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Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by Plethora, 27 Jul 2019.
He seems quite keen on devolving this kind of thing. How do the plans look? Are they ready?
Plans you say? As in actual on paper plans? In terms of the North Transpennine Upgrade there are some being finalised & costed, but as for HS3 the fag packet that it will be drawn up on hasn't even been printed yet.
Isn't the obvious first step to press ahead with electrification of the existing route, plus improvements like four tracking where possible? That could be done within a foreseeable timescale, and it will still be an important route even when/if the additional HS route is built. It is a nonsense that bi-mode trains will still be needed between Liverpool and Newcastle just to cope with the comparatively short stretches (Stalybridge-Leeds and Leeds-York) without wires.
It would have been done by now as well if it wasn't scaled back.
That full route needs to be electrified at least to York. Then it needs more carriages and trains rather than the inadequate rolling stock of TPE.
There's plenty of trains to get you from Manchester to Leeds - some express, some stoppers. MOre carriages and a fully electrified service to Leeds from Victoria is sufficient.
The sums involved for this mooted vanity project could be put to much better use. For starters, Manchester-Sheffield is more in need of improvement as a link, but then Sheffield aren't one of the blue eyed boys. The two extra platforms at Piccaddilly and sorting out the mess that is the Castlefield corridor are much more pressing as well.
Compared to the West Yorkshire regional economic powerbase that is Leeds, Sheffield is certainly not one of the "blue-eyed boys".
Funny then that a lot of northern towns already feel left behind by Leeds and Manchester who have had so much investment.
The answer to London's hedgmony seems to be to create more hedgemony in other regions (Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester) which leaves other towns and cities nearby even more decaying. Not everyone can live and work in a big city.
That's the sensible option, but when did the DfT & their minister ever go with the most sensible option? In reality I can see HS2 & the North TPE Upgrade being scaled or pushed back so that this bunch of clowns, erm sorry I mean this current government can divert the funds for their wild Brexit plans, with the promise of HS3 some time deep into the next decade or three.
I feel that major regional main cities are just a fact of life in the 21st century. Harking back to what occurred in the early days of the Industrial Revolution achieves nothing.
The total implications of what Brexit can mean to the British economy, good and bad as they may be, is far, far greater that any single industry such as rail, despite those on this website who see rail as a "top three" industry. Where does the Transport ministry rank in order of all other ministries?
I suspect when the impact of Brexit, especially a 'no deal' scenario which this new government seems to be intent on hurtling towards, the rail industry will be lucky to make the top twenty let alone top three.
Interesting that the first major policy announcement by a new prime minister trying to win votes in the north is to announce an improvement to TransPennine services.
NR is (see, I'm using Jacob Rees-Mogg's "rules"!) in the cleft stick of a fixed budget (£2.9bn) and is value engineering the TP solution to meet the budget.
In their other hand is a plan to implement ETCS on the route.
They have just issued a notice requesting expressions of interest in the ETCS contract, which will be hyper-expensive.
So do you want fancy new signalling (which might just solve the capacity problems) or electrification?
Meanwhile the DfT machine prefers bi-modes, which give instant benefits.
I shall ignore JR-M's "imperial measurements" rule.
Just try buying petrol in gallons.
The Tories haven't a hope in hell of winning a seat in Manchester though and even most seats in Greater Manchester are safe Labour. Same with Leeds city region.
Beyond those two city regions this announcement will hold no interest.
Remember though HS3 does nothing for Sheffield / South Yorkshire as Gleen1969 points out so I think. I still think you need both to improve connectivity.
But then London Mayor contest was expected to be safe Labour and Boris won that....
Manchester and Leeds are not the only fruit, admittedly. But the link between them is crucial to almost all intercity links in the North. Newcastle is already on a fast line south; the fact that it is about 100 miles north of anywhere else is nobody's fault. A fast line from Manchester to Leeds (combined of course with electrification Leeds to York, and to Hull) would benefit all northern cities. Except of course Sheffield, if it counts as north rather than Midlands.
Is this a wind up? Sheffield is and has always been part of the North of England. Historically it was part of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria.
It may benefit the cities along the route, but won't have any benefit to all the other "Northern" cities such as Lancaster, Preston, Carlisle, Sheffield, etc.
We could potentially have a situation where Manchester, Liverpool, Huddersfield, Bradford, Leeds, York, Newcastle and Hull all benefit from a fancy new line and all have 25kV wires meanwhile Sheffield will be without a single fast line to the west and possibly no fast line to London and have zero electrified lines, not good.
Those cities you mentioned are on the west coast mainline-except Sheffield. I know its not super high speed-But its surely double the speed of some sections of the current North Trans-Pennine line?.
But then London Mayor contest was expected to be safe Labour and Boris won that...
Ha. Let's get real. The only way Boris could visit Liverpool is in a tank.
It would have been if they didn't put Ken against him.
I know this was a light hearted comment but I can only imagine you've never been to Holmfirth.
And they'll all get HS2 trains.
The straight line distance Leeds-Bradford-Manchester is 37.6 miles, just 2 miles (5%) longer than Leeds-Manchester (35.6 miles). So a plan to link up the big cities of the north is hardly going to miss out Bradford which is 3/4 the size of Leeds, bigger than Hull and Newcastle and has the worst train services of any major city.
They have for the last 150 years and whilst the NPR crayonistas can use a ruler between three points, the topography and related costs will soon scupper this pipe dream. It should be noted that bradford has a long history of being involved with major schemes with eye watering costs, most never left the drawing board.
The "straight line distance" isn't too relevant unless you are planning to run in tunnels all the way - you'd need to factor in the dog-leg required to get from the Bradford Beck valley into the Aire valley (or whatever route it takes).
As for the idea of Bradford being bigger than Newcastle... we really need to get away from this definition of Bradford (which includes Ilkley/ Keighley etc) that appears much bigger than the city of Newcastle (which doesn't include anything on the south bank of the Tyne like Gateshead, doesn't include Wallsend or Longbenton... for example, there are only around a dozen "Metro" stations in Newcastle despite the continuous urban area sprawling on both banks of the river all the way along the Tyne Valley to the North Sea).
For me, they either build a proper fast link from Manchester to Leeds or they try to compromise by bringing in other bits of route - if you take the view that a "fast" line (doesn't need to be 200mph - an average speed of 100mph would be a huge step forward on what we have now!) is only delayed by a trivial amount of time for each mile diversion then there are a wide range of potential intermediate stops:
you could have Oldham (big town with no trains and poor links to the east)
you could have Brighouse (pretty much on a straight line from Manchester to Leeds, connections to local trains for Halifax/ Huddersfield/ Dewsbury etc)
you could have Wakefield (connections onto the ECML)
you could head further east to create a kind of "delta" junction with a Sheffield-Leeds line
you could have Huddersfield
...you could do a lot of things... I don't think Bradford is the only option - but at the moment we have a nice nebulous political idea that *could* be lots of things, so sounds great, until the moment you start to whittle down the options and disappoint people.
Its true, there is much more to the north than the section he is suggesting. Should it not be coast to coast, what about freight from Liverpool and Hull as well as passengers, How about Newcastle ?
Will it even happen, why should we believe BJ over Osborne ?
This thread seems to exist in a bit of a bubble, asking a lot of questions which have already been answered. There has already been a significant amount of work undertaken determining outline route options, what places are served and how it links in with HS2. A new route to link into HS2 midway between Leeds and Sheffield has already been ruled out. Intermediate stops (Bradford, Manchester Airport and Warrington) have already been decided in principle.
The reason Bradford is being included is that it has lobbied effectively for it and has a pretty strong case. It is by some way the largest city between Leeds and Manchester (even excluding outlying towns). It currently has poor journey times to Manchester (and comparatively poor to Leeds as well: Leeds-Bradford at 15km takes as long as Leeds-Huddersfield at 27km). And it is ready for some serious regeneration.
Yes, it should be coast to coast. Yes, Newcastle should be part of it, and Sheffield too, and Hull, and Liverpool. But the point is that Leeds-Manchester is clearly going to be the core of any new northern network, and it's currently the weakest link in terms of capacity and speed. Given the distances between cities, a new rail network for the North was never going to be a single project like HS2. It was always going to be a combination of new and upgraded lines, more like the Belgian high speed network. Though it pains me to say it, Johnson has the priority correct (although I doubt it's his idea).
Many thanks for sharing. Do you have a link showing the route and approximate tunnel length? I am curious as to whether the route will actually serve Bradford City Centre or will it be relegated to a 'parkway' style station perhaps off the M602 somewhere!