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Old October 8th, 2019, 02:17 PM   #22541
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Originally Posted by CdBrux View Post
Large parts of Eastern leg budget could be passed, or shared, elsewhere based on aspirations already mentioned by other groups:

end of stage 1 -> Toton: Shared with Midlands connect. Needs a junction at Toton to allow services onto classic network

Sheffield -> Leeds: NPR.

Government still provides same funding but via a different, potentially more politically acceptable, way.
Indeed. The FT article ('leak') that the Oakervee Review was considering the option of "cancelling the Eastern Branch" has caused some debate on this thread, but I believe (behind the FT paywall) the full article actually said "(axe the) Eastern Branch beyond the East Midlands to Leeds and Sheffield" (and of course onward to York & NE via ECML). I couldn't read the FT article myself, beyond the headline, as I'm not a subscriber; but this is the wording used when the story was rehashed in other free-to-view websites/publications a few days later.
This suggests any such option is looking at still taking the Eastern Branch (under HS2's budget silo) as far as Toton still (plus building Toton station itself).
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Old October 9th, 2019, 02:24 AM   #22542
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Originally Posted by NewcastleOwl View Post
Indeed. The FT article ('leak') that the Oakervee Review was considering the option of "cancelling the Eastern Branch" has caused some debate on this thread, but I believe (behind the FT paywall) the full article actually said "(axe the) Eastern Branch beyond the East Midlands to Leeds and Sheffield" (and of course onward to York & NE via ECML). I couldn't read the FT article myself, beyond the headline, as I'm not a subscriber; but this is the wording used when the story was rehashed in other free-to-view websites/publications a few days later.
This suggests any such option is looking at still taking the Eastern Branch (under HS2's budget silo) as far as Toton still (plus building Toton station itself).
Obviously that would be better than having no Eastern branch at all, but would be as much use as a chocolate teapot in taking long-distance traffic off the congested ECML. Also I suspect the business case for the 30+ mile branch without Leeds and the North East markets would be less than impressive.

Still, I doubt this will be the last crazy idea to leak from this review. Especially as Lord 'bonkers' Berkeley has been given a role in it.
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Old October 9th, 2019, 02:56 AM   #22543
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Any notion that the combined councils of South Yorkshire are able to agree and co-operate with each other to improve the region's overall HS2 connectivity has been blown out of the water. In fact it's hard to understate the treacherous actions of Rotherham and Doncaster councils, who have been whinging to Oakervee about how well Sheffield will be served. They are demanding that the more expensive and risky to build Meadowhall route (abandoned in July 2017) is re-instated for their benefit and the M18 route/Stonebroom spur cancelled. Or else they say (shock horror) they will oppose HS2!

This lot of self-serving clowns make the Chiltern area NIMBYs look calm, reasonable and considerate!

From: https://www.thestar.co.uk/news/polit...ncaster-645950

Quote:
Sheffield Council leader Julie Dore is standing firm on proposals for a city centre HS2 station despite neighbouring leaders renewing calls for Meadowhall to serve the county.

City leaders argued there was a smaller economic case at Meadowhall and any decision to revert to the original proposal would ‘cost jobs’ according to Coun Dore.

The Department for Transport agreed to a city centre station at Midland but critics argued a spur route off the main high speed line near Clay Cross in Derbyshire was not part of the HS2 funding plans as well as the route back onto the line near Goldthorpe in Barnsley.

“Sheffield has always supported a city centre station and believe this is the only viable location that will realise the potential of HS2 to deliver the jobs, regeneration and connectivity that is essential for the future of our economy.

We believe that going back to the Meadowhall proposal would be a bad option for investment, costing jobs“.
Julie Dore is being incredibly restrained (at least in public) considering that the other councils are actively trying to undermine and sabotage the future prosperity of Sheffield. Ironically if the eastern branch is stupidly truncated at Toton then Sheffield can still be reached by HS2 trains via an electrified Erewash Valley route, and overall timings would only increase by 5 minutes.
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Old October 9th, 2019, 08:54 AM   #22544
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Doncaster council kicking off is a bit rich, they've had better services to London and Scotland than Sheffield for as long as the railways have existed. Not to mention the fact that they've had electric trains for 30+ years where as Sheffield has none. The fastest journey from Doncaster to KX is 89 minutes, only a few mins slower than the proposed HS2 journey time for Sheffield.

The idea of an out of town regional hub at Meadowhall is absurd.

For one it's right by one the busiest junctions on the M1, combined with the traffic going to and from Meadowhall shopping centre that sees around 30 million visitors per year, then there’s the traffic from the Arena, centertainment, Ikea, and the retail park. The roads struggle as it is, creating a major station hub there would make it even worse.

Despite the fact that passengers numbers for Sheffield Midland are suppressed (anecdotal evidence suggests this), it still has more passengers per year than all of the South Yorkshire stations combined! Imagine if HS2 were to miss out Leeds city centre in favour of an out of town regional hub for West Yorkshire.
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Old October 9th, 2019, 01:26 PM   #22545
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The idea of an out of town regional hub at Meadowhall is absurd.

For one it's right by one the busiest junctions on the M1, combined with the traffic going to and from Meadowhall shopping centre that sees around 30 million visitors per year, then there’s the traffic from the Arena, centertainment, Ikea, and the retail park. The roads struggle as it is, creating a major station hub there would make it even worse.
Absurd is a bit strong. The Meadowhall site is in the wide flat flood plain of the lower Don Valley with Rotherham on the other side. Fast forward 50 or 100 years and a HS rail station there will, with luck, be in the centre of a Sheffield-Rotherham city region surrounded by advanced manufacturing plants and offices. The current city centre station, by contrast, is already highly constrained and between the cliff of Park Hill and the River Sheaf. The IRR has recently been upgraded but doesn't have much scope for further upgrades.

If Sheffield is going to be successful, it's going to grow to the east. We have to plan infrastructure of this type with longer timescales in mind.
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Old October 9th, 2019, 04:31 PM   #22546
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I imagine that the huge Blackburn Meadows sewage treatment works and biomass power station didn't exactly make the prospect of the land around Meadowhall very ripe for high density development...though the smell would certainly be ripe in an Easterly wind!


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...The Meadowhall site is in the wide flat flood plain of the lower Don Valley with Rotherham on the other side. Fast forward 50 or 100 years and a HS rail station there will......
....be surrounded be flood water!
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Old October 9th, 2019, 05:38 PM   #22547
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Can't say I have a dog in this fight but assuming Eastern leg of HS2 goes through it is absolutely ridiculous that Sheffield would even be considered not to have a City Centre station.

There is a fundamental problem in the way this country is administrated as it always seems the smaller the area the more disproportionate the power.

South Yorkshire is Greater Sheffield and a few towns. It should have most of the say, most of the connections, most of the money, most of the jobs. Rotherham is part of Sheffield's extents, not its centre. Doncaster is a satellite town of Sheffield.

Its also ridiculous that Stoke isn't also connected to HS2. We have major cities in this Country with a rich history and heritage that frankly gets ignored.

Let's stop pussyfooting around provincial political point scoring and let's do best for our major cities that need a high speed rail of some kind. The provinces will benefit from this by way of being part of the cities economic region.
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Old October 9th, 2019, 05:41 PM   #22548
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Taking apart the latest anti Hs2 dross from Adrian Quine and the Adam Smith Institute. https://paulbigland.blog/2019/10/09/...ith-institute/
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Old October 9th, 2019, 07:22 PM   #22549
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Can't say I have a dog in this fight but assuming Eastern leg of HS2 goes through it is absolutely ridiculous that Sheffield would even be considered not to have a City Centre station.

There is a fundamental problem in the way this country is administrated as it always seems the smaller the area the more disproportionate the power.

South Yorkshire is Greater Sheffield and a few towns. It should have most of the say, most of the connections, most of the money, most of the jobs. Rotherham is part of Sheffield's extents, not its centre. Doncaster is a satellite town of Sheffield.

Its also ridiculous that Stoke isn't also connected to HS2. We have major cities in this Country with a rich history and heritage that frankly gets ignored.

Let's stop pussyfooting around provincial political point scoring and let's do best for our major cities that need a high speed rail of some kind. The provinces will benefit from this by way of being part of the cities economic region.
I imagine the argument will be HS2 frees up space on the line into Stoke to have more local services/track upgrades. But the problem with that argument is that it is very vague and until an actual plan is put in place and published to show how these 'offline' places will actually benefit it's all just cheap, meaningless talk.

Going back to my earlier point about producing a very long term plan for a national network having an HS2 duplicate line from Trent Valley into Stoke and then rejoining HS2 at Manchester airport seems like it might be useful.

There should be a plan in place for the area from Liverpool to Preston, Bradford, Leeds, down to Doncaster, Sheffield, Nottingham, Leicester, Coventry, Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Crewe, Chester and back to Liverpool and every city in between to all be connected by fast, frequent and electric railways to complement HS2. With cities outside of this zone being reached by high quality branch line services.
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Old October 10th, 2019, 02:13 PM   #22550
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Originally Posted by Paul Bigland View Post
Taking apart the latest anti Hs2 dross from Adrian Quine and the Adam Smith Institute. https://paulbigland.blog/2019/10/09/...ith-institute/
It almost seems like a badge of honour for these jabbering commentators to not bother doing any meaningful research, just in case they uncover something that might not sit well with their pre-ordained message. The fact is that railway systems are very complex and do take a lot of time to understand properly.

Even if we discount the possibility he is deliberately lying for his pressure group, Quine is probably a personality combination of too lazy and too ignorant to do the research. Meaning that his output on a subject that he barely understands ends up being pure jibberish and riddled with factual errors.

The last seven years following HS2 has taught me that any idiot can write a piece for a national newspaper and make it sound convincing on a superficial level - while talking absolute b*ll*cks! And if they are doing this about HS2 it seems very likely their other output is also likely to be useless.
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Old October 10th, 2019, 02:48 PM   #22551
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Can't say I have a dog in this fight but assuming Eastern leg of HS2 goes through it is absolutely ridiculous that Sheffield would even be considered not to have a City Centre station.

There is a fundamental problem in the way this country is administrated as it always seems the smaller the area the more disproportionate the power.

South Yorkshire is Greater Sheffield and a few towns. It should have most of the say, most of the connections, most of the money, most of the jobs. Rotherham is part of Sheffield's extents, not its centre. Doncaster is a satellite town of Sheffield.

Its also ridiculous that Stoke isn't also connected to HS2. We have major cities in this Country with a rich history and heritage that frankly gets ignored.

Let's stop pussyfooting around provincial political point scoring and let's do best for our major cities that need a high speed rail of some kind. The provinces will benefit from this by way of being part of the cities economic region.
I totally agree with your analysis of Sheffield - it is clearly the most important conurbation in South Yorkshire, by a huge margin. Rotherham is so close that (like Stockport) it is not unreasonable to expect its inhabitants to make the very short journey into Sheffield to catch the HS2 train. Towns like Swinton and Mexborough will have options to catch fast trains from both Doncaster and Sheffield, so the region as a whole will be well served if HS2 is built. Which makes the stance of those parochial local councils appear to us outsiders as very petty, even idiotic. Apparently they have a long history of squabbling!

Sheffield is a large market for rail - probably now up to about a million passengers to/from London each year (was 870,000 six or seven years ago). Stoke however is not in the same league, despite enjoying two very fast trains each hour to Euston. For a variety of reasons the small provincial town of Crewe is more important for HS2 to serve directly. However by also serving Macclesfield and Stafford with the same train HS2 will put Stoke on the HS2 map. A reasonable compromise in my opinion, although the time saving will be modest.
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Old October 10th, 2019, 11:40 PM   #22552
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https://www.itv.com/news/central/201...d-say-sources/
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Old October 11th, 2019, 01:18 AM   #22553
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I'll wait until the review is published, but it would be foolish to believe that the UK could deliver a big infrastructure project like this in the modern era. We haven't had something on this scale since the motorways were built, and without popular appeal like road widening, there's really no surprise.
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Old October 11th, 2019, 01:20 AM   #22554
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I totally agree with your analysis of Sheffield - it is clearly the most important conurbation in South Yorkshire, by a huge margin. Rotherham is so close that (like Stockport) it is not unreasonable to expect its inhabitants to make the very short journey into Sheffield to catch the HS2 train. Towns like Swinton and Mexborough will have options to catch fast trains from both Doncaster and Sheffield, so the region as a whole will be well served if HS2 is built. Which makes the stance of those parochial local councils appear to us outsiders as very petty, even idiotic. Apparently they have a long history of squabbling!

Sheffield is a large market for rail - probably now up to about a million passengers to/from London each year (was 870,000 six or seven years ago). Stoke however is not in the same league, despite enjoying two very fast trains each hour to Euston. For a variety of reasons the small provincial town of Crewe is more important for HS2 to serve directly. However by also serving Macclesfield and Stafford with the same train HS2 will put Stoke on the HS2 map. A reasonable compromise in my opinion, although the time saving will be modest.
We mustn't forget also that the HS2 CC route into Sheffield also serves Chesterfield.

I don't know the figure off hand, but recall 'heat maps' of long-distance rail demand for the 'Greater Sheffield' area and am pretty sure Chesterfield was producing significantly more demand than Rotherham. I suspect this in part is explained by the fact that, anecdotally, a large proportion of relatively wealthy of SW Sheffield itself prefer to drive to Chesterfield station 'against the traffic' than their city centre station. Certainly Higgins opined that Chesterfield had huge potential as an HS2-served town - not sure exactly why he thought that.

Now some might argue that, if HS2 is an opportunity to rebalance the economy, then places like Rotherham deserve a foot up from it, but right or wrong, that's not the way HS2's priorities are decided - they look for more certain revenue based on proven existing demand.
Indeed, on that theme of the inexact science of forecasting future demand:
IIRC, when you look at Sheffield Midland's existing PAX numbers (arguably destinations) it's busy, more than Newcastle and York for instance, but you compare to the London-only figures they're less impressive. I suspect that suggests suppressed demand, which perhaps stems from a slow diesel MML service and some strange timetabling and fare structures on that line (last time I looked anyway - though I don't use it so it might have very recently changed) - which means all the fast (2hr) trains are outside the peak period (more like an unimpressive 2:30hr in the morning peak - just 5 mins shorter than I can get to London from NEWCASTLE on the LNER flying scotsman), and means you pay on-peak price for the return from London unless you wait until about 8 or 9pm, rather than a more usual 6pm.
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Old October 11th, 2019, 02:55 AM   #22555
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We mustn't forget also that the HS2 CC route into Sheffield also serves Chesterfield.

I don't know the figure off hand, but recall 'heat maps' of long-distance rail demand for the 'Greater Sheffield' area and am pretty sure Chesterfield was producing significantly more demand than Rotherham. I suspect this in part is explained by the fact that, anecdotally, a large proportion of relatively wealthy of SW Sheffield itself prefer to drive to Chesterfield station 'against the traffic' than their city centre station. Certainly Higgins opined that Chesterfield had huge potential as an HS2-served town - not sure exactly why he thought that.

Now some might argue that, if HS2 is an opportunity to rebalance the economy, then places like Rotherham deserve a foot up from it, but right or wrong, that's not the way HS2's priorities are decided - they look for more certain revenue based on proven existing demand.
Indeed, on that theme of the inexact science of forecasting future demand:
IIRC, when you look at Sheffield Midland's existing PAX numbers (arguably destinations) it's busy, more than Newcastle and York for instance, but you compare to the London-only figures they're less impressive. I suspect that suggests suppressed demand, which perhaps stems from a slow diesel MML service and some strange timetabling and fare structures on that line (last time I looked anyway - though I don't use it so it might have very recently changed) - which means all the fast (2hr) trains are outside the peak period (more like an unimpressive 2:30hr in the morning peak - just 5 mins shorter than I can get to London from NEWCASTLE on the LNER flying scotsman), and means you pay on-peak price for the return from London unless you wait until about 8 or 9pm, rather than a more usual 6pm.
You remember correctly, the original research published by HS2's consultants back in 2013 showed that a lot of current train users to London do indeed live in the south west suburbs, rather than the denser populated but economically more deprived areas to the north / north east of the city. Many of those users would park and ride, and Chesterfield was well placed to act as a railhead in the mould of Wilmslow, Watford, Runcorn etc. I recall arguing that Meadowhall was in the wrong place for them. I do in fact wonder if a Dore Parkway station might be even better situated for them than Chesterfield?

If the will was there (and backed up by a business case) then as I've pointed out before, it would be no big deal to extend the HS2 train another 5.5 miles to terminate in the spare platform on the west side at Rotherham Masborough. It could even call at the existing Meadowhall station. There are of course pathing constraints north of Sheffield Midland, but it is possible. However I doubt the demand would be sufficient until the area was redeveloped.

There is no doubt the painfully slow morning 'expresses' from Midland do reduce levels of demand. I suspect many from the SCR choose these trains instead.

Quote:
Departs at 05:51 Retford [RET] 1h 39m

Arrives 07:30 London Kings Cross [KGX] Single Fare £88.50 Anytime


Departs at 06:51 Retford [RET] 1h 40m

Arrives 08:31 London Kings Cross [KGX] Single Fare £88.50 Anytime


Departs at 07:41 Retford [RET] 1h 34m

Arrives 09:15 London Kings Cross [KGX] Single Fare £77.50 Anytime
What's more, every train from Sheffield arriving St Pancras before 11am is considerably more expensive than the much faster LNER service from Retford - the anytime fare is £100.50!!! That explains a lot.....
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Old October 11th, 2019, 03:05 AM   #22556
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And to save £15 for a similar journey time to London from Sheffield Midland (157 minutes) , do this to connect with the 07.41 LNER express from Retford.

Quote:
Departs this morning at 06:38 Sheffield [SHF]
Journey - 42m Arrives 07:20 Retford [RET]

CHEAPEST FARE - Single Fare £8.00
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Old October 11th, 2019, 08:26 AM   #22557
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HS2 General Thread (All Phases/Discussion)

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Originally Posted by NewcastleOwl View Post
We mustn't forget also that the HS2 CC route into Sheffield also serves Chesterfield.

I don't know the figure off hand, but recall 'heat maps' of long-distance rail demand for the 'Greater Sheffield' area and am pretty sure Chesterfield was producing significantly more demand than Rotherham. I suspect this in part is explained by the fact that, anecdotally, a large proportion of relatively wealthy of SW Sheffield itself prefer to drive to Chesterfield station 'against the traffic' than their city centre station. Certainly Higgins opined that Chesterfield had huge potential as an HS2-served town - not sure exactly why he thought that.

Now some might argue that, if HS2 is an opportunity to rebalance the economy, then places like Rotherham deserve a foot up from it, but right or wrong, that's not the way HS2's priorities are decided - they look for more certain revenue based on proven existing demand.
Indeed, on that theme of the inexact science of forecasting future demand:
IIRC, when you look at Sheffield Midland's existing PAX numbers (arguably destinations) it's busy, more than Newcastle and York for instance, but you compare to the London-only figures they're less impressive. I suspect that suggests suppressed demand, which perhaps stems from a slow diesel MML service and some strange timetabling and fare structures on that line (last time I looked anyway - though I don't use it so it might have very recently changed) - which means all the fast (2hr) trains are outside the peak period (more like an unimpressive 2:30hr in the morning peak - just 5 mins shorter than I can get to London from NEWCASTLE on the LNER flying scotsman), and means you pay on-peak price for the return from London unless you wait until about 8 or 9pm, rather than a more usual 6pm.


I live in south east Sheffield and travel to London often. Tbf in the past 6 months I am varying where I start my tickets from - Sheffield, Retford or Doncaster. Often it’s quicker from on the east coast mainline stations although I know the extra travel isn’t good. I think there is a big suppressed demand on top of the numbers quoted.
I suspect it would make sense from Rotherham and the Dearne Valley and Barnsley to use Doncaster to London as the east coast mainline is a quicker service than the slower midland mainline departing from Sheffield.
If the service from Sheffield was slightly quicker than Doncaster I think the numbers travelling to London from Sheffield could grow by upto 50 percent pulling back some consumers in the scr using Chesterfield and the east coast mainline stations, plus new users based on the new better service and the numbers could rocket.
The current plans obviously still supress demand from Sheffield as it would be quicker from Leeds (35 miles north) of Sheffield to London.
Finally when looking at train usership from Shefffield station 10 million per year - this figure is misleading. The number of trains that can use Midland is suppressed by the northern throat issues, Dore single track section on the mainline to Manchester and poor station layout.
I think there are only 4 local stations in Sheffield. My local station Woodhouse has approx 1 train per hour. I used to work in Birmingham and was amazed by their local train network coming from Sheffield where basically there isn’t one.
If the journey to London / Manchester were brought up to the 20th century standards and a local network was created - the numbers we are talking could really be far far higher.

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Old October 11th, 2019, 12:08 PM   #22558
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I don't know what to make of this rumour that the eastern arm is to be cancelled. My suspicion is that it is expectation management - they are preparing us for bad news about the project by hinting at even worse news. Maybe the whole project will go ahead as planned - saved by Boris on his white charger.

However, if the eastern arm is to be cancelled, would that be a bad thing? I don't think it would and, whilst I wouldn't expect to make too many friends on the east side of the Pennines, I believe there are sound reasons for opposing the construction of this arm.

My starting point, for obvious reasons, has to be the service that is being proposed for Liverpool but I believe there are wider implications.

Leaving out the contentious issue of a branch to Liverpool, what HS2 has planned since Phase II was announced is that our city be served by two 200m long conventional compatible services. The original plan was that one joined the HS2 western arm south of Crewe and that the second went via the WCML to Lichfield stopping at Stafford.

With the publication of the Crewe Hub proposals, the situation has improved a bit as that Lichfield service has been eliminated and there will now be two services per hour joining the HS2 route south of Crewe. To achieve that, Stoke and Stafford will now be served by an hourly service from Macclesfield, which seems to be an odd location from which to start a high speed train service.

The down side for Liverpool is that one or maybe both of our hourly services will now have to split and join with another service at Crewe, which will introduce both a delay and reliability issues.

Another moan that we have in Liverpool is that there is currently a need to double our London service to two per hour and this is being sought via the west coast franchise agreement. If that goes ahead then we will be in the position that, on the commencement of HS2 services, two 260m long Pendolinos per hour will be replaced by two 200m long conventional compatible units. We will experience a reduction in capacity.

There is a statistic that I can't confirm but which I have heard from some high level sources and that is that Liverpool to London rail passengers now exceed those from Leeds. If that is the case then it is fairly odd that Leeds will have three times the passenger capacity when HS2 is completed (thanks to its three 400m long captive services).

I think that the fundamental issue is that of capacity. HS2, as planned, will have seventeen train paths per hour. That combination of linespeed and capacity is not, to my knowledge, exceeded anywhere else in the world.

One last point about Liverpool. We have a local rail service called Merseyrail that has a maximum fifteen minute interval on seven of its eight branches. With that interval you get what I understand transport planners call a 'walk on' service. Your day isn't governed by the train timetable. At worse you will arrive at a station to find your train just leaving and you will be faced with a fifteen minute wait. People will generally live with that, if the interval increases then the convenience diminishes and other modes will appear more competitive.

At the very least, you would expect such a service between Birmingham and London and very likely Manchester and London. (Not necessarily 400m long services - maybe four 200m services - at least in the early years).

Add to that the general increase in population and, in particular, the population of our city centres - which is burgeoning at the moment.

Finally, how about those places currently served by the WCML but not by HS2? I'm thinking of the North Wales coast which currently has direct trains to London but, in future will need a change at Crewe to make use of the HS2 service.

Totting that up, if we are, in future, to have four trains to Birmingham, stay at three for Manchester, three for Liverpool (200m long C.C.), two to Glasgow / Edinburgh, one to Holyhead, one to Macclesfield and one to Preston via Warrington that gives fifteen services per hour which is probably as good as is achieved anywhere else. Does it really make sense to add Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield, York, Newcastle, Nottingham and Derby to that mix? Do we want a railway that is struggling for capacity from Day One?

In fact, if the eastern arm were to be removed, that would improve things at the London end. It would make the OOC terminal that much more viable or reduce the size of the expanded Euston and the need for Crossrail 2 to cope with its increased passenger load.

By all means connect the eastern half of the country by a high speed train line but make it separate from HS2 and spread the cost over a much longer period. (The east coast has long benefitted by the superbly engineered ECML with its relatively flat alignment).
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Old October 11th, 2019, 12:37 PM   #22559
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The superbly engineered ECML which is relatively flat!

Have you traveled much on the ECML?

*North of York are signaling issues with the Azuma interfering with the points.
*Insufficient power on overhead lines north of Newcastle
*curves inclines and declines via Berwick with speed restrictions on most parts of these lines.

And you want cost spread over even longer periods!

HS rail should be the benefit of a nation, not just a few. But it's not It's being built to connect the Big 3. If it was about capacity it would serve a nation yet its about speed to connect London, Birmingham, and Manchester to drive their economies.
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Old October 11th, 2019, 12:56 PM   #22560
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Originally Posted by Martin S View Post
I don't know what to make of this rumour that the eastern arm is to be cancelled. My suspicion is that it is expectation management - they are preparing us for bad news about the project by hinting at even worse news. Maybe the whole project will go ahead as planned - saved by Boris on his white charger.

However, if the eastern arm is to be cancelled, would that be a bad thing? I don't think it would and, whilst I wouldn't expect to make too many friends on the east side of the Pennines, I believe there are sound reasons for opposing the construction of this arm.

My starting point, for obvious reasons, has to be the service that is being proposed for Liverpool but I believe there are wider implications.

Leaving out the contentious issue of a branch to Liverpool, what HS2 has planned since Phase II was announced is that our city be served by two 200m long conventional compatible services. The original plan was that one joined the HS2 western arm south of Crewe and that the second went via the WCML to Lichfield stopping at Stafford.

With the publication of the Crewe Hub proposals, the situation has improved a bit as that Lichfield service has been eliminated and there will now be two services per hour joining the HS2 route south of Crewe. To achieve that, Stoke and Stafford will now be served by an hourly service from Macclesfield, which seems to be an odd location from which to start a high speed train service.

The down side for Liverpool is that one or maybe both of our hourly services will now have to split and join with another service at Crewe, which will introduce both a delay and reliability issues.

Another moan that we have in Liverpool is that there is currently a need to double our London service to two per hour and this is being sought via the west coast franchise agreement. If that goes ahead then we will be in the position that, on the commencement of HS2 services, two 260m long Pendolinos per hour will be replaced by two 200m long conventional compatible units. We will experience a reduction in capacity.

There is a statistic that I can't confirm but which I have heard from some high level sources and that is that Liverpool to London rail passengers now exceed those from Leeds. If that is the case then it is fairly odd that Leeds will have three times the passenger capacity when HS2 is completed (thanks to its three 400m long captive services).

I think that the fundamental issue is that of capacity. HS2, as planned, will have seventeen train paths per hour. That combination of linespeed and capacity is not, to my knowledge, exceeded anywhere else in the world.

One last point about Liverpool. We have a local rail service called Merseyrail that has a maximum fifteen minute interval on seven of its eight branches. With that interval you get what I understand transport planners call a 'walk on' service. Your day isn't governed by the train timetable. At worse you will arrive at a station to find your train just leaving and you will be faced with a fifteen minute wait. People will generally live with that, if the interval increases then the convenience diminishes and other modes will appear more competitive.

At the very least, you would expect such a service between Birmingham and London and very likely Manchester and London. (Not necessarily 400m long services - maybe four 200m services - at least in the early years).

Add to that the general increase in population and, in particular, the population of our city centres - which is burgeoning at the moment.

Finally, how about those places currently served by the WCML but not by HS2? I'm thinking of the North Wales coast which currently has direct trains to London but, in future will need a change at Crewe to make use of the HS2 service.

Totting that up, if we are, in future, to have four trains to Birmingham, stay at three for Manchester, three for Liverpool (200m long C.C.), two to Glasgow / Edinburgh, one to Holyhead, one to Macclesfield and one to Preston via Warrington that gives fifteen services per hour which is probably as good as is achieved anywhere else. Does it really make sense to add Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield, York, Newcastle, Nottingham and Derby to that mix? Do we want a railway that is struggling for capacity from Day One?

In fact, if the eastern arm were to be removed, that would improve things at the London end. It would make the OOC terminal that much more viable or reduce the size of the expanded Euston and the need for Crossrail 2 to cope with its increased passenger load.

By all means connect the eastern half of the country by a high speed train line but make it separate from HS2 and spread the cost over a much longer period. (The east coast has long benefitted by the superbly engineered ECML with its relatively flat alignment).
To summarise - cancel the East branch to benefit Liverpool -?
You mention the ECML which is great - at least compared to the Midland Mainline. You mention a number of Eastern cities that don't need adding to the mix. Do you know the ECML doesn't serve Bradford / Sheffield / Nottingham or Derby on the list of cities you mention - but all would benefit from HS2?
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