Northern Crossrail Leeds-Manchester receives PM backing

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

  1. Randomer

    Randomer Member

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    Has the £2.9 Billion figure for the Transpennine route upgrade actually been committed to by central government yet?

    I can absolutely see the new high speed scheme whatever it is called absolutely cutting the legs off the funding for short to medium term improvements and then getting cancelled at the whim of the next couple of governments after the HS2 cost overruns inevitably start to bite.

    All the talk of a new faster link with greater capacity is a little bit pointless if we are not already running sufficiently long trains (i.e. 10 or 12 car) through the central most congested part of the route rather than the current 3 or eventual 5 car units. This absolutely requires continuous electrification and enabling works at terminal stations to permit longer trains to be accommodated on platforms. All of which could be accomplished a decade before the tentative new high speed line even begins construction.
     
  2. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Veteran Member

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    I think there's only the vaguest of maps, showing straight lines between the big cities.
    Once they indicate a particular route there will then be uproar from the places missed out.
    It's really a conundrum - every solution has multiple consequences on both sides of the Pennines.
    Until Boris's speech I think we were reducing our expectations to the upgrade of existing routes (without full electrification).
    Now we just don't know what to expect.
    In 2012 the "electric spine" was the DfT's magic rail project for the future.
    In 2019 that plan is in the bin, and is widely derided.
    Transport policy is fickle.
     
  3. DynamicSpirit

    DynamicSpirit Established Member

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    I think that - unlike HS2, where the overwhelming real benefit is capacity and speed is a bonus - for the Manchester-Leeds line, speed is a very significant issue, because current journey times are widely recognised as being too slow. For that reason, there's still a good argument that it's worth building even if the current lines are still being worked by 5 car units.
     
  4. johnnychips

    johnnychips Established Member

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    Yes but... Boris’s pledge is so much in the future. Either he won’t have been elected; or he’ll just commission studies, the best way of ‘kicking the can down the road’. I’d prefer a pledge to electrify the current route now with some straightening and better signalling than some nebulous tunnel at some indeterminate time in the future.
     
  5. Randomer

    Randomer Member

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    I don't disagree with the journey time argument but would say that it is currently competitive with car travel from city centre-city centre.

    However, I think perhaps I wasn't clear enough in that in the medium term the biggest issue with the Transpennine route is capacity which would be best solved by electrification and running 10-12 coach trains on the current route. I think the 5 coach units are going to be rapidly filled as the suppressed demand from overcrowding eases and then fills the provision that is available with the new units.

    In my mind the short to medium term is electrification and longer units which takes us up to around 2030 then the new high speed route opening around the time of HS2 phase 2b. Which realistically is how long a new Transpennine alignment is going to take to complete. Only the full capacity of both lines is going to have any hope of taking any of the market share from car travel to have a positive environmental impact if we try and transition away from internal combustion engines.
     
  6. frodshamfella

    frodshamfella Member

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    Agree with that, id be surprised if he even knew where some of our Northern towns were !
     
  7. frodshamfella

    frodshamfella Member

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    I not even sure its worth getting to excited. Boris isnt known for being particularly truthful .
     
  8. Bantamzen

    Bantamzen Established Member

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    Indeed, in terms of where in principle a new alignment would be routed it is generally accepted that it would serve Manchester-Bradford-Leeds. As to which way any alignment would go, that's up in the air. I do recall seeing some renders that seemed to suggest that it would pass under the existing Interchange at more or less right angles, suggesting that the alignment would come in from the west of Bradford & head due east to Leeds, almost certain all underground as the topography of the areas involved would make it impossible to build above ground. My own personal feeling is that it might be slightly easier & less costly to bring the line up approximately along the same alignment as the existing line, dive under the city and emerge to the north, using the current (albeit widened) Aire route into Leeds. How the line gets to the southern approach however is a lot more complex.

    And herein lies the real problem. Getting any alignment that is not fully underground from Manchester to Leeds is problematic, even before you try to deal with Bradford's almost unique topography (for those unfamiliar with the area, Bradford city centre lies in a deep, natural amphitheatre, with steep hills to the west, south & east, and a slight decline north towards the Aire Valley at Shipley). The cost of any alignment is going to be huge, way more than the £2Bn figure being chucked about at the moment. I think you could easily add 10 times that and more & still struggle. There is no way, simply none, that this government would commit to that kind of spending. However as I have alluded to many times on this subject, keeping the concept alive will prove to be a handy distraction if/when budgets for existing alignment improvements are cut.
     
  9. ac-03

    ac-03 Member

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    38 Years ago whilst doing a work placement at Regional Railways in Leeds I saw the plans to upgrade the line including the OLE. Fast forward to 2019. I’m sure the Leeds Manchester Picc route is still being operated by diesel trains. .

    I wouldn’t believe any thing that Boo ris has got to say ATM.

    Have you ever seen a person walking around in a jacket with “Prime Minister” embroidered into it.
     
  10. Dr Hoo

    Dr Hoo Established Member

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    38 years ago means 1981. The BR sectors hadn’t even been invented then. The ECML electrification to Leeds hadn’t started.
     
  11. ExRes

    ExRes Established Member

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    Do you seriously think that the jacket belongs to Boris Johnson?

    On a more general basis though, we actually have a PM who is talking about rail investment and all everyone can do is attempt to score political points, how about seeing if he can produce more than political hot air?
     
  12. Bantamzen

    Bantamzen Established Member

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    We've had senior politicians promise investment before, so you'll forgive some people for being somewhat more cynical about BoJo's clumsy promises. Unless of course he's found the fabled "magic money tree", then we are all ears....
     
  13. ExRes

    ExRes Established Member

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    Absolutely, but do you think I trust politicians promises any more than others? I recall promises from Harold Wilson onwards and regardless of the PM or party they pretty much turn out the same way and that will be the same regardless of BJ, Corbyn, Swinson or any other holder of the job, in my opinion if Corbyn was PM, heaven help us, I would be told that he deserves a chance, so what about the same for Johnson
     
  14. ac-03

    ac-03 Member

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    He delivered very little in his time as London as Mayor and head of TfL. Apart from expensive buses that had to be retrofitted with windows as they were so “hot” and wasting money on that garden bridge.

    He lied about keeping ticket offices open too. Not as bad as the £350 mil brexit bus lie though.
     
  15. ac-03

    ac-03 Member

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    Sorry 28 years. 1991. Just finished seventh night shift
     
  16. Djgr

    Djgr Member

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    At least Jeremy Corbyn does actually know something about railways. I seem to remember a picture of him holding a copy of a well known fortnightly railway magazine. Boris of the other hand-all hot air and sound bites.
     
  17. Xenophon PCDGS

    Xenophon PCDGS Veteran Member

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    Indeed, it was he who, Ghandi-like, tried to convince rail travellers that the floor was just as good as a seat to sit on, on rail journeys.
     
  18. Edgeley

    Edgeley Member

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    Manchester would be better spending the money on an underground system - making travel within the city more resilient. An accident on the M60 in the evening rush hour can send a wave of gridlock into the city centre. Initial underground lines could be: Prestwich > Didsbury and Trafford Centre > Ancoats.

    Leeds might want to spend their share on starting a tram network.

    Other than that northern commuters want longer trains (which may mean longer platforms), newer trains - and electric ones if possible.

    The only really direct beneficiaries of a super fast Manchester - Leeds rail time might be professionals such as lawyers, accountants and advertising people who have offices in each of the city centres. For most Manchester - Leeds travellers it is the door-to-door journey time which is significant; for journeys between suburbs the car is still likely to be competitive.
     
  19. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Veteran Member

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    That was just before Railtrack came in and put electrification on the back burner ("just another interface to go wrong").
     
  20. Djgr

    Djgr Member

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    I don't think that's actually what happened.
     
  21. Jozhua

    Jozhua Member

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    Perhaps a mixture of things could help.

    Electrification is a good start, allowing local services to accelerate faster and get out of the way of express services, which can also recover their speed faster after a red or amber signal!

    I'd propose building smaller tunnels near Marsden and Daisy hill near leeds, which seem to be quite sharp curves in otherwise mostly straight pieces of track. Then the tunnels can be built alongside the otherwise operational railway and connected up over a weekend. The existing 'slow' alignments could be kept and used for local services whilst the express trains pass...

    Honestly improvements to reliability in the form of Castlefield corridor works and Transpennine Express getting it together would probably bring the biggest improvements to passengers. Some more 802's for the new route, put in up to 10 car formations for peak times and moving the MK5A sets to Manchester Sheffield, with the proposed Hope Valley improvements to finally allow people like me to acess the midlands without taking a 20 minute diversion to Sheffield would be good...
     
  22. liam456

    liam456 Member

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    Indeed, the self serving Branson took the PR opportunity and ran with it.

     
  23. Railway1419

    Railway1419 New Member

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    Have you checked an interesting feature on Google Earth Pro, you can draw a path and then check how the elevation varies.
    Quite useful if a new line was being planned to check the amount of landscaping required.

    Shown below I’ve tried to draw a route from Batley to Bradford.
     

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  24. Djgr

    Djgr Member

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    Looks like Branson and Boris are both well versed in truth games that Daily Mail readers lap up
     

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