Northern Crossrail Leeds-Manchester receives PM backing

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by Plethora, 27 Jul 2019.

  1. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Veteran Member

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    The geology of the southern Pennines is very different from the English Channel, with no soft chalk marl to help.
    None of the existing trans-Pennine rail tunnels was easy or cheap to build through the millstone grit.
     
  2. Xenophon PCDGS

    Xenophon PCDGS Veteran Member

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    I too was pondering on that very matter.
     
  3. Chester1

    Chester1 Established Member

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    I am not sure where the £2bn figure comes from! Network Rail is spending £2.9bn on the Standedge route between now and 2024. The Calder Valley line cannot be upgraded to 125mph. It would require significant tunneling straighten the route and the cost of reducing journey time to 30 mins would be several billion and would essentially be a new line.
     
  4. Xenophon PCDGS

    Xenophon PCDGS Veteran Member

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    Casting my mind back to December 1984, the geology in the part of the Summit Tunnel and its lining had to withstand temperatures of 1,530 degrees Centrigrade when a tanker train of 4-star petrol caught fire and two of the tankers actually melted and discharged their fuel load causing other tankers to be engulfed.

    I remember the flames bursting forth to quite a height from the ventilation shafts, lighting up the night over the moorland.
     
  5. Andy D

    Andy D New Member

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    There was a lot of discussion earlier this year in the Transpennine Route Upgrade thread (https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/transpennine-route-upgrade-and-electrification-cp6.88054/). See posts #2047 and #2048 for most detail.

    As a frequent user I think the route definitely needs an upgrade. But I don't think the travelling public realises the amount of disruption it will cause in the short-term. Improving the tracking between Huddersfield and Dewsbury will likely mean a long period of re-routing via. the Calder Valley and longer journey times.
     
  6. 6Gman

    6Gman Established Member

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    One of the key problems with "improving" trans-pennine rail links is defining where exactly you want to link!

    All Johnson has said so far is Leeds and Manchester. If that ends up as the whole project it's going to cause a lot of angst in Huddersfield, Halifax, Bradford, Sheffield, Liverpool, Hull ......
     
  7. si404

    si404 Member

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    Huddersfield or Bradford (but only one or the other) might gain from Manchester-Leeds as an intermediate stop.

    Sheffield seems to be the biggest loser from this, (whereas Halifax, Liverpool, Hull, etc simply don't gain from this) as it seems to be a way of dropping HS2 east of the Pennines, meaning Sheffield would actively be penalised by this happening. I guess Huddersfield would also lose through missing out on the TP upgrade should a new line via Bradford is built.
     
  8. thejuggler

    thejuggler Member

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    In rail terms £2bn is not a lot.

    The Leeds Manchester route also includes a stop in Bradford. To benefit Bradford it has to be in the city centre, anywhere else and Bradford ends up with three stations and Bradford city centre doesn't benefit.

    Between Leeds station (200m above sea level) and Bradford centre (300m above sea level) is a 600m hill. Costs for options for this link were supposed to be released 12 months ago, still no sign of them which suggests it is eyewatering. Once you are into Bradford you have to leave, more hills to punch through.

    I think the term is 'not in my lifetime'.
     
  9. Xenophon PCDGS

    Xenophon PCDGS Veteran Member

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    I think we should see the positive of this renewed support, after the "Dead hand of The Grayling" seemed to block any hope of any "North-based" rail projects north of the Watford Gap coming to fruition.

    Leeds and Manchester, whether some people like it or not, are the main economic and commercial cities either side of the Pennines.
     
  10. IanXC

    IanXC Emeritus Moderator

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    I think you're getting £2(.9)bn funding for TRU muddled up with the NPR project.
     
  11. Tomos y Tanc

    Tomos y Tanc Member

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    I'm not sure that's true. While the road connections between Cardiff and Bristol are probably better than Sheffield and Manchester the rail connectivity is far worse. 65 trains each way S>M compared to 35 C>B. I'm not saying that Sheffield-Manchester is good, just that Cardiff-Bristol is even worse!
     
  12. Iskra

    Iskra Established Member

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    Surely services doing Liverpool-Hull/York etc would also use the new line, thus improving journey times.

    To me, if you’re going to build a brand new tunnel through the Pennines, you may as well build one tunnel heading West-East, then have 2 lines coming off it- 1 to Sheffield, 1 to Leeds. The additional cost would be pretty marginal in the grand scheme of things.
     
  13. al78

    al78 Established Member

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    Top speed is not equal to average speed, it is quite a bit higher.
     
  14. Boysteve

    Boysteve Member

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    I think you mean feet not metres, 600m is nigh on 2,000 feet which does not seem accurate for New Pudsey!
     
  15. td97

    td97 Member

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    New route options between Manchester/Leeds were already considered 12-18 months ago (i.e. under Grayling) for NPR. Then set aside because of the phenomenal cost. About 10 route options were devised. Think Bradford was supposed to benefit over Huddersfield.

    There's a reason the announcement stated the new line will only be between Leeds and Manchester: the rest of the route (i.e. Liverpool-Manchester and Leeds-York/Newcastle/etc...) can be upgraded or is fast enough (ECML).
    Calder Valley and the main trans-Pennine (via Mirfield) are too windy and also through some densely built up areas, meaning it's difficult to provide an upgrade worthwhile of being labelled high-speed.
     
  16. reddragon

    reddragon Member

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    But it does have London in the way and a longer tunnel than any Pennine tunnel.
     
  17. thejuggler

    thejuggler Member

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    I did, long day! Still expensive though!

    Also strange how the estimated cost is £39bn. Where have I heard that figure before?
     
  18. matacaster

    matacaster Member

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    1, if via bradfod centre and calder valley, the whole £2bn could easily be spent on tunnelling. not just the height difference to accomodate,also has to go over (unlikely) or under bradford beck. very expensive, unlikely to happen when detailed costs come in.

    2, although longer, going from leeds to w/kirkgate and then looks relatively easy for125mph as far as either huddersfield or alternatively via calder route from heaton lodge.
    -sharp curve leaving leeds
    -straight to altofts? junction (poss ease that curve?)
    -pair tracks together on optimum alignment past healey millls
    -4 track through hudds -if standedge option
    -only other sharp curve is at heaton lodge (standedge route only) on west side of pennines

    -no tunnels on this part of route
    - a few tiny bridges
    -easy W12 clearance west of pennines
    -relay track west pennines for 125mph ruling speed
    -resignal

    preferable to do now, but could be done later
    standedge or summit electrification + rest of route to manchester

    best bits( for politicians)

    -very easy to estimate the basic bit
    -very little risk of cost overrun
    -quick win
    - affordable
    -all land owned by railway
    -minimised disruption

    bad bits

    - neither of the options serves bradford
    -calder valley optio doesnt serve hudds either (but this does save time)

    as earlier poster said, dpends who you reaaly want to benefit
     
    Last edited: 27 Jul 2019
  19. Glenn1969

    Glenn1969 Member

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    I'm tempted to say this is a sweetener to prepare us for bad news about HS2. I think Phase 2b will be abandoned and HS3 will be its replacement. That would a disaster for Yorkshire and the North East
     
  20. Xenophon PCDGS

    Xenophon PCDGS Veteran Member

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    This will of course ask the oft-repeated question as to which area will benefit most from HS2. Is HS2 not supposed to give extra line capacity over and above existing routes?
     
  21. Bevan Price

    Bevan Price Established Member

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    No point of having 125 mph, or even 100mph on a straightened version of the current Calder Valley line. Not unless you close most of the intermediate stations. Trains would be lucky to reach much more than 90 mph before they started getting signal checks from the preceding stopping train.
     
  22. PartyOperator

    PartyOperator Member

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    Let’s just have a pacer running between (the outskirts of) Manchester and Leeds in a loop all day without ever stopping. Since it won’t stop, it doesn’t even need to go into the stations at either end. Once you drop the requirement to carry passengers and give it priority over all other trains, 30 minutes between Manchester and Leeds might be closer and cheaper than anyone has imagined. Mission accomplished!
     
  23. crosscity

    crosscity Member

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    My thought was for the high-speed line to serve Leeds only by using the Calder Valley then turning left to approach Leeds via Dewsbury. Your idea is better as the route via Wakefield Kirkgate is flatter and less built up and here is also a lot of railway land around Healey Mills. Halifax and Bradford would still benefit, even if the route from Sowerby Bridge to Bradford was not upgraded.
    I agree with you. A sop of a few billion to upgrade the Calder Valley and/or Standedge routes will allow Boris to continue to say he's behind the Northern Powerhouse in his General Election manifesto. In reality it won't be anything like HS2 in terms of speed or capacity.
     
  24. Boysteve

    Boysteve Member

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    Just one thought; Calder Valley (covering Todmorden & Hebden Bridge) and also Colne Valley (covering Mardsen & Slaithwaite) are both marginal parliamentary constituencies! They BOTH changed hands between Labour and Tories in 1997 and 2010, making them good examples of a bellweather seat. Neither main party will want to put a new railway line through such areas of notable scenery given what will be the obvious local opposition.
     
  25. DanTrain

    DanTrain Member

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    There’s a lot more than that from Bristol Parkway and they take a lot less time...
    This sounds like the most sensible suggestion - put a tunnel somewhere near Holmfirth and run north to Leeds and south to Sheffield (maybe via the Stocksbridge/Woodhead route). Not that it will ever happen...!
     
  26. tbtc

    tbtc Veteran Member

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    It's funny - "high speed" rail is almost unquestionably A Good Thing on here (even though presumably the same arguments against HS2 also apply here - peak passenger numbers, we'll all be working from home, it's wrong to focus all investment on just the biggest places yada yada)...

    ...but (like Brexit), once you start getting into the specifics, it becomes impossible to keep everyone happy - if you want "high speed" between Manchester and Leeds then you probably don't want more than one intermediate stop, but you'll get complaints from the places it doesn't stop - Bradford has a good case on paper but would be some way from a straight line in between the two big cities and has some "problematic" geographical issues to negotiate (how do you deal with the Beck, do you take the expensive option of tunnelling directly to Leeds or take the longer and slower dog-leg via Shipley?).

    Huddersfield is more "half way" in between Manchester and Leeds and in more of a straight line - but it already has a fast service. Wakefield seems a bit of a diversion but if you're considering running via Bradford then why not at least consider Wakefield?

    The "Calder Valley" seems a no-no (in the oft-quoted definition of the Calder Valley - i.e. Halifax and the lines - obviously Wakefield is on the Calder).

    Whilst you can argue that Liverpool/ Manchester Airport/ Hull/ York/ Newcastle all benefit from a fast Manchester - Leeds line (since any cross-pennine travel between those places would save *some* time), Sheffield is the loser - we've already lost a fast service from London to the Sheffield City Region (due to Meadowhall being taken off the map) and now face losing our HS2 service to/from central Sheffield (if the reports are true of HS2...), and now it looks like our competitiveness in northern England will be even worse (if everyone else benefits but us). Still, we're getting a two coach 195 from Sheffield to Leeds getting introduced soon, so yay for us...)

    We're at that good stage though, where it sounds like a positive promise, until you start letting people down by finding out that they aren't at the top table like Manchester and Leeds are)

    I agree (Sadly)
     
  27. jkkne

    jkkne Member

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    The whole focus of the North being Leeds and Manchester is tedious.

    Boris talks about the left behind forgotten towns then focuses on the Northern equivalent of London to focus investment.

    Admittedly some of the problems in the North East are driven by our backward thinking provincial councils but still...
     
  28. Xenophon PCDGS

    Xenophon PCDGS Veteran Member

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    Is it not the case that the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway once considered extending the Sowerby Bridge to Rishworth branch line onwards to cut the distance to the area of Littleborough on their cross Pennine line.
     
  29. The Ham

    The Ham Established Member

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    The opposite could be true, by commuting to implements to East West rail links in the North it removes I've of the key arguments of those who wish to stop HS2. (Although with the Trans Pennies Upgrade there was already an argument against this, especially given that is it was due to happen ahead of HS2 phase 1 opening).
     
  30. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Veteran Member

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    Having listened to Boris's rather chaotic speech, the only word worth remembering is "fund".
    Previous announcements have been about the aspiration for a new Manchester-Leeds line, and getting TfN, NR, HS2 Ltd and others to start planning.
    This is the first "bankable" statement that something (presumably more than NR's limited CP6 upgrade) will happen.
    But Boris immediately said it would be up to local people to decide what happens next - cue regional and municipal fights about route and priority.
    I think we are now in headless chicken mode...
     

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