SkyscraperCity banner

1 - 20 of 113 Posts

·
Just Relax
Joined
·
22,604 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Looks like some real momentum is gathering behind a major upgrade of northern transport links. Hot on the heels of Osborne's speech last month calling for infrastructure upgrades we have this. I'm sure it will have been co-ordinated.

Five northern cities set to outline £15bn transport plan


Chancellor George Osborne has called for transport investment to boost cities including Manchester

Five cities in the North of England are to unveil a £15bn plan to improve road and rail connections in the region.

The joint One North report will include plans for a new 125mph inter-city rail link, faster links and better access to ports and airports.

It has been developed by an alliance of five cities - Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield.

It comes after George Osborne said faster links could create a "northern global powerhouse".

The report will be presented to the chancellor in Manchester later.

In a speech in June the chancellor said the cities in the north of England were individually strong but were "collectively not strong enough".

He said better road and rail links would allow cities across northern England to "take on the world", as London had done.

Speaking earlier, Mr Osborne said: "We need to make sure we have got a northern powerhouse so that our economy in this country is not unbalanced - we are not wholly dependent on the success of the global city that is London.

"But we have across the North of England individual cities that are better connected, that have a better quality of life and that are able therefore to generate economic activity across our United Kingdom."


The report has also been developed by representatives from Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle and Sheffield (cities shown clockwise from top left)

The report has also been developed by representatives from Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle and Sheffield (cities shown clockwise from top left)
Shadow Treasury minister Shabana Mahmood said: "We welcome this report and the city regions of the North of England working together to strategically plan to deliver the growth and jobs we need.

"But only Labour will properly back our city and county regions with ambitious plans to devolve more funding and economic power to them."

BBC Look North reporter Sarah Corker said the One North report would describe how faster links from east to west in northern England could provide a huge boost to the economy and create jobs.

She said it was an "ambitious transport plan with the aim of transforming road and rail connections between the northern cities and unlocking the area's economic potential".

She added that council leaders in northern cities had argued for years the transport links in the region have been far too slow and inferior compared to those in the south of England.

'Better connectivity'

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said the government could not forget the North if it was serious about rebalancing the economy.

He said: "When we talk about economic powerhouses, Manchester and Liverpool, if you just take those two cities in the North together, of course we are one economic powerhouse, it is just we haven't got the connectivity."

He said £350m was being invested in building a super-port which would allow freight from the east to come directly to the UK.

Mr Anderson went on: "We want the capacity, the ability to ship that freight further north, east and across to Hull and the Humber.

"It's right that if we are seriously talking about rebalancing the economy, that we have to create better connectivity between our northern cities."

In June, the chancellor said a so-called HS3 should be considered as part of a review into the second phase of the HS2 high-speed rail project.

He said HS3 could cut the journey time between Leeds and Manchester from about 50 minutes to 30 minutes, with trains travelling at up to 140mph, compared with the current maximum of 90mph.

The plan for a high-speed rail link connecting the cities could cost up to £7bn - but could be cheaper if existing rail lines were updated, he added.
Link
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,366 Posts
As with anything there are bits I really like about the plan, and bits where a lack of information leaves me slightly concerned. The general principle of a new 125mph line under the Pennines north of Sheffield and south of Leeds connecting into HS2 is one I support. I also like the idea of building a single line to both Liverpool and Manchester Airport, as it avoids the awkward situation expressed in the current TPE consultation, where trains from Yorkshire can serve one or other but not both. I also like that this relieves capacity through the Manchester hub by diverting the fast Liverpool-Airport, Liverpool-Leeds and Liverpool-Yorkshire services away from Piccadilly. I also wonder whether Scotland-Man Airport services could be diverted this way too providing better trans-Pennine connectivity from Scotland, Central Lancashire and Cumbria?

An obvious area of question though is how wise it is to remove central Manchester and Leeds from the fast trans-Pennine journeys? Without a West Yorkshire parkway Liverpool-Newcastle services will only stop at Manchester Airport between Liverpool and York. This does appear to miss out most major population and business centres in the region, and I do wonder whether some through services via Piccadilly or Leeds City would have to be retained to make these services viable?

The other piece of information we're missing appears to me to be the most important; detail on the cross-city rail links. The economic appraisals that underlie the case for this project make the observation that intra-city region rail link improvements would have a bigger economic impact than improved inter-city links (at least where Manchester and Leeds are concerned). But what form would these take, and what infrastructure would they require. By diverting the east-west mainline away from the Manchester Hub and Leeds City we can presume that more capacity here would be available for 'local' journeys. But what form would these local services take? As nerd has pointed out elsewhere, a key objective is to improve connectivity between secondary centres and the major cities. Is it possible to provide a service that allows fast links between places like Bradford/Wakefield etc. and Manchester and points beyond, while also running more intensive services over the local lines? What will passengers in Huddersfield or Warrington think about losing their fast east-west services to Liverpool or Leeds. Drawing up a final scheme will require sensitive political handling to balance these varying interests against one another.

We'll have to see what David Higgins produces to get a look at a more realistic series of projects.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,723 Posts
An obvious area of question though is how wise it is to remove central Manchester and Leeds from the fast trans-Pennine journeys? Without a West Yorkshire parkway Liverpool-Newcastle services will only stop at Manchester Airport between Liverpool and York. This does appear to miss out most major population and business centres in the region, and I do wonder whether some through services via Piccadilly or Leeds City would have to be retained to make these services viable?
It doesn't make much sense to me either - the relative proximity of Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds means that that most cost-effective solution has to have trains calling at all three IMHO.

Now if Manchester Airport really is considered to be so important as a railhead then perhaps the HS3 route from Liverpool should head south of the M62, skirt the north of Warrington and join HS2 a few miles south of the new airport station? It could then share the HS2 tunnel almost all the way to Piccadilly but remain below the surface - calling at through platforms situated directly under the HS2 terminus at Piccadilly.

I think the 125mph maximum quoted is a little low TBH - 140/150mph feels right considering the distances involved between stops.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,961 Posts
I'd love to see a map mocked up, if anyone can.

Lime St - MAN - Man Picc is quite a journey, even at 125mph.

If tied in with HS2, it would face the wrong way at Piccadilly. If not, it'd clog up the Styal line, and still face the wrong way. Unless it went then north up HS2 towards Wigan/Newton le Willows/wherever and then rejoined the CLC towards Victoria? Ludicrous dog-leg though.

I'm not sure about the airport inclusion here. And without Manchester and Leeds centres, there's no point of this railway at all.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,723 Posts
I'd love to see a map mocked up, if anyone can.

Lime St - MAN - Man Picc is quite a journey, even at 125mph.

If tied in with HS2, it would face the wrong way at Piccadilly. If not, it'd clog up the Styal line, and still face the wrong way. Unless it went then north up HS2 towards Wigan/Newton le Willows/wherever and then rejoined the CLC towards Victoria? Ludicrous dog-leg though.

I'm not sure about the airport inclusion here. And without Manchester and Leeds centres, there's no point of this railway at all.
Yes, you're right - LIV-MAP-MAN is going to take about 30 minutes, no matter what alignment is used, asuming a 2 minute stop at the airport. Not exactly transformative.

No offence to Sheffield, but I believe any trans-pennine line should clearly serve the Manchester - Leeds corridor with south facing links to the HS2 mainline in the vicinity of Leeds. This would allow a fairly quick Liverpool - Manchester - Sheffield routing even though the indirect route distance would be quite high.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,366 Posts
The report quotes 20 minute Liverpool-Manchester journeys, so I'd expect some Liverpool-Manchester fast journeys to continue, and if you're running them that far why not continue them to Leeds/Shef via the new fast line?

From my memory of the Rail North plan, they want 2 fast trains an hour from each of The five big cities to each other and Manchester Airport. By giving Manchester this southern bypass you make this possible without overloading the Styal line or the Machester Hub because 4 of the Trans Pennine services each hour go via MAN. But you'd still have another 4 Manc-Leeds and 2 -Manc-Sheffield to run to/through central Manchester.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,805 Posts
.
I think the blandness and illogicality come from having five authors for the report, one for each city.

Each wants its points in there and no contradiction from the other four cities, even if they don't actually agree.


The idea of putting HS3 through Manchester airport would, of course, have come from Manchester, and the others have gone along with it.

As has been argued through on the HS2 thread here, on reflection it is not a good idea.


If all five cities are not prepared to compromise, their joint strategic work is doomed.


.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,366 Posts
I think the blandness and illogicality come from having five authors for the report, one for each city. Each wants its points in there, and no contradiction from the other four authors, even if they don't actually agree. Putting HS3 through Manchester airport would, of course, have come from Manchester, and the others have gone along with it. As has been argued through on the HS2 thread here, on reflection it is not a good idea. If all five cities are not prepared to compromise, the joint work is doomed.
I'd actually have thought that taking the line to Manchester Airport would be one area all the cities would agree on. Fast links to a globally connected airport is useful for every city. That doesn't make it a god idea, but it's understandable why they want it.

The cities obviously are prepared to compromise, the problem I would say is that that compromise does not necessarily produce the most effective transport network. It will be for David Higgins to pick through this buffet of ideas to find those that actually do what they're supposed to and support the benefits if HS2.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,723 Posts
In June, the chancellor said a so-called HS3 should be considered as part of a review into the second phase of the HS2 high-speed rail project.

He said HS3 could cut the journey time between Leeds and Manchester from about 50 minutes to 30 minutes, with trains travelling at up to 140mph, compared with the current maximum of 90mph.
Actually this is remarkably unambitious and in no way 'high speed'. In fact as an average speed it is barely any faster than a time achieved by the steam hauled 'Cheltenham Flyer' way back in 1932 (81mph).

We know full well what can be achieved on existing Inter-City lines with 125mph electric trains - two good examples are Darlington - York (44.1 miles) and Stevenage - Peterborough (48.8 miles). Manchester Victoria to Leeds is currently 43.9 miles but a direct tunnel allows some reduction in that, to between 40 and 41 miles. If so an existing IC train not exceeding 125mph could manage that comfortably in 24 or 25 minutes non-stop.

Speed of course in just one element - transportation needs to be frequent, accessible and affordable. However if we want to create a modal shift to public transport the speed element is important. 24/25 minutes would give rail a huge advantage over road and will encourage economic activitty simply because it opens up new ways of working and commuting.
 

·
Richard
Joined
·
1,332 Posts
The problem is that Manchester Airport isn't in a logical place for an E-W link to run through - you end up with trains going to either Manchester or the Airport, but not both.

Unless you're proposing to move the airport, of course!

I'm guessing they're looking at a tunnel roughly (purest crayonista stuff, this) Stalybridge-Holmfirth, with the line continuing above ground to meet HS2 somewhere between Barnsley and Wakefield, and the road-freight terminals on the M67 and the M1.

Drive to M1 J38, rail to M67 J4 and then drive from there might be competitive with the M62 for a lot of journeys. And they can probably close all the passes between the M62 and A623 to lorries (ie weight-limit the roads through Woodhead, Snake and Hope Valley). It's certainly going to be appealing for anyone coming north on the M1 from anywhere north of the M1/M6 junction, and possibly (depending on price) from south of there, as it should be easier/faster than Spaghetti Junction and may be price-competitive with the M6 Toll.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,199 Posts
They give these city-city journey times:

Liverpool - Manchester: 20 mins
Liverpool - Manchester Airport: 30 mins
Manchester - Manchester Airport: 10 mins
Sheffield - Manchester Airport: 30 mins
Sheffield - Manchester: 30 mins
Sheffield - Leeds: 30 mins
Manchester - Leeds: 30 mins
Newcastle - Leeds: 60 mins

It seems that the Liverpool access to Manchester Airport would be via Manchester City Centre, but Sheffield's is via an avoiding route. Liverpool - Manchester Airport in 20 minutes ought to be possible if you go direct.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,366 Posts
They give these city-city journey times: Liverpool - Manchester: 20 mins Liverpool - Manchester Airport: 30 mins Manchester - Manchester Airport: 10 mins Sheffield - Manchester Airport: 30 mins Sheffield - Manchester: 30 mins Sheffield - Leeds: 30 mins Manchester - Leeds: 30 mins Newcastle - Leeds: 60 mins It seems that the Liverpool access to Manchester Airport would be via Manchester City Centre, but Sheffield's is via an avoiding route. Liverpool - Manchester Airport in 20 minutes ought to be possible if you go direct.
I think Liverpool is also an avoiding route, one that just happens to be no faster than the via through Manchester route. If you look at the diagram it shows services from Yorkshire carrying on past the Airport to Liverpool.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,723 Posts
I'm guessing they're looking at a tunnel roughly (purest crayonista stuff, this) Stalybridge-Holmfirth, with the line continuing above ground to meet HS2 somewhere between Barnsley and Wakefield, and the road-freight terminals on the M67 and the M1.

Drive to M1 J38, rail to M67 J4 and then drive from there might be competitive with the M62 for a lot of journeys. And they can probably close all the passes between the M62 and A623 to lorries (ie weight-limit the roads through Woodhead, Snake and Hope Valley). It's certainly going to be appealing for anyone coming north on the M1 from anywhere north of the M1/M6 junction, and possibly (depending on price) from south of there, as it should be easier/faster than Spaghetti Junction and may be price-competitive with the M6 Toll.
The idea of lorry shuttles sharing the tracks is a bit pie-in-the-sky TBH. It can only work where 1) there is no road alternative (the Channel) or 2) where a political decision is made to force all lorries off unsuitable roads onto the shuttles (the Swiss solution). Although one advantage is that rail freight over the Pennines would be handed an advantage.

Of course if you start running heavy and slow accelerating lorry shuttles at a maximum of (say) 87mph then you will decimate the line capacity for the frequent 125mph express trains. You could try running the shuttles at up to 100mph but the time benefits would be modest and the electricity bill would become horrendous!

The people who wrote this don't seem to know much about the reality of running railways.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20,789 Posts
Yeah, there isnt a lot of push in the strategy for Liverpool HS2 though its mentioned along with improved east-west suburban liverpool rail services, Liverpools influence seems to be focused on pushing for the freight angle with coast to coast freight services. However depending where a Liverpool HS2 dual use spur is built that could offer services to the airport bypassing Manchester city centre. Gotthard manages 160mph services while being dual freight/passenger and the freight likely wouldnt run in peaks. Its also doubtful that the freight would be loaded at the first terminal and unloaded at the second. More likely you would see freight for Newcastle, Hull, Liverpool etc...

Ultimately I dont think they are actually proposing to directly use HS2 infrastructure at any point for services. The new Transpennine line on the eastern side would use the HS2 alignment for cost synergy and to acclerate construction timescales but would have its own tracks, they want the Leeds terminus moved to the existing rail station for transpennine/HS2 interchange so they arent thinking of using HS2 there for transpennine services. Between Manchester and Liverpool it would use existing tracks though ideally a Liverpool HS2 spur could be taken advantage of for passenger services as it wouldnt have particularly heavy traffic anyway freeing the existing lines for some more of the increased freight they are chasing.

So what it looks like their proposing from a service point of view is trunk tunnel which splits on the west side to Manchester and Manchester Airport and on the east side for Leeds and Sheffield. Airport would be a Transpennine terminal much like it is today but freight would continue onwards to Liverpool or join the WCML.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,961 Posts
The irony of having 5 authors, one from each city - when the overarching message and objective is unity and to connect and operate as a single multi-urban conglomeration to attract business and compete with London, Paris, Ruhr, Randstad etc. Predictably laughable.

Elect/appoint a board, businessmen not politicians, not from any of the cities' political entities or governments, not with any political party positions, pay them well, let them objectively decide what's best.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,366 Posts
As I've pointed out before, multi-centric agglomeration isn't something that appears to work anyway, at least not in the way the politicians like to talk about it as a collection of equal entities. This report seems to be driven not by jockeying for precedence, but by a desire not to indicate any asymmetry between the various cities at all; all 5 cities are equally important and all cities' priorities are equally worthwhile.

This is clearly rubbish, but it appears to be a necessary fiction.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,199 Posts
Which is why the Liverpool - Sheffield route bypasses Manchester City Centre - can't have all new routes opened with the transpennine tunnel being Manchester radials as that would make Manchester the most important.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,805 Posts


'




So is this what the 'plan' does, in addition to HS2 (shown in yellow)?

Liverpool gets a captive line out of it though (orange).



This is just diagrammatic - the Liverpool line would likely not be a clover-leaf across HS2, but leave HS2 a bit further north than to Manchester.


But the consensus on this thread seems to be that Liverpool to Leeds, NOT via Manchester city centre, is not viable. Is that so?

They get round the fact that Liverpool-(Manchester airport)-Manchester is so slow, because of the extra distance, by not actually running such trains!


The same non-viability with Manchester/Liverpool to Newcastle not calling at Leeds means that they DO call at Leeds, I presume.


But surely Liverpool cannot support a frequent high-speed service to Leeds - albeit via the airport - separate to one to Manchester by another route, and this is what kills this design, doesn't it?

.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,249 Posts
No offence to Sheffield, but I believe any trans-pennine line should clearly serve the Manchester - Leeds corridor with south facing links to the HS2 mainline in the vicinity of Leeds. This would allow a fairly quick Liverpool - Manchester - Sheffield routing even though the indirect route distance would be quite high.
No offence to you, but f**k off.

Sheffield deserves better links to Manchester over Leeds, we don't even have a motorway.
 
1 - 20 of 113 Posts
Top