Northern Crossrail Leeds-Manchester receives PM backing

kevin_roche

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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...
He seems quite keen on devolving this kind of thing. How do the plans look? Are they ready?
 
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David Emmott

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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.
 

gazzaa2

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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.
 

Xenophon PCDGS

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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.
Compared to the West Yorkshire regional economic powerbase that is Leeds, Sheffield is certainly not one of the "blue-eyed boys".
 

gazzaa2

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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...
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.
 

Bantamzen

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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.
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.
 

Xenophon PCDGS

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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.
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?
 

Bantamzen

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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.
 

BeHereNow

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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.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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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.
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.
 
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gazzaa2

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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.
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.
 

Class 170101

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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
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).
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.

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.
But then London Mayor contest was expected to be safe Labour and Boris won that....
 

David Emmott

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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...
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.
 

ohgoditsjames

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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.
 
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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.
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?.
 

Djgr

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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.
 

nimbus21

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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)
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.
 

matacaster

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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.
 

tbtc

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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.
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.
 

frodshamfella

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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 ......
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 ?
 

quantinghome

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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.
 

quantinghome

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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 ?
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).
 

Boysteve

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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.
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!
 

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