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Old December 22nd, 2006, 09:24 PM   #1
Salif
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High Speed 2

Just thought I'd see if anybody thinks about this subject as much as I do and if anyone had ideas as to what they'd like to see under this name.

I think the best place for it's London terminus will be St Pancras but how I wonder.

Can see two options possible:

1) an annex on the west side of the existing station

Advantages being more platforms but high speed trains would be blocked from easy interchange with the Eurostars by the Midland Mianline tracks acting as a kind of barrier.

2) an annex on the east side

Infinitley more difficult but with the advantage being Eurostars and domestic HST's would be in the same area of the station.

As for the line itself, the seemingly obvious place to start is using the North London line for relatively low speed running (say about 160-220km/h) through urban London. Although I'm not sure if that single track connection from HS1 would end up being a problem capacity wise.

There would need to be another line going under the current St Pancras-NLL chord and onto the NLL. Think of it like the soon to be opened St Pancras-HS1 layout with the two running tracks going over/under each other.

A station at Willesden Junciton (see my other thread) would be good I reckon and from here the line continues at classic line speeds to Denham before the new High Speed formation breaks away.

Then to get a bit more basic from here the line should go to Coventry Parkway-Birmingham International-Lichfield Trent Valley-Stoke-Stockport-Manchester Eastlands-Preston-Carlisle.......then up to a triangle junction in the Scottish Central belt with links to Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Obviously there would be branches to Liverpool (from Stoke), Leeds (from Manchester) and Derby, Sheffield, Doncaster, York, Teeside & Newcastle (from Birminghm International).

Sorry to go on but it would be good to hear what others think, it might be an irrelevant discussion knowing this Government but it's always interesting to talk about it.
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Old December 23rd, 2006, 11:51 AM   #2
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I've wondered about the site of the terminus too.
I have even tried to think of the appropriate service patterns - though that is a little academic as by the time it's built population and commuting pressures accross the whole area will have changed slightly - e.g. I'm expecting Machester, Birmingham and Leeds to become much more economically important, a little ahead of average economic growth, Sheffield marching ahead to become a worthy contender, and the economy in Scotlands two great cities seem to be in overdrive. (I am hoping a recession or long period of economic decline doesn't undermine these regions as so often can be the case).
In my opinion, there would be around 7-9 tph on the wcml (pendolinos would still run about 4-5 tph on slower services with more stops than now on the old wcml - with unused units cascaded to other routes), about 3-4 on the midland routes (Derby, Leicester, Sheffield, Leeds, in addition to the 3-4tph MML services via Bedford) and around 3-4 on the North east coast routes (york, Newcastle, Edinburgh in addition to reduced 140mph GNER services). (Also this is assuming as you can see a branched HS2 at rugby roundabout).
IF this is a service pattern to be assumed, I actually think that the WCML HS2 services should still terminate at Euston, then all the others would fit at a slightly extended/supplemented Kings Cross/St Pancras.
I though about an all-in-one terminus while looking at google earth, but couldn't see anywhere that would be large enough around the Kings Cross site to build a 10-12 platform terminus - which I think would be the minimum requirement - that wasn't awkwardly far from the other concourses.

On a seperate note Salif - I think there are many who think about this potential project - and while there doen't seem to be that much support from the government at the moment, and other countries leave us in the dust, we could live in some other western countries where the outlook is even worse than ours (*cough* USA!!!)
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Old December 23rd, 2006, 05:38 PM   #3
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This is dreaming of course, but my semi-realistic plan would be:-

Re-build Euston, lengthen the platforms, big new office / resi development in the process. Commuter trains would be diverted onto Crossrail 3 (yes this has been considered!) in a new tunnel to Waterloo and beyond. Thereby capacity is freed up at Euston. Trains to the continent would just stop at Stratford.

I'd also dig a big travelator between Euston and Kings X / St.Pancras. It's about 500m I reckon and airports use these all the time. In that way Euston - Kings X - St. Pancras becomes a kind of 3 terminal station. With good branding I think that London Central could exist, fragmented physically, but to the passenger neatly joined up.
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Old December 23rd, 2006, 11:07 PM   #4
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Stratford and the Central Line simply can't take much more passengers, so making that the London terminus for a high speed railway line is impossible; unless we work on that too obviously.
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Old December 24th, 2006, 12:28 AM   #5
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The great thing about Euston is it's relative luxury of space.

Looking at it and the area between the station and the main road it could be completley rebuilt with the concourse being rebuilt next to the main road and the platform areas further back aswell. This way half the platforms could be 400 metres in length.

If the superlink version of crossrail was implemented then the suburbans would be taken out of Euston (rather then having to wait decades for Crossrail 3). The current WCML operation could then be switched over to the East side of the station and the High Speed trains could use the West side.

I'd still have to go with St Pancras though if the space can be created for a 12 platform annex (which I think it could). As a start I think some of the Eurostar and Kent high speed platforms could be used as it's apparantley going to be operating at no where near full capacity for a while yet.

First priority needs to be getting the line extended from St Pancras to Willesden and Heathrow Airport imo.
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Old December 24th, 2006, 03:23 AM   #6
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For the love of god the last thing this country needs is high speed rail. I'm sorry, it's true.

As much as rail fans like to wank over TGV-style stuff in the UK it's virtually completely unneeded - virtually all of the UK population is below manchester which means distances are generally short. Say the first part of the HSR network went from London to Manchester via whatever 300km route you wanted.

The CTRL is 108km and cost £5.2bn, or £48m/km. Using those figures a link between London and Manchester, which is about 300km away, would cost £14bn which is roughly consistent with the cost proposed by Atkins for the London --> Stoke on Trent stretch.

Assuming it was paid for by bonds over a 20 year period at an interest rate of 7%, it would cost £120million/month to pay back if I've done my sums right, or £1.4bn/yr. Assuming it attracted 15 million passengers a year it would cost £93 a passenger. That doesn't even take into account operational expenses, maintenance, the trains themselves etc etc etc.

How many people would honestly pay nearly £100 over a 'normal' ticket for the connivence of saving less than an hour on a journey? I wouldn't.

The economics of HSR simply don't add up unless there is suddenly a collapse in the cost of laying the track, buying the land and the labour involved, which isn't likely. If anything it will continue rising dramatically.

Of course you could go down the subsidy route but the UK rail network is already subsidised massively and is extremely unlikely to change soon. When the govt tried scaling back subsidies (albeit further into the negative) on the ECML GNER were pushed to almost bankruptcy.
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Old December 24th, 2006, 04:10 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by mrmojo View Post
For the love of god the last thing this country needs is high speed rail. I'm sorry, it's true.

As much as rail fans like to wank over TGV-style stuff in the UK it's virtually completely unneeded - virtually all of the UK population is below manchester which means distances are generally short. Say the first part of the HSR network went from London to Manchester via whatever 300km route you wanted.

The CTRL is 108km and cost £5.2bn, or £48m/km. Using those figures a link between London and Manchester, which is about 300km away, would cost £14bn which is roughly consistent with the cost proposed by Atkins for the London --> Stoke on Trent stretch.

Assuming it was paid for by bonds over a 20 year period at an interest rate of 7%, it would cost £120million/month to pay back if I've done my sums right, or £1.4bn/yr. Assuming it attracted 15 million passengers a year it would cost £93 a passenger. That doesn't even take into account operational expenses, maintenance, the trains themselves etc etc etc.

How many people would honestly pay nearly £100 over a 'normal' ticket for the connivence of saving less than an hour on a journey? I wouldn't.

The economics of HSR simply don't add up unless there is suddenly a collapse in the cost of laying the track, buying the land and the labour involved, which isn't likely. If anything it will continue rising dramatically.

Of course you could go down the subsidy route but the UK rail network is already subsidised massively and is extremely unlikely to change soon. When the govt tried scaling back subsidies (albeit further into the negative) on the ECML GNER were pushed to almost bankruptcy.
Interesting counter-view point and I honestly believe you stumble upon some very good points (still think an HSL is needed mind).

Firstly I wouldn't say 'virtually all of the UK population is below manchester', still a fair amount of people north of that point.

Any new infrastructure project is going to cost a lot of money, that's something that needs to be accepted in the UK. Long term planning and investment will eventually lead to good returns but like our neighbours we have to think long term.

As for the economies, I'm no expert but the reports I have read suggest the cost:benefit ratio for a North-South HSL is very favourable.

Either way something will need to be done to address the demand/capacity issue for UK inter-city railway services. The WCML upgrade has showed us the problems of trying to upgrade a busy working mainline. Ironically enough a new HSL would probably have worked out at much better value for money.

The ECML upgrade has already been put on the back burner because of cost rises and I suspect this will happen with many other attempts to upgrade our mainlines.

Of course alternative options to an HSL must be considered just as much.

Dedicated freight line for example would take many freight trains off the mainlines freeing up more capacity for faster services. But it would still require a fair amount of money and the cost:benefit ratio probably wouldn't be anywhere near as good as an HSL.

Upgrading our mainline network could solve the problem with extensive four tracking, grade seperated junctions, electrification, longer trains, double decker trains, higher speeds, by-passes, etc.

But it would seem any new capacity created would soon be swallowed up again bringing us back to square one.

There is of course the Maglev idea, I know very little about this idea but I would be concerned at having something relatively unproven in long-distance commercial operation.

Could of course just invest massively in our motorway network.
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Old December 24th, 2006, 04:45 AM   #8
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Salif: the cost:benefit of HSR is appalling compared to big road/motorway projects which have been suppressed under the guise of 'green' credentials under the labour party.

A much better idea IMO would be to do all the road schemes and then for the govt to heavily regulate car emissions and fuel consumption. Just think of the difference £14bn would have if it was invested in a massive subsidy program for plug in electric hybrid cars (which will likely be coming anyway in 2008ish) along with nuclear or wind electricity generation.

Rail does need more investment but HSR is extremely expensive and poorly rewarding way to do it. HSR is a lot more expensive because bends have to be very very gentle which means missing out stuff is a lot more difficult. Which means you have to acquire extremely expensive land.
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Old December 24th, 2006, 02:44 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by mrmojo View Post
Salif: the cost:benefit of HSR is appalling compared to big road/motorway projects which have been suppressed under the guise of 'green' credentials under the labour party.

A much better idea IMO would be to do all the road schemes and then for the govt to heavily regulate car emissions and fuel consumption. Just think of the difference £14bn would have if it was invested in a massive subsidy program for plug in electric hybrid cars (which will likely be coming anyway in 2008ish) along with nuclear or wind electricity generation.

Rail does need more investment but HSR is extremely expensive and poorly rewarding way to do it. HSR is a lot more expensive because bends have to be very very gentle which means missing out stuff is a lot more difficult. Which means you have to acquire extremely expensive land.
I would imagine the cost:benefit ratio for a motorway is quite high and I do think we need more of them. But alas at this moment in time it's probably politically unacceptable. Probably the only way we will expand our motorway network further is through private companies and toll charges.

But can electric hybrid cars do the same sort of thing as your typical petrol car? (i.e. speed, performance, space, etc).

Because if not then it's unlikely it would be successful.

And like I said before whatever option we choose it's going to involve expensive land take and construction at some point. I'll reiterate that we in the UK have to get over this fear of spending money for the long term and be prepared to break a few eggs to get the proverbial omlette.

Another point I will raise is the future economic prosperity of the UK compared to our European neighbours. How do you think it will look to future foreign investors when France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the Lowlands, etc all have comprehensive high speed railway networks and we only have the CTRL?

I can say for sure it will make our country look very poor in comparison, there is a lot to be said about the image such a line can portray.

It works the same with motorways aswell, Manchester is a prime area for outside investment because of it's motorway network. It just looks really good on a map of the area. As opposed to my region (the North East) with just our one solitary unconnected four lane motorway.
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Old December 24th, 2006, 02:58 PM   #10
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Benefits of High Speed 2 that are not just a point to point time saving:-
-frees up capacity on the west coast for freight (currently restricted and arguably forced onto road)
-encourages more people onto rail. A 5 hour journey today (including a couple of connections) becomes 3 hours. This in turn reduces road space demand and negates the need for some road building.
-takes demand off internal flights. We've all seen how useless Heathrow is and will always be with it's congested runways. Bit of fog = we're screwed. To be usefull as a hub it needs 4 or 5 runways to allow for redundancy. That is never going to happen. 2 1/2 at best = shite.

I think it's also worth mentioning how expensive road building is. Take the M1 widening, about 11 miles near Luton, cost = ~£1bn. Short tunnel through the downs ~£300m.
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Old December 24th, 2006, 03:23 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrmojo View Post
Salif: the cost:benefit of HSR is appalling compared to big road/motorway projects which have been suppressed under the guise of 'green' credentials under the labour party.

A much better idea IMO would be to do all the road schemes and then for the govt to heavily regulate car emissions and fuel consumption. Just think of the difference £14bn would have if it was invested in a massive subsidy program for plug in electric hybrid cars (which will likely be coming anyway in 2008ish) along with nuclear or wind electricity generation.

Rail does need more investment but HSR is extremely expensive and poorly rewarding way to do it. HSR is a lot more expensive because bends have to be very very gentle which means missing out stuff is a lot more difficult. Which means you have to acquire extremely expensive land.

surely if the knock on effects of burning aviation fuel, travelling to airport hubs and the internal combustion engine were calculated without bias then railway would look cost effective?
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Old December 24th, 2006, 05:01 PM   #12
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Quote:
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But can electric hybrid cars do the same sort of thing as your typical petrol car? (i.e. speed, performance, space, etc).

Because if not then it's unlikely it would be successful.
http://www.teslamotors.com/index.php?js_enabled=1

This fully electric car has been developed with an American Company and Lotus, has better performance than a Ferrari, goes 250miles on a charge and is available for £50,000.

In a few years time this type of technology should have improved enough to make it affordable and more available in other types of cars (i.e not just a sports car, but the family saloons etc)
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Old December 24th, 2006, 06:03 PM   #13
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http://www.teslamotors.com/index.php?js_enabled=1

This fully electric car has been developed with an American Company and Lotus, has better performance than a Ferrari, goes 250miles on a charge and is available for £50,000.

In a few years time this type of technology should have improved enough to make it affordable and more available in other types of cars (i.e not just a sports car, but the family saloons etc)
All sounds good, but 250 miles on a charge compared to 600 miles on a full tank of diesel (my friends car as an example). How long would it take to fully charge and what would the likely cost be?
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Old December 24th, 2006, 10:51 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Salif View Post
I would imagine the cost:benefit ratio for a motorway is quite high and I do think we need more of them. But alas at this moment in time it's probably politically unacceptable. Probably the only way we will expand our motorway network further is through private companies and toll charges.

But can electric hybrid cars do the same sort of thing as your typical petrol car? (i.e. speed, performance, space, etc).

Because if not then it's unlikely it would be successful.

And like I said before whatever option we choose it's going to involve expensive land take and construction at some point. I'll reiterate that we in the UK have to get over this fear of spending money for the long term and be prepared to break a few eggs to get the proverbial omlette.

Another point I will raise is the future economic prosperity of the UK compared to our European neighbours. How do you think it will look to future foreign investors when France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the Lowlands, etc all have comprehensive high speed railway networks and we only have the CTRL?

I can say for sure it will make our country look very poor in comparison, there is a lot to be said about the image such a line can portray.

It works the same with motorways aswell, Manchester is a prime area for outside investment because of it's motorway network. It just looks really good on a map of the area. As opposed to my region (the North East) with just our one solitary unconnected four lane motorway.
Well I think the investment aspect is dramatically overhyped. How come, say, California manages to be such a huge magnet without *any* real rail (apart from laughable amtrak service), nevermind HSR?

Investment comes because of low tax rates and a well educated workforce that is easy to hire and fire. Which building subsidised-to-the-tilt money haemorrhaging railways does not allow.

The North East will soon be part of the motorway network since the A1 will be fully motorway standard down to the M62. That will have a much greater impact on the attractiveness of the NE than any HSR project IMO.
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Old December 24th, 2006, 11:04 PM   #15
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Benefits of High Speed 2 that are not just a point to point time saving:-
-frees up capacity on the west coast for freight (currently restricted and arguably forced onto road)
-encourages more people onto rail. A 5 hour journey today (including a couple of connections) becomes 3 hours. This in turn reduces road space demand and negates the need for some road building.
-takes demand off internal flights. We've all seen how useless Heathrow is and will always be with it's congested runways. Bit of fog = we're screwed. To be usefull as a hub it needs 4 or 5 runways to allow for redundancy. That is never going to happen. 2 1/2 at best = shite.

I think it's also worth mentioning how expensive road building is. Take the M1 widening, about 11 miles near Luton, cost = ~£1bn. Short tunnel through the downs ~£300m.
It would be far far cheaper to quad-track the WCML where there is the proven demand/capacity issue (this is already getting done in sections now) instead of jumping in at the deep end and building a massive white elephant.

It won't encourage more people onto rail, not at £100 a ticket more (at the very minimum!). Unless you subsidise it. Which means more important rail projects can't be subsidised or the subsidy for rail balloons even further.

I see you've fallen for the internal flights bullshit which is a load of crap. The majority of internal flights are connecting flights - they're not going to go anywhere. There is no chance in hell I'm taking a train to Euston, then getting on the tube (or whatever) with all my luggage to Heathrow. The other internal flights are either low cost airlines which fly to Gatwick and Stansted, not heathrow, and business flights which usually fly to London City. And anyway, since heathrow is running at 20% capacity due to fog, for 'redundancy' you'd need 10 runways which is a none starter.

The M1 widening cost is £290mn. Not £1bn. Don't know where you got that figure from. Anyway, the cost of roads is irrelevant - there is far more revenue coming from them than is being spent on them which means they are a profitable transport mechanism, unlike rail which constantly has to be propped up.
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Old December 24th, 2006, 11:10 PM   #16
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All sounds good, but 250 miles on a charge compared to 600 miles on a full tank of diesel (my friends car as an example). How long would it take to fully charge and what would the likely cost be?
That's the beauty of plug in electric hybrids. You get 50km/30miles or so out of the battery which is enough for most peoples daily commutes and grocery trips and then switch to petrol or diesel if you need a longer journey. If employers offered parking spaces with electricity supplies then you double that range.

The recharge time for the Tesla is in hours but that's potentially solvable if you go to a 'battery station' where you swap your empty battery for a fully charged one.

The private car is always going to be probably the best method of transportation for short to medium distances and fighting against it is just going to end in tears.
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Old December 24th, 2006, 11:14 PM   #17
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Well I think the investment aspect is dramatically overhyped. How come, say, California manages to be such a huge magnet without *any* real rail (apart from laughable amtrak service), nevermind HSR?

Investment comes because of low tax rates and a well educated workforce that is easy to hire and fire. Which building subsidised-to-the-tilt money haemorrhaging railways does not allow.

The North East will soon be part of the motorway network since the A1 will be fully motorway standard down to the M62. That will have a much greater impact on the attractiveness of the NE than any HSR project IMO.

California doesn't have any neighbouring states with an extensive high speed network, we however do. It is the sort of thing that will look very bad for our country.

And with UK workers being easier to hire and fire we have an awful lot of foreign companies who shed jobs en mass here rather then elsewhere because of that.

Where have you heard about the North East finally being connected fully to the motorway network?

Ideally they need to upgrade the entire A1 from Edinburgh-West Tyneside-County Durham-M1 to six lane motorway standards. Our one section of motorway is only four lanes and as such it usually results in longer journey times.
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Old December 24th, 2006, 11:18 PM   #18
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It would be far far cheaper to quad-track the WCML where there is the proven demand/capacity issue (this is already getting done in sections now) instead of jumping in at the deep end and building a massive white elephant.

It won't encourage more people onto rail, not at £100 a ticket more (at the very minimum!). Unless you subsidise it. Which means more important rail projects can't be subsidised or the subsidy for rail balloons even further.

I see you've fallen for the internal flights bullshit which is a load of crap. The majority of internal flights are connecting flights - they're not going to go anywhere. There is no chance in hell I'm taking a train to Euston, then getting on the tube (or whatever) with all my luggage to Heathrow. The other internal flights are either low cost airlines which fly to Gatwick and Stansted, not heathrow, and business flights which usually fly to London City. And anyway, since heathrow is running at 20% capacity due to fog, for 'redundancy' you'd need 10 runways which is a none starter.

The M1 widening cost is £290mn. Not £1bn. Don't know where you got that figure from. Anyway, the cost of roads is irrelevant - there is far more revenue coming from them than is being spent on them which means they are a profitable transport mechanism, unlike rail which constantly has to be propped up.
A high speed line to Heathrow would surely have huge benefits in that it provides direct rail services to the airport. This would negate the need for connecting flights and keep the short distance flights from clogging up the Heathrow runways.

For the WCML to cope with future growth it's probably going to be best to four track it's entire length. Probably be worth four tracking the ECML from London to Leeds aswell while we're at it.
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Old December 24th, 2006, 11:33 PM   #19
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California doesn't have any neighbouring states with an extensive high speed network, we however do. It is the sort of thing that will look very bad for our country.

And with UK workers being easier to hire and fire we have an awful lot of foreign companies who shed jobs en mass here rather then elsewhere because of that.

Where have you heard about the North East finally being connected fully to the motorway network?

Ideally they need to upgrade the entire A1 from Edinburgh-West Tyneside-County Durham-M1 to six lane motorway standards. Our one section of motorway is only four lanes and as such it usually results in longer journey times.
Well how come France, Germany's and Japan's economy are performing so poorly yet they have some of the best rail networks in the world? Surely companies far and wide would be flocking to these countries. HSR is such a minor point to investment it's not even funny. Decent telecommunications links are probably more of an issue these days.

About the A1(M): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A1_road#Future_plans

"Once these two schemes are complete, which is currently scheduled for 2011, then the Newcastle upon Tyne area will be connected to the rest of the national motorway network."

There's no need to quad-track the line all at once if there isn't the demand. That's the flexibility that 'normal' rail has over HSR, you can do very small bottlenecks without having to do the entire thing at great expense.
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Old December 24th, 2006, 11:35 PM   #20
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A high speed line to Heathrow would surely have huge benefits in that it provides direct rail services to the airport. This would negate the need for connecting flights and keep the short distance flights from clogging up the Heathrow runways.

For the WCML to cope with future growth it's probably going to be best to four track it's entire length. Probably be worth four tracking the ECML from London to Leeds aswell while we're at it.
You've already got crossrail for that. How many multi-billion £ tunnel schemes through london do you want?!
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