Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) - latest plans and progress updates

Roast Veg

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I am optimistic that there will be full electrification of the Trans Pennine mainline between York & Manchester, but pessimistic that the government will back a new line towards Liverpool via Warrington.
Liverpool might not like it, but the line via Fiddler's Ferry is ready and waiting.
 
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frodshamfella

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Liverpool might not like it, but the line via Fiddler's Ferry is ready and waiting.

Wont that be rather slow ? I understand it pretty bendy. If you were going to go that way it would make great sense to have a station for Widnes as the line is far more central than Widnes / Hough Green are.
 

Bald Rick

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Wont that be rather slow ? I understand it pretty bendy. If you were going to go that way it would make great sense to have a station for Widnes as the line is far more central than Widnes / Hough Green are.

You can assume some straightening. There’s no way that the journey times could be met without it.
 

Purple Orange

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You can assume some straightening. There’s no way that the journey times could be met without it.
What are the realistic journey times? It’s about 35 at the fastest today, but only 2 tph. The same, via the airport and 4 tph would be a good outcome.
 

Glenn1969

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But journey times are also hard to achieve if trains get slowed down for stations. Which may be why Bradford, Warrington and Widnes as "secondary hubs" should be worried. I live in Halifax and know we have next to no chance of an NPR station- market not big enough
 

MarkyT

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Wont that be rather slow ? I understand it pretty bendy. If you were going to go that way it would make great sense to have a station for Widnes as the line is far more central than Widnes / Hough Green are.
You can assume some straightening. There’s no way that the journey times could be met without it.
I would expect a largely new alignment between Warrington and Widnes if this option goes ahead. The low level through Bank Quay and Sankey Bridges is very sinuous indeed, has two level crossings and is low lying, hence prone to flooding. I would advise flying over Bank Quay WCML station platforms at their south end instead and going through the closed soap factory site on a new viaduct. A 'South Widnes' station is a great idea. The alignment through Widnes is already excellent and has been fully preserved by works for the new Mersey Gateway bridge. See: https://www.railforums.co.uk/thread...r-hs2-liverpool-branch-and-npr-trains.215571/
 

LNW-GW Joint

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I would expect a largely new alignment between Warrington and Widnes if this option goes ahead. The low level through Bank Quay and Sankey Bridges is very sinuous indeed, has two level crossings and is low lying, hence prone to flooding. I would advise flying over Bank Quay WCML station platforms at their south end instead and going through the closed soap factory site on a new viaduct. A 'South Widnes' station is a great idea. The alignment through Widnes is already excellent and has been fully preserved by works for the new Mersey Gateway bridge. See: https://www.railforums.co.uk/thread...r-hs2-liverpool-branch-and-npr-trains.215571/

If the line is to serve central Warrington there will need to be either a tunnel or viaduct to thread the town, the old Bank Quay Low Level route is too twisty.
The old alignment across the Mersey through Lymm is compromised by development and the M6, and all the approaches to Warrington have dense modern residential areas to avoid.
The area through Rixton east of the M6/south of the CLC is pretty empty (it used to be a mix of bog, "night soil" deposits and canal dredgings), but reaching there from Penketh will be expensive.
And an M56 route takes you well south of Warrington centre (though still within the modern borough, eg Stretton).
Either way you need a new viaduct over the Mersey unless you use the HS2 one on the Golborne branch around Warburton.
 

Glenn1969

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Is there any guarantee of an NPR line to Liverpool? I remember Boris's funding pledge during the election campaign but that was pre Covid and specifically Manchester to Leeds .
 

quantinghome

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Is there any guarantee of an NPR line to Liverpool? I remember Boris's funding pledge during the election campaign but that was pre Covid and specifically Manchester to Leeds .
Boris's pledges are easily made and even more easily withdrawn. They guarantee nothing.
 

Bald Rick

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There’s no guarantee there will be any sort of railway next year! Guarantee is a big word.

However, I would say there is a very high chance of a new line between HS2 and Liverpool. It ticks a lot of boxes, economically, socially, and of course politically.
 

Glenn1969

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I bow to your superior knowledge of such things

I hope they DO opt for via Bradford and allow trains from Halifax/Rochdale to run on NPR Leeds to Bradford to speed up journeys from Leeds to Calderdale and Rochdale by bypassing the current dogleg and need to reverse at Interchange and the associated time penalty. But fear they will keep the new build as short as possible which is why I said the project might be Sunaked. I'm no expert but hope those that are see what I am getting at
 

Chris125

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I am pessimistic that the government will deliver a completely new NPR line, but I am optimistic that they will back it in a fanfare, with a phased proposal. Perhaps only 1 stage will be built.

Politically that seems unlikely to me given the importance of northern seats for the two main parties - for at least 3 more general elections, probably many more, northerners are going to see tens of billions spent on HS2. Once a plan for NPR is agreed any backtracking is going to be a really, really bad look and if anything there will be pressure to be more ambitious.
 

Bald Rick

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But fear they will keep the new build as short as possible which is why I said the project might be Sunaked.

A project can’t be ‘Sunaked’ (I assume you mean have it’s scope cut), if the scope hasn’t been agreed in the first place.
 

MarkyT

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If the line is to serve central Warrington there will need to be either a tunnel or viaduct to thread the town, the old Bank Quay Low Level route is too twisty.
The old alignment across the Mersey through Lymm is compromised by development and the M6, and all the approaches to Warrington have dense modern residential areas to avoid.
The area through Rixton east of the M6/south of the CLC is pretty empty (it used to be a mix of bog, "night soil" deposits and canal dredgings), but reaching there from Penketh will be expensive.
And an M56 route takes you well south of Warrington centre (though still within the modern borough, eg Stretton).
Either way you need a new viaduct over the Mersey unless you use the HS2 one on the Golborne branch around Warburton.
Near Broomedge, I would cut across from a new M56 following route to Grappenhall to join the Latchford viaduct route into Warrington from the east. That would avoid the old line through Lymm.
 

Glenn1969

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Quite. So we will see what Sunak is willing to pay for when the IRP is published. I just don't see it being as much new build as most of us would want
 

snowball

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If the line is to serve central Warrington there will need to be either a tunnel or viaduct to thread the town, the old Bank Quay Low Level route is too twisty.
The old alignment across the Mersey through Lymm is compromised by development and the M6, and all the approaches to Warrington have dense modern residential areas to avoid.
The area through Rixton east of the M6/south of the CLC is pretty empty (it used to be a mix of bog, "night soil" deposits and canal dredgings), but reaching there from Penketh will be expensive.
And an M56 route takes you well south of Warrington centre (though still within the modern borough, eg Stretton).
Either way you need a new viaduct over the Mersey unless you use the HS2 one on the Golborne branch around Warburton.
Probably the most westerly published data point, concerning what routes are being thought of towards Liverpool, is on the plans linked in #188 and #222 which show a possible site for a bridge over the HS2 main line from Hoo Green towards Golborne. It is about 500m south of the M56, and the line towards Liverpool seems to have moved a bit further from the M56 between the A556 crossing and the HS2 main line crossing.
 

MarkyT

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Probably the most westerly published data point, concerning what routes are being thought of towards Liverpool, is on the plans linked in #188 and #222 which show a possible site for a bridge over the HS2 main line from Hoo Green towards Golborne. It is about 500m south of the M56, and the line towards Liverpool seems to have moved a bit further from the M56 between the A556 crossing and the HS2 main line crossing.
They may have revised designs to move the new alignment a little further from the motorway, even though loosely still following it. That is best practice today to avoid long, narrow strips of rail/road locked land being created that are difficult to access for any purpose and for wildlife to use for habitat.
 

Roose

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But journey times are also hard to achieve if trains get slowed down for stations. Which may be why Bradford, Warrington and Widnes as "secondary hubs" should be worried. I live in Halifax and know we have next to no chance of an NPR station- market not big enough
Bit odd to group the country's seventh largest city with Warrington and Widnes.
 

matacaster

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Bit odd to group the country's seventh largest city with Warrington and Widnes.

Whilst this is true in terms of population, one also needs to look at the reasons why people might want to travel to a place like Manchester, Leeds or Bradford for work or leisure and I'm afraid on these criteria Bradford is more like Warrington and Widnes neither of which would be a particular highlight destination.
 

Purple Orange

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Bit odd to group the country's seventh largest city with Warrington and Widnes.

  1. London
  2. West Midlands
  3. Greater Manchester
  4. West Yorkshire
  5. Merseyside
  6. Tyneside
  7. Etc etc
I’d argue that Bradford is a part of a larger city. Unless West Yorkshire is too discontinuous compared to other city regions. The arbitrary lines drawn on a map to denote the council boroughs do not reflect our cities today.
 

HSTEd

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ONS doesn't even define Bradford as a separate built up area from Leeds.
 

Glenn1969

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Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield are 100% NOT one large conurbation. There has always been disquiet in Bradford in particular that too much focus is given to Leeds. BUT my thought about NPR is Sunak either won't fund the extra 4bn required for the via Bradford route or will seek to keep costs down by not having NPR intermediate stations between Manchester and Leeds
 

mister-sparky

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The population figures for Bradford are for the entire council area, which covers a very large area and definitely does not represent the true population of the city of Bradford. In true terms it is nowhere near the 7th largest in the UK
 

37424

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Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield are 100% NOT one large conurbation. There has always been disquiet in Bradford in particular that too much focus is given to Leeds. BUT my thought about NPR is Sunak either won't fund the extra 4bn required for the via Bradford route or will seek to keep costs down by not having NPR intermediate stations between Manchester and Leeds
I live 5 miles from Bradford and 7 from Leeds, I very rarely go to Bradford I haven't been for about 3 years but from a regen perspective and a political perspective if they are going to build the totally new line between Leeds and Manchester then I think it has to serve Bradford even at increased cost, and get away from the dog end service it has at the end of 2 sidings
 

adrock1976

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What's it called? It's called Cumbernauld
Of my first taste of geography at primary school, England's ten largest cities are:

1) London
2) Birmingham
3) Liverpool
4) Sheffield
5) Leeds
6) Manchester
7) Bristol
8) Leicester
9) Kingston upon Hull
10) Coventry

This was based on what the population was back in 1981. Bradford is just outside at Number 11.

Perhaps Northern Powerhouse Rail should have a look at a high speed route to Kingston upon Hull as well as Bradford/Leeds/York etc?
 

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