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Northern Powerhouse Rail / HS3 Timeline and Ideas

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Starmill

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I wonder if anyone who is well versed in the ways of Government papers and policy could help me out a little here please. I am currently trying to analyse the slightly nebulous and vague concept of HS3/Northern Powerhouse Rail from the point of view of literature confirmed by the Government.

The main document on Transport for the North still appears to be March 2015's The Northern Powerhouse:one Agenda, One Economy, One North

I am struggling to find anything concrete that accompanied the Budget document and the February 2016 media fluff about it being a lot more of a concept than a concrete vision.

It's difficult to write about something that the Government itself doesn't fully seem to understand, I am able be able to make a point about it being overtly topical and having continued interest at least and to criticise it in its current guise for not being a bit more firm. We had an electrification scheme and a Northern Hub - these now three ideas are almost blurring into one.

If anyone ha a good memory of the timeline of the evolution of the idea, or any links, documents or media stories that shed more light on how this came to be the confused mess it is now, I would be most grateful. I'm able to make a lot of use of the linked document though, so as long as the ideas haven't radically changed since then I think I understand it.

Thank you very much.
 
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snowball

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They're still at an early stage so the plans at present are just a number of vague alternatives. If I remember correctly there's supposed to be a more detailed publication in the autumn.
 

Starmill

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Perhaps I've asked in the wrong way or too specifically, although it's not the end of the world if there's nothing out there that I haven't found. I'm trying to track the idea of the policy and the economics as much as the 'HS3' label.
 

GrimsbyPacer

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Harbornite

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https://www.change.org/p/the-government-give-the-north-a-proper-high-speed-link
The above is a petition to get a real HS3.

HS3 was a fiction invented by the Tories to win support.
I very much doubt it will be highspeed, and I also doubt it will be a new line.
It'll probably end up being the electricification promised earlier but with a train between Manchester and Leeds every 5mins.

The intention is to eventually reduce Manchester- Leeds journey times to 30 minutes.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-35807472
 

MarkRedon

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It will never be built.
Of all the times you're told not to reply on Wikipedia... didn't even look! That's good! Cheers.
I think that HS3 is a political conception - but that does not necessarily mean it will never be built. The idea, in some form or another, is enthusiastically espoused by George Osborne (Chancellor) and by Andrew Adonis (National Infrastructure Commission) in some form of latter-day Butskellism. While Osborne is protected by Cameron, the idea has political currency. It also has £60 million worth of funding for preliminary studies. If, as I expect (and personally fear) there is a narrow vote in favour of Brexit, all these good gentlemen are political toast and the HS3 idea will probably go into hiding again.
 

Camden

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Perhaps I've asked in the wrong way or too specifically, although it's not the end of the world if there's nothing out there that I haven't found. I'm trying to track the idea of the policy and the economics as much as the 'HS3' label.
You'll find plenty of commissioned reports trying to justify particular aspects of the various projects. But there are no economics.

And if you want to track the idea of the "policy" then you're going back decades, a key phrase is "Northern Way".

As to how it came to be the "confused mess it is now" is as a combination of government uselessness and a result of people in areas that stood/stand to be negatively affected by the "One agenda" discovering what various politicians have or haven't been doing over the years, kicking up a stink about that and applying pressure, resulting in those areas now saying "pardon me?", and being reacted by those driving the "One agenda" not so much by deviation from the focus on "One economy", but by platitudes and insincere attempts at placation towards "One North". The language used even in this document of supposed unity is telling as to the tensions going on.

There is no "One North", but instead a series of fairly unrelated large cities which have been chronically under-invested in over many decades, including some which were asset stripped to prop up London when that was going to the dogs. As an intervention, micro projects like Manchester - Leeds HS3, or even the Northern Way itself, are pointless and counter-productive because they only seek to leverage the results of the chronic under-investment to justify what a small group want to do, rather than seeking to reverse the effects of the decades on the northern cities. Central government is institutionally too stupid and too ignorant about "The North" (doesn't even know how big the cities are in some cases, much less their issues) to do anything other than what it is told and subsequently buys into.

As you identify, it's a "confused mess". In fairness, though, it always was that.
 
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lejog

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I wonder if anyone who is well versed in the ways of Government papers and policy could help me out a little here please. I am currently trying to analyse the slightly nebulous and vague concept of HS3/Northern Powerhouse Rail from the point of view of literature confirmed by the Government.

The main document on Transport for the North still appears to be March 2015's The Northern Powerhouse:one Agenda, One Economy, One North

I am struggling to find anything concrete that accompanied the Budget document and the February 2016 media fluff about it being a lot more of a concept than a concrete vision.

It's difficult to write about something that the Government itself doesn't fully seem to understand, I am able be able to make a point about it being overtly topical and having continued interest at least and to criticise it in its current guise for not being a bit more firm. We had an electrification scheme and a Northern Hub - these now three ideas are almost blurring into one.

If anyone ha a good memory of the timeline of the evolution of the idea, or any links, documents or media stories that shed more light on how this came to be the confused mess it is now, I would be most grateful. I'm able to make a lot of use of the linked document though, so as long as the ideas haven't radically changed since then I think I understand it.

Thank you very much.

I think you're expecting far too much at this early stage. HS3/NPR/whatever is still a concept at the moment and obviously there is little concrete about it. Going from a blank sheet of paper from when Rail North started work 18months ago to the sort of concrete plan you seem to want is not easy and will take a few years.

Do you know about the Engineering Project Lifecycle? There are many flavours of this and the link is to the first result in a Google search, but using that link's terminology HS3 is still in the Conceptualization phase, it should be moving into the Feasibility stage next autumn, when Rail North are going to publish first estimated costs of various options.
 

lejog

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You'll find plenty of commissioned reports trying to justify particular aspects of the various projects. But there are no economics.

And if you want to track the idea of the "policy" then you're going back decades, a key phrase is "Northern Way".

As to how it came to be the "confused mess it is now" is as a combination of government uselessness and ........ <snip>.
You'll find an 183 page report on the productivity benefits of improved transport links in the North here.

I can give you a little historical perspective from a personal point of view.

The Northern Way did quite a bit of work on the economic benefits of improved connectivity and journey times in the north in part 1 of the Manchester Hub Study. Unfortunately its website and the documents produced have recently gone. But it specified improved journey time requirements in a Liverpool-Bradford-Leeds-Sheffield ring around Manchester.

But you can see Network Rail's response in the Manchester Hub Study Part 2 p61 Figure 6.4. While they meet all the requirements for improved connectivity, they stonewalled on the journey time requirements (hardly surprising given they would have blown the budget for the project).

But at that point any further meaningful work stopped, because no-one had a budget.

1)Network Rail/ DfT reverted back to their old ways and promised TPE North Electrification would deliver a journey time of 40mins to Leeds, but did absolutely nothing on any other journey time improvements (not invented here syndrome?). And of course later couldn't even deliver the 40min traget without going back to the drawing board.
2)The Treasury on one hand were quite keen to hear of further proposals, while another part of the organization was busy nullifying its old rivals in the Department of Business by abolishing the RDAs including the Northern Way.

So nothing happened until Osborne made his speech.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Please do sign the petition - with one more signature it will go live on the Change.org homepage. Then perhaps we'll get a real HS3.

Why don't you think we'll get a real HS3? As I said before the project is just not yet at the stage of detail that you seem to want. Costed options for a Rochdale-Halifax-Bradford route should be published in the autumn along with the Huddersfield route. It has the advantage of potentially serving a higher population than the Huddersfield/Dewsbury route, which would anyway have the electrified TPE line. Presumably at a higher cost, but I've heard the word "manageable" used to describe costs.

We'll see in the Autumn.
 

Johnuk123

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I would be shocked if this scheme ever sees the light of day.
 

backontrack

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Why don't you think we'll get a real HS3? As I said before the project is just not yet at the stage of detail that you seem to want. Costed options for a Rochdale-Halifax-Bradford route should be published in the autumn along with the Huddersfield route. It has the advantage of potentially serving a higher population than the Huddersfield/Dewsbury route, which would anyway have the electrified TPE line. Presumably at a higher cost, but I've heard the word "manageable" used to describe costs.

We'll see in the Autumn.

I'd split it and have a Leeds-Bradford-(Heckmondwike)-Huddersfield-Rochdale-Manchester route or something. I don't know.
 
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lejog

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including variants on the following:

1. Enthusiasm
2. Scepticism
3. Panic
4. Hunt for the guilty
5. Punishment of the innocent
6. Rewards for those not involved

I see some posters here have started with phase 2, while others have jumped straight to phase 3, because they have a misguided idea that a project should start with a detailed solution, rather than defining solid requirements.
 

Camden

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You'll find an 183 page report on the productivity benefits of improved transport links in the North
As I said, you will find lots of reports trying to justify various projects.

Still no economics.

I work in the Northern cities day in day out and have done so for a fair chunk of my life, and the issues you refer to I witness first hand as they emerge on a rolling basis.

Whether "HS3" happens or not is of absolutely no relevance to "The North", only to Manchester primarily and Leeds secondarily. As an intervention it's pathetic. And, as a sole effort, I see it undoing a lot of good work that was done before it rather than benefiting places in the north that deserve to be paid back.
 

Starmill

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I think they should bring the HS3 to Scotland. Scotland needs some high speed rail.

Concepts in Scotland are being considered separate, by the Scottish Government. It wouldn't be known as 'HS3' - but then as this thread demonstrates this isn't really known as HS3 anymore either. This is about drawing together the economy of Northern England and how to use rail policy to influence the government's objectives within that.
 

quantinghome

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Whether "HS3" happens or not is of absolutely no relevance to "The North", only to Manchester primarily and Leeds secondarily.

Just to clarify, are you talking about "The North" of England or somewhere else? Last time I checked, Manchester and Leeds were in the North and made up a fair proportion of the population and economic activity.

As an intervention it's pathetic. And, as a sole effort, I see it undoing a lot of good work that was done before it rather than benefiting places in the north that deserve to be paid back.

It's pretty difficult to think of a major rail intervention that doesn't involve linking Leeds and Manchester more effectively. But I'm happy to hear your plan. Please enlighten us.
 

TBY-Paul

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Just to clarify, are you talking about "The North" of England or somewhere else? Last time I checked, Manchester and Leeds were in the North and made up a fair proportion of the population and economic activity.

I think the point being made is that at one time HS2(Stage 2) was envisaged to be an inverted A, with future add-ons to Scotland (Stages 3/4).

We now seam to be in a position, where HS2(Stage 2) is more of a V shape, with HS3 being added to link Manchester to Leeds, making a Triangle, leave the rest of the North in the wilderness.

I've always been a supporter of HS2, ever since I read about future stages that would go up to Newcastle ( and possibly beyond), with the likelihood of a New Teesside interchange Station at a new location (I was hoping nearer to Teesside, than Darlington). But as time has passed, and HS3 seams to have taken over from any future stages of HS2. My enthusiasm has waned.

HS3 is coming across as an all singing, all dancing, link between Manchester & Leeds, with minimalistic upgrades to the ECML between Leeds, York & Newcastle.

For something that looked to be a major step change to the North East, and offering a real chance to boost the economy, it's gradually fizzling out, and becoming a disappointment, at least as far as up here in the North East is concerned, and I'm sure other areas are starting to feel the same. disappointment.

There are times when I read this forum, that I think the North East isn't considered a useful part of the rail network, apart the bit of ECML that passes through.
 

quantinghome

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I think the point being made is that at one time HS2(Stage 2) was envisaged to be an inverted A, with future add-ons to Scotland (Stages 3/4).

We now seam to be in a position, where HS2(Stage 2) is more of a V shape, with HS3 being added to link Manchester to Leeds, making a Triangle, leave the rest of the North in the wilderness.

I've always been a supporter of HS2, ever since I read about future stages that would go up to Newcastle ( and possibly beyond), with the likelihood of a New Teesside interchange Station at a new location (I was hoping nearer to Teesside, than Darlington). But as time has passed, and HS3 seams to have taken over from any future stages of HS2. My enthusiasm has waned.

HS3 is coming across as an all singing, all dancing, link between Manchester & Leeds, with minimalistic upgrades to the ECML between Leeds, York & Newcastle.

For something that looked to be a major step change to the North East, and offering a real chance to boost the economy, it's gradually fizzling out, and becoming a disappointment, at least as far as up here in the North East is concerned, and I'm sure other areas are starting to feel the same. disappointment.

There are times when I read this forum, that I think the North East isn't considered a useful part of the rail network, apart the bit of ECML that passes through.

I see where you're coming from. I'd certainly like to see a new Teeside interchange, preferably fully linked in to the local rail network. However, if we look at the overall intercity network in the North, the WCML and ECML are the only routes that could reasonably be classed as 'proper' mainlines with consistent 100mph+ linespeed, and are therefore in less need of an upgrade. By contrast, the cross-pennine links are tortuously slow (due to geography and railway history). Yet the position of Northern cities demands that the cross-pennine links are the core of the North's intercity railway network, so it's not surprising that this is the main focus of HS3.

My personal view is that the focus is a bit too much on Leeds-Manchester at the moment, and we should be looking to connect from Manchester to HS2 mid-way between Leeds and Sheffield. However, I do recognise this is a bit of a punt given the flows between Sheffield and Manchester are a lot less than Leeds-Manchester.
 

TBY-Paul

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I see where you're coming from. I'd certainly like to see a new Teeside interchange, preferably fully linked in to the local rail network. However, if we look at the overall intercity network in the North, the WCML and ECML are the only routes that could reasonably be classed as 'proper' mainlines with consistent 100mph+ linespeed, and are therefore in less need of an upgrade. By contrast, the cross-pennine links are tortuously slow (due to geography and railway history). Yet the position of Northern cities demands that the cross-pennine links are the core of the North's intercity railway network, so it's not surprising that this is the main focus of HS3.

My personal view is that the focus is a bit too much on Leeds-Manchester at the moment, and we should be looking to connect from Manchester to HS2 mid-way between Leeds and Sheffield. However, I do recognise this is a bit of a punt given the flows between Sheffield and Manchester are a lot less than Leeds-Manchester.

Whilst I fully agree about the Manchester to Leeds route (HS3) needs to be done, as a priority, it's how you solve the problem at the Leeds End to allow through trains to the North, and even west towards Hull at some point.

A link from Manchester to HS2 in the Barnsley area solves one part of the problem, and would (as a bonus)give better links from Manchester to Sheffield(Meadowhall) & Totton, But if it then went into the new HS2 station at Leeds, it would do nothing for the rest of the North.

Transport for the North/Rail North, Northern Power... (Or whatever this weeks title is) seam to favour a route east to west through the present Leeds station for HS3, Which would involve some sort of double decking of the viaduct to the east of Leeds Station. That would suggest that they are not looking to connect to HS2 in the Barnsley area.

Personally, I would look to do a combination of both (if feasible).

A delta junction in the Barnsley area on HS2, follow HS2 route toward Leeds HS2 Station, But just before reaching the New Station, have a junction/spur to the west to run parallel the existing line in to the present station (not sure what they call the Viaduct). You would only need two platforms on this line, either with-in the present train shed or Parallel to it. Then continue the line east to eventually join HS2 again north of Swillington or Church Fenton (depending on the chosen route North from the present planned HS2 route) to head North to Teesside & Newcastle.

In theory, you could run HS3 Manchester to Leeds only HS3 services into the new HS2 station, and services continuing past Leeds could use the two through platforms in/near the present Station, then back out to re-join HS2 heading North.

This would then create the following possibilities (not all needed, but possible):-

Newcastle* to Birmingham** and beyond(by-passing Leeds).
Newcastle* to Birmingham** and beyond (calling at Leeds)
Newcastle* to Manchester*** (by-passing Leeds)
Newcastle* to Manchester*** (calling at Leeds)
Manchester to Leeds (Shuttle)
Manchester* to Sheffield
Leeds(HS2 Station) to London

* I've used Newcastle as an example of a location north of Leeds. :lol:
** I've used Birmingham to represent the South. :lol:
** Depending on how HS3 is developed on the West side you might have routes beyond Manchester e.g Liverpool, Preston etc.

One concern about this idea would be the amount of traffic using the HS2 section between Barnsley and Leeds might be an Issue.
 

HSTEd

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There seems little point in building a manchester approach from either west or east, the route should probably run via the airport with appropriate junctions to arrange for all the various movements between the route and HS2 in various directions.
This has the advantage of allowing junctions to be set up such as to allow >230km/h operation for long stretches between Liverpool and Leeds (set the faster 'straight' routes at each junction correctly that is).

It is unlikely there will be any significant capacity issues on the section between Manchester Airport and Picadilly station, at 250km/h it should be able to handle at least 18 paths per hour in each direction.
 

Altnabreac

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But just before reaching the New Station, have a junction/spur to the west to run parallel the existing line in to the present station (not sure what they call the Viaduct). You would only need two platforms on this line, either with-in the present train shed or Parallel to it.

This junction is included in the latest HS2 plans for just this reason. It allows Newcastle and Edinburgh services to run through Leeds and then onto HS2 to Birmingham or London.

No new platforms are planned at Leeds but it will allow through running of HS2 trains from Leeds to the north.
 

TBY-Paul

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This junction is included in the latest HS2 plans for just this reason. It allows Newcastle and Edinburgh services to run through Leeds and then onto HS2 to Birmingham or London.

No new platforms are planned at Leeds but it will allow through running of HS2 trains from Leeds to the north.

Thank you for that Information, I wasn't aware that provision of a junction had been made. It's must be a late amendment, from previous HS2 plans that I missed.

Being from the North east, since HS3 has taken over from HS2 as a North/North-East rail project, I haven't been following all the latest news about HS2(stage2). It's difficult to know if HS2 or HS3 is going to (hopefully) end up coming to the North East at sometime in the future.

I assume and hope, the provision of a Junction leaves the option open to develop a route through Leeds Station that will allow Captive trains to run North from Leeds in future, and possibly lead to possible services I mentioned in my earlier post.
 

Spod

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My understanding, from the report of the Leeds HS2 station review is that such provision is allowed for, but that HS2 would not be paying for a link to the classic platforms at Leeds. It's stated as an aim for the local interests represented in the statements at the end of the report, but not mentioned in the body of the report.
Unless, Altnabreac, you have confirmation beyond what was in the station report?

If that link gets built, or the viaduct East from Leeds gets four tracked, or HS captive platforms ever get built in the East - West alignment at Leeds, then HS3 would have to pay for it.
I think HS3 is more likely to be built to the same loading gauge as HS2 where new track routes are laid, but use mostly classic compatible trains due to the range of routes and destinations they will serve. So if any services run onto the HS3 network from HS2, they would likewise have to be classic compatible, or only serve stations with HS2 connectivity and platforms, namely Leeds, Manchester and maybe Liverpool, at least at first.
HS2 currently allows for classic compatible services from Sheffield to York, bypassing Leeds or undergoing an awkward, time consuming and seemingly unlikely reverse at Leeds. If they really wanted to serve the north east via Leeds they would have designed Leeds HS2 station differently. So HS3 will have to pick up where HS2 left off.

(My first post on a rail forum, hope it adds to the discussion even though it includes no new information!)
 

Altnabreac

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My understanding, from the report of the Leeds HS2 station review is that such provision is allowed for, but that HS2 would not be paying for a link to the classic platforms at Leeds. It's stated as an aim for the local interests represented in the statements at the end of the report, but not mentioned in the body of the report.
Unless, Altnabreac, you have confirmation beyond what was in the station report?

If that link gets built, or the viaduct East from Leeds gets four tracked, or HS captive platforms ever get built in the East - West alignment at Leeds, then HS3 would have to pay for it.
I think HS3 is more likely to be built to the same loading gauge as HS2 where new track routes are laid, but use mostly classic compatible trains due to the range of routes and destinations they will serve. So if any services run onto the HS3 network from HS2, they would likewise have to be classic compatible, or only serve stations with HS2 connectivity and platforms, namely Leeds, Manchester and maybe Liverpool, at least at first.
HS2 currently allows for classic compatible services from Sheffield to York, bypassing Leeds or undergoing an awkward, time consuming and seemingly unlikely reverse at Leeds. If they really wanted to serve the north east via Leeds they would have designed Leeds HS2 station differently. So HS3 will have to pick up where HS2 left off.

(My first post on a rail forum, hope it adds to the discussion even though it includes no new information!)

As you say the link from HS2 to Leeds classic station was first proposed in the Sir David Higgins Leeds Station option report to improve integration with HS3.

Subsequent to that the HS2 Phase 2 Options report was published in November 2015 and had this to say on the matter:

Leeds

43. Leeds station has seen significant growth in passenger numbers in recent years and such growth is set to continue. The additional passengers that both HS2 and improved rail services for the Northern Powerhouse would bring into the city would only add to demand.

44. The Chancellor commissioned Sir David Higgins to look into the best solution for a Leeds station. His report, which has just been published, recommends an integrated design for the HS2 station in Leeds, while maintaining a southerly route into the city. Further detailed work must be done but we welcome this report as an important step towards delivering Leeds the transport capacity and connectivity it needs, and finding the right transport solution that goes with the grain of Leeds’ own vision for the future of the city.

45. A decision on the right solution for Leeds will be taken as part of the autumn 2016 Phase Two route decision. We are minded to agree with Sir David Higgins’ proposal, subject to completing the detailed work needed.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploa...chment_data/file/480712/hs2-east-and-west.pdf

So no final decision until Autumn this year but provisionally agreeing with the Sir David Higgins proposals including the new chord. We'll see soon whether this has survived any Treasury cuts.
 

158756

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The so called 'Northern Powerhouse' is mostly associated with hot air emanating from George Osborne isn't it?

Might his likely departure from government and the shrinking of the economy bring forward the shelving of 'HS3'?
 
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