to pay for all this? we clearly don't have any spare Billions to be spent on that. Worse still until Westminster has a date for extending the line up to Carlise it will be useless.
 

Noddy

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No inside knowledge, but I suspect they have left it out because it would need Birmingham-Bristol electrification to be of any use. Politicians may then feel they have to add that to NR's electrification programme, whose timely delivery isn't exactly inspiring anyone with confidence at present...

I hope they do at least leave passive provision in the design.
I was kind of thinking that by 2025 NR would have plenty of well practiced engineers capable of doing the job and electrification between Birmingham/Bromsgrove and Yate would at least be being seriously considered. I know its not part of the northern powerhouse agenda but surely it's fairly high up the priority list. Even if it only went as far as Bristol, it would potentially allow some electric South Wales trains too. Part of the reason the Bristol/Scotland air route is so busy, is many folk from South Wales using Bristol airport.
 
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Altnabreac

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What a waste of money and time, And who is going to pay for all this? we clearly don't have any spare Billions to be spent on that. Worse still until Westminster has a date for extending the line up to Carlise it will be useless.
The thing to note is the very large volume of air passengers between Edinburgh / Glasgow and London. The more you reduce the journey time towards 3 hours the more passengers you can gain for high speed rail.

So a full HS Rail line to Carlisle is not needed. All you need is enough high speed sections to bypass congested / slow sections of the existing line and decrease journey times fromthe 3.38 phase 2b time down towards 3 hours.

So if 2 Scottish sections saved 10-15 mins each the journey time would be down to around 3.15. Then one further high speed section anywhere between Wigan and Carlisle would suffice to give a 3 hour journey time.

Even at 3.15 or so the numbers attracted to High Speed Rail would be significant.
 

edwin_m

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I was kind of thinking that by 2025 NR would have plenty of well practiced engineers capable of doing the job and electrification between Birmingham/Bromsgrove and Yate would at least be being seriously considered.
You may well think that, but I suspect an Osborne or a McLaughlin who's just had their fingers burnt by NR's failure to deliver might think a bit differently. They probably won't be around in 2025 but they could take some flak for it in the short term.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
It could also allow classic compatible trains from London to reach Wolverhampton and Stafford via Birmingham NS.
However Stafford will be accessible via Handsacre, which is still in the design, so that just leaves Wolverhampton plus the rather improbable idea of high speed trains heading off to Salop. Under current assumptions there just isn't the capacity for more London trains on HS2, though that might change if ERTMS level 3 becomes a reality. Another reason to make that passive provision...
 
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po8crg

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If the passive provision is done right, then the junction could be done as part of a future Birmingham-Bristol electrification project. HS2 XC trains into Swansea (to Liverpool/Manchester/Leeds/Newcastle via Birmingham) would go some way to mollifying the Welsh over not getting Barnett consequentials.
 

Altnabreac

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Apparently Scotland (and Northern Ireland, but not Wales) will receive Barnett consequentials in respect of HS2:

http://stophs2.org/news/14673-barnett-inconsistency-adds-7-4bn-hs2-bill

If correct the Scottish Govt can use the money to build the Glasgow-Edinburgh High Speed line.
Very interesting. Suspect someone has worked out it's cheaper to give the Scottish Government Barnett Consequentials than to build a HS line to Scotland.

Would certainly fund an Edinburgh - Glasgow high speed line but does it make it slightly less likely that more High Speed lines north of Wigan are built?

Which government would fund new sections between Preston and Carlisle for example?

Interesting times ahead.
 

clc

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Would certainly fund an Edinburgh - Glasgow high speed line but does it make it slightly less likely that more High Speed lines north of Wigan are built?
.
Yes, probably. And it's likely the Scottish Govt wouldn't want to spend over a billion on the spur to Carstairs given this would mainly benefit cross border services. It would be awfully tempting to divert the money to other projects.
 

Altnabreac

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Yes, probably. And it's likely the Scottish Govt wouldn't want to spend over a billion on the spur to Carstairs given this would mainly benefit cross border services. It would be awfully tempting to divert the money to other projects.
I'm sure the spur to Carstairs gets built (in fact it will be the main line speed wise with one of the cities as the slower spur). It's the cross border journey time savings that will make the business case work.

We know from the last time a purely E-G high speed rail was asessed the business case wasn't amazing. Cross Border traffic is likely to be essential to the scheme.

The question is more how much new line will be funded between Carstairs and Wigan and who pays for it?

Scottish Government may be happy to pay for a chunk of line from Carstairs to Lockerbie say but who would pay for Lancaster - Penrith? DfT or Scottish Government?
 

clc

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The question is more how much new line will be funded between Carstairs and Wigan and who pays for it?

Scottish Government may be happy to pay for a chunk of line from Carstairs to Lockerbie say but who would pay for Lancaster - Penrith? DfT or Scottish Government?
It would be a hard sell politically for the Scottish Govt to pay. I reckon it would have to be Dft funded.
 

NotATrainspott

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Looking at photos of yesterday's storm it appears that the increased resilience of a new build route through Cumbria would be one of the things going for it. The WCML is underwater in places with landslips and trees on the line and this sort of thing is just going to become more and more commonplace in future.
 

Senex

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It would be a hard sell politically for the Scottish Govt to pay. I reckon it would have to be Dft funded.
Why should DfT (i.e. the English transport budget) pay for a new line that is basically for Scotland's benefit when transport is a devolved matter? Or is someone arguing that a double-track high-speed line is required to serve Carlisle and that building such a line will offer a decent cost-benefit ratio? I can see good English regional development arguments for going north to Newcastle on the other side of the country with the eastern branch but none except the Scotland link for building the north-western extension. And if the Scots want that link, they should pay for it.
 

Altnabreac

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Why should DfT (i.e. the English transport budget) pay for a new line that is basically for Scotland's benefit when transport is a devolved matter? Or is someone arguing that a double-track high-speed line is required to serve Carlisle and that building such a line will offer a decent cost-benefit ratio? I can see good English regional development arguments for going north to Newcastle on the other side of the country with the eastern branch but none except the Scotland link for building the north-western extension. And if the Scots want that link, they should pay for it.
I suspect it would actually be a joint funding arrangement. It's clear that a High Speed line through Cumbria would primarily be about connected Scotland but there would also be beenfits to Carlisle and Cumbria and to connections to the Lake District.

There is also significant benefit to northern England in having faster connections to Scotland.

So a cross border High Speed line would need a joint funding arrangement. This makes it harder to agree but by no means impossible.
 

Senex

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I suspect it would actually be a joint funding arrangement. It's clear that a High Speed line through Cumbria would primarily be about connected Scotland but there would also be beenfits to Carlisle and Cumbria and to connections to the Lake District.

There is also significant benefit to northern England in having faster connections to Scotland.

So a cross border High Speed line would need a joint funding arrangement. This makes it harder to agree but by no means impossible.
That's certainly the way it ought to be done, and I think the mutual benefits for Scotland and Northern England could be considerable -- not just the one direction of a "significant benefit to northern England"! That would be a very much stronger argument for the line than the argument on behalf of Carlisle and the Lake District.
 

HSTEd

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How much time would actually be lost if the trains had to crawl between Wigan and the Scottish border?

I can imagine the business case for that section being downright awful.
 

Altnabreac

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How much time would actually be lost if the trains had to crawl between Wigan and the Scottish border?

I can imagine the business case for that section being downright awful.
There are basically 4 different points to consider I understand it.

Tilt on Classic Compatible HS trains
High Speed trains don't usually have tilt so there is a potential time penalty compared to Pendolinos north of Preston.

3 hour journey time
If you can get below 3 hours you can rapidly eat into the airline market share. Only having High Speed north of Carlisle and south of Wigan is unlikely to deliver a sub 3 hour timing.

Capacity on WCML
The pinch points are the long, slow, steep sections over Shap and Beattock where freight trains interact more with passenger trains.

400m classic compatible trains
If you aren't splitting them at Carstairs then Carlisle or Preston are the alternatives. The further south you split them the more extra capacity you need.

To address all these issues it is likely that some element of new line south of Carlisle would be needed. I very much doubt a whole new Wigan - Gretna line will have a positive business case but a shorter section bypassing a bottleneck and effectively allowing the existing WCML to act as an extended freight loop / slow lines for a 20/40/60 mile section might well be a sensible investment for both sides of the border.
 

HSTEd

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Really your best bet in journey time savings terms is probably a linear extension from one end - you can replace ~100mph running with 200mph running with no need to worry about the boundary accelerations which limit the benefits of short sections.

Every mile saves you ~18 seconds.
 

Altnabreac

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Really your best bet in journey time savings terms is probably a linear extension from one end - you can replace ~100mph running with 200mph running with no need to worry about the boundary accelerations which limit the benefits of short sections.

Every mile saves you ~18 seconds.
Yes but that isn't likely to happen at the south end:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploa...-phase-two-of-the-high-speed-rail-network.pdf

Page 71 here has the shortlisted options for extension north from Golborne and there are very few that give a feasible join to the WCML between Wigan and Preston.

So if you extend northwards you have to bypass Preston and that just won't be likely to happen as it is the main interchange point for the rest of Northern England.

At the northern end I agree that the best case will be to extend Edinburgh - Glasgow High Speed line as far south as possible.

I still think a central section will be needed though.
 

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