SkyscraperCity banner
1 - 20 of 351 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,638 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Major new rail lines considered

21 June
BBC News

Five new high-speed main lines crossing the width and breadth of the UK may be built as part of a review of the rail network, Network Rail says.

The network operator will announce on Monday it is to commission a study looking into what could be the largest track build since the 19th century.

The study will consider laying new lines alongside five of the UK's busiest routes by 2025.

They include the East Coast main line and West Coast main line.

Record numbers

The review will also assess the need for high speed trains similar to the French TGV to cope with Britain's growing number of rail users.

In the last decade, passenger numbers have risen by about 40% with more people travelling by rail than at any time since 1946.

In addition, numbers are expected to swell by a further 30% in the next 10 years.

The study being commissioned by Network Rail will look at the service in the post-2014 period, with all options "on the table".

If given the go-ahead, the new lines are likely to run alongside some of the UK's busiest existing routes.

They include the West Coast line to Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow, the East Coast main line to Edinburgh, the Great Western main line to Cardiff and Penzance, the Midland main line to Sheffield and the Chiltern route to Birmingham.

A spokesman for Network Rail said: "We are looking at these five strategic routes. We are possibly looking at new lines.

"There is a huge case to be made for an expansion of the rail network. All options are on the table looking at how we address capacity issues."

Richard Dyer, transport campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: "Expanding Britain's railways by building new high speed lines is potentially very exciting - and could play an important role in weaning Britain off fossil fuels and developing a low carbon economy.

"But the overall impact that this would have on local people and the environment must be carefully considered.

"The UK needs a modern, comprehensive and affordable rail network to provide a real alternative to cars, lorries and short haul flights, and help cut Britain's contribution to global climate change.

"Our creaking railway system desperately requires huge investment to bring it into the 21st century."

Ashwin Kumar, passenger director of independent watchdog for rail users Passenger Focus, said: "We welcome the study. It is extremely important the rail industry anticipates future growth."





Network Rail to consider five new high-speed lines

21 June
The Times

Five new main railway lines could be built across Britain to tackle growing passenger numbers on the train network.

Plans for Britain's biggest railway building work for more than 100 years could see high-speed lines, similar to the link between London St Pancras to the Channel Tunnel, being used nationwide for domestic services for the first time.

It is hoped the new lines would-free up space on existing services and help cope with a projected 30 per cent rise in passenger numbers over the next decade. There has already been a 40 per cent increase in people using the rail network in the last 10 years.

The lines would run alongside the existing rail network, in a similar way to the French TGV network.

The suggestions are among those being considered in a strategic review by Network Rail, which owns and operates the rail network.

The study, which will be announced on Monday, will look at whether high-speed lines are a feasible alternative to the current operating system and will generally examine ways to improve services over the next 20 years.

It will target the country's five busiest lines in and out of London, estimated to be at full capacity by 2025, which are the West Coast line to Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow; the East Coast line to Edinburgh; the Great Western to Bristol; the Midland main line to Sheffield; and the Chiltern route to Birmingham.

Any proposals considered in the review would not come into effect until after 2014. A Network Rail spokesman said: “We are looking at these five strategic routes. We are possibly looking at new lines. There is a huge case to be made for an expansion of the rail network. All options are on the table looking at how we address capacity issues.”

Richard Dyer, transport campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said a modernised rail system was long overdue and could mean fewer cars, lorries and internal flights.

He labelled the proposals for new high-speed lines as "very exciting", but said the effect on the countryside must be taken in to account.

“Expanding Britain’s railways by building new high speed lines is potentially very exciting - and could play an important role in weaning Britain off fossil fuels and developing a low carbon economy," Mr Dyer said of the Network Rail study

“But the overall impact that this would have on local people and the environment must be carefully considered. The UK needs a modern, comprehensive and affordable rail network to provide a real alternative to cars, lorries and short haul flights, and help cut Britain’s contribution to global climate change.

“Our creaking railway system desperately requires huge investment to bring it into the 21st century.”

The review was also welcomed by rail users watchdog Passenger Focus. Director Ashwin Kumar said: "It is extremely important the rail industry anticipates future growth."

The country's first high-speed link opened in 2003 between London Waterloo and the Channel Tunnel, and was completed last year when services began operating out of London St Pancras in November.

The line has cut journey times from the capital to Paris by 40 minutes, and domestic high-speed services from Ashford and Ebbsfleet in Kent are expected to begin in 2010.

Britain's last main railway line to be built before this was the Great Central Main Line which linked Sheffield with Marylebone station, which opened in 1899.



High speed trains planned in UK railway blueprint

21 June
The Telegraph

Rail passengers could see journey times across Britain slashed under proposals to build a series of high-speed tracks similar to Japan's Shinkansen "bullet trains" or the French TGV.

The Daily Telegraph has learnt that executives at Network Rail are to draw up a blueprint to criss-cross the country with hundreds of miles of new track in the biggest railway building programme since the industry's Victorian heyday.

This could see six inter-city lines being built, of which several would be dedicated to trains capable of travelling at 186 miles per hour.

Network Rail chiefs say the case for expanding the railways has been bolstered by the need to cut dependency on oil and environmental demands to reduce domestic air travel.

Iain Coucher, Network Rail's chief executive, will announce a study next week on the shape of the industry beyond 2014. The results will be presented to ministers next summer.

If his plans are accepted, construction on the lines could begin towards the end of the next decade.

The likeliest candidates for high-speed track are two lines running through the spine of the country, one from London to Glasgow and the other along the east coast to Edinburgh.

Four others are also under consideration: from London to south Wales; London to Cornwall; London to Birmingham through the Cotswolds and from the capital to Sheffield.

The London to Sheffield line could connect to the high-speed Channel Tunnel line and then on to the European network.

Other lines, such as Reading to Oxford, could also be upgraded.

Mr Coucher said the need is partly because existing infrastructure is incapable of handling rising demand.

"Trains are becoming fuller," he said. "We have been able to put more on the network, going up from 17,000 to 22,000 a day.

"Then trains could be lengthened from eight to 10 to 12 carriages. But after that you reach the point where other steps are needed."

The greatest pressure is expected to be on the lines linking London to "dormitory towns".

It has left Network Rail trying to work out how it can cope with a surge in the number of passengers coming into London from stations such as Milton Keynes, Rugby and Peterborough.

This, Mr Coucher believes, will mean building lines dedicated solely to high-speed trains running between Britain's major cities.

Taking inter-city trains off existing tracks would enable Network Rail to double the number of services between commuter hubs.

These trains would run at speeds of 100mph.

"Instead of one train an hour with 1,000 seats I could put on two," Mr Coucher told The Daily Telegraph.

There would also be more capacity for freight trains, allowing goods to be transferred from road to rail – in turn easing pressure on the country's motorway network.

"With the popularity of rail growing, we have to start planning for the medium and long-term future today," Mr Coucher said.

"We have a thriving railway today and that must continue and grow to meet the economic and environmental needs of tomorrow's Great Britain.

"The price will be very large, but the benefit this will bring to Britain in terms of the economy and environment will be huge."


Perhaps this could be relevant:


LCR chief is approached for Network Rail position

17 June
The Telegraph

Rob Holden, the chief executive of London & Continental Railways (LCR), has been approached by headhunters seeking a new chairman for Network Rail.

Mr Holden, who was responsible for the construction of the £5.8bn high-speed line to the Channel Tunnel, has been sounded out as a replacement for Sir Ian McAllister. Sir Ian, 64, a former chairman and managing director of Ford UK, has chaired Network Rail since it took over from Railtrack in October 2002.

Mr Holden, who is in his early 50s, is understood to have been approached by headhunter Egon Zehnder several weeks ago and expressed an interest in the job. He declined to comment yesterday.

Network Rail insists there are no near-term plans to replace Sir Ian and that any activity by its headhunter is only testing the market as part of normal succession planning.

Mr Holden won praise for delivering the 68-mile high-speed line between the tunnel and St Pancras International station on time and on budget - pertinent skills when Network Rail is about to embark on £7.5bn of projects to expand the network, including the Thameslink development to raise capacity across London.

He also oversaw last November's move of Eurostar trains from London Waterloo to St Pancras without any of the problems that dogged British Airways' relocation to Terminal 5 at Heathrow.

Mr Holden has already signalled his intention to step down when the Government auctions the high-speed line next year as part of a process that will see LCR split into three parts - the line, its ownership of Eurostar UK and a property portfolio, including land around the 2012 Olympic site in London.

Industry sources said Mr Holden would have to weigh up whether to pursue another chief executive role or take a number of non-executive jobs such as the Network Rail chairmanship.

Sir Ian said earlier this month that he intended to remain in his post for "at least a year".


Should someone, more knowledgable than me, create a thread for all the proposed high speed projects?
 

·
Pompodian in Exile
Joined
·
1,791 Posts
This sounds really promising although as a citizen of a major South coast city i cant help feeling that Portsmouth, Brighton, Bournemouth, poole and even Southampton would get a bit of a raw deal out of this. I cant really see the viability of a line to Penzance on that route.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30,474 Posts
I noticed that. There are a few comments therefore.

1) Why not focus efforts on upgrading the WCML and not the Chiltern/second Manchester spur? This would mean money available for
2) Continuation of the MML upgrade to Leeds (which would make sense considering the Depot is at Neville Hill, Leeds)
3) Upgrade of Transpennine Express Liverpool-Manchester-Leeds, one of the most important interurban routes in the UK.
 

·
Against ID Cards
Joined
·
9,799 Posts
Didn't the ORR just announce that Network Rail is getting effectively a funding cut. If it can't even get the desired cash for current plans how will it afford this?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
978 Posts
I'm a bit dissapointed that the lines from Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow only go to London, rather than linking them to each other as well. I'd hope that gets sorted before any track is laid. It'd still be pretty good though.

Does anyone with more knowledge of the rail industry than me think we will actually get high speed rail in this country or are we just destined to read these type of reports until the end of time?

P.S what happened to Liverpool on that map?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,824 Posts
I noticed that. There are a few comments therefore.

1) Why not focus efforts on upgrading the WCML and not the Chiltern/second Manchester spur? This would mean money available for
2) Continuation of the MML upgrade to Leeds (which would make sense considering the Depot is at Neville Hill, Leeds)
3) Upgrade of Transpennine Express Liverpool-Manchester-Leeds, one of the most important interurban routes in the UK.
My guess is you can keep upgrading it all you like but it will still run out of capacity, and that is why another line is needed to effectively double the capacity. It is easy to forget that it is one of the busiest freight routes in the whole of Europe as well as being a high speed passenger line.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
904 Posts
I'm a bit dissapointed that the lines from Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow only go to London, rather than linking them to each other as well. I'd hope that gets sorted before any track is laid. It'd still be pretty good though.

Does anyone with more knowledge of the rail industry than me think we will actually get high speed rail in this country or are we just destined to read these type of reports until the end of time?

P.S what happened to Liverpool on that map?
Yes it seems way too London-centric, surely a high speed line from Liverpool-Manchester-Leeds-Hull with a spur to Sheffield would be a better investment then a line to Penzance or from London to Sheffield
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
308 Posts
This is great news for the UK, although the fact that it is merely a review at the moment does not necessarily mean it will be built. THat will be up to the government to decide as to whether or not it will go ahead. I can't imagine the argument they would have against it and it would be an investment for the future.

I would say that this is a good BASE for future high speed rail. Start off with a central hub, London making the most economic sense, but then slowly and gradually building up into a multi-centric network. This would rival the TGV system in France where all lines are Paris centric. For it to be a real success, you'd have to see hubs in at least 2-3 other places. The UK would then, probably have one of the best, unrivalled high speed rail networks in the world.

I hope it goes ahead. Plus, I'm hoping they order Valero's/ICE-3 for the network! That would look absolutely fantastic. I'd love to see them in UK rail operator liveries!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,638 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
This sounds really promising although as a citizen of a major South coast city i cant help feeling that Portsmouth, Brighton, Bournemouth, poole and even Southampton would get a bit of a raw deal out of this. I cant really see the viability of a line to Penzance on that route.
I end up going down to Hampshire and Sussex quite a lot and often take the train down to Portsmouth. I don't think high speed rail would make sense given that a) most people only go so far as dormitory towns as Woking and Croydon which are within about 20 minutes of London, b) the nature of the south east is that the population is spread out densely across the area with high demand at most stops and c) the distances don't really make the benefits of high speed rail worthwhile. In the medium term, an upgrade to 125 mph could make sense but I think it is of a much lower priority than all of these planned high speed lines, except the Penzance idea.

AshAshAsh said:
P.S what happened to Liverpool on that map?
If the plan is anything like past proposals, Liverpool will be connected to the west coast high speed line by conventional rail.

AshAshAsh said:
I'm a bit dissapointed that the lines from Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow only go to London, rather than linking them to each other as well. I'd hope that gets sorted before any track is laid. It'd still be pretty good though.
I'd imagine that there would be ways of getting between these cities by HSR, even if say at Manchester-Glasgow, conventional speed lines were used to get onto the west coast line.

amirtaheri said:
For it to be a real success, you'd have to see hubs in at least 2-3 other places.
If it's anything like other plans, Heathrow and Birmingham Airports will serve as hubs too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,090 Posts
Newcastle, Bristol and NottinghM aren't on the map either but the lines on the map pass through where they are, so I assume there getting stations too and be linked by this new high-speed network? Same for Reading, Preston, Plymouth, Leicester, Stoke or are they by-passing most places due to cost of entering the cities themselves or are parkway style stations being proposed for cities that won't be terminals?
 
G

·
This is great news for the UK, although the fact that it is merely a review at the moment does not necessarily mean it will be built. THat will be up to the government to decide as to whether or not it will go ahead. I can't imagine the argument they would have against it and it would be an investment for the future.

I would say that this is a good BASE for future high speed rail. Start off with a central hub, London making the most economic sense, but then slowly and gradually building up into a multi-centric network. This would rival the TGV system in France where all lines are Paris centric. For it to be a real success, you'd have to see hubs in at least 2-3 other places. The UK would then, probably have one of the best, unrivalled high speed rail networks in the world.

I hope it goes ahead. Plus, I'm hoping they order Valero's/ICE-3 for the network! That would look absolutely fantastic. I'd love to see them in UK rail operator liveries!
The French LGV network appears to be very Paris centric but there are plenty of inter-regional services using the inter-connection East of Paris. Apparantley inter-regional TGV services are experiencing greater growth then Paris based TGV services.

The plan above sounds somewhat over-dramatic, 5 lines radiating from London?

A Midland Mainline HSL to go along with an East Coast HSL, a West Coast HSL, a completley seperate HSL for Birmingham and a Western HSL?

Far too much, two to the North will do nicely, a third across the Pennines and a 4th to the West aswell.

Regarding a London hub, anyone want to guess where?

No single London station is big enough for that so it'll have to be split up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,967 Posts
The key word here is a study to increase capacity on these key routes. They don't mean replace all of them with parallel high speed lines.

Exisiting studies have already pointed at two North South lines making a good economic case. A new West Coast Mainline does not need to follow the same route. It could follow the old Grand Central route to Birmingham. This route allows you to get quite close to inner London without any tunneling. A more westerly approach to Birmingham could allow a spur to Oxford, relieving some pressure on the Great Western line and some diversion of the Longer distance Chiltern line traffic from Banbury Northwards.

The East Coast line does not serve any major cities till you get to Yorkshire. The new route could bypass the old route to the West, leaving the classic line for the existing towns, before joining up near Donaster. A new spur could go to Sheffield and/or Nottingham, thereby relieving the Midland Main line. South of Peterborough it could vere further East allowing a high speed link to Cambridge and Stansted via the Lea Valley, which will get you as far as Stratford with little tunneling. The really expensive bit will be extra Platform Capacity in London as we have handily redeveloped all old railway land near the main terminals, So I seem some very expensive underground councourses coming up.

As to getting to Scotland, I suspect the West Coast line would peter out near Manchester and the East Coast would be the main route to Scotland, with Glasgow being an extension from Edinburgh, thereby also satisfying the local political desire for a new high speed line between the two cities. The main reason being that Tyneside is a major traffic generator in comparison to the small towns of the Cumbria and South West Scotland.

The Great Western is pretty fast and fairly straight, it might be more easily upgraded to 140mph. Capacity between Bristol and London is the big issue and it might be less hassle to build a new line. Getting down to Plymouth is another problem as it takes so long. I'm not sure how easy it is to upgrade the route between Exeter and Bristol, but a new route is needed between Exeter and Plymouth, as the existing route via the South Coast is slow and at Dawlish, it is only a matter of time before a seroius storm casues the line to breached. Some think reviving the line between Okehampton and Plymouth is a good idea. But I think a new high speed line south of the A38 would cut a lot of time of the journey for a relatively short stretch of line.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,817 Posts
The Great Western is pretty fast and fairly straight, it might be more easily upgraded to 140mph. Capacity between Bristol and London is the big issue and it might be less hassle to build a new line. Getting down to Plymouth is another problem as it takes so long. I'm not sure how easy it is to upgrade the route between Exeter and Bristol, but a new route is needed between Exeter and Plymouth, as the existing route via the South Coast is slow and at Dawlish, it is only a matter of time before a seroius storm casues the line to breached. Some think reviving the line between Okehampton and Plymouth is a good idea. But I think a new high speed line south of the A38 would cut a lot of time of the journey for a relatively short stretch of line.
The Great Western is indeed excellent as far as Taunton, it gets a bit curvy after that. Looking at wikimapia the curves are so gentle on the GWR that I think most of Taunton to Birmingham could be upgraded for 150mph+ for Cross Country services to then hook up with the new HSLs at each end. The GWR mainlines into London from the Severn Tunnel and Bath are just as good, but I think capacity is a problem and speeding up the faster services leaves less time/capacity for slower ones.

Check out the comparison below of typical curvature on the GWR and HS1, both pics are captured at the same scale - it shows perfectly how well engineered the GWR was for it's time - kudos to Brunel.

GWR just west of Taunton - this is the tightest curve between Taunton and Bristol's outskirts


HS1 just north west of Ashford
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,369 Posts
While its good news to hear that there will be significant investment in high speed rail, I am very dismayed at the routes proposed to be invested in. It looks like a reinvestment in the Victorian infrastructure rather than a rethink of the major rail network, and as noted by others, is incredibly focussed solely on the interests of Londoners and not of the rest of the country.

In Japan, there is essentially one spinal high speed rail link connecting the major urban centres which enables has very frequent service. In comparison, this plan for the UK has four HS lines going north of London and hardly links any of the major midlands and northern English cities with each other.

Why for example doesn't a line run from London (& Europe) to Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh. At Manchester there could be a connection to a Liverpool to Hull HS line.

As pointed out, the South Coast is absurdly served by HS rail. Can a major HS investment to Plymouth and Penzance be justified financially? Instead, why is there not a south coast line from Ashford/Europe to Hastings, Brighton, Portsmouth (with HS link to London), Southampton, Bournemouth/Poole, Exeter, Plymouth. This may be far more useful and integrate far more cities onto the HS system.

I would feel a lot happier if the reasoning for the choice of routes was explained, and to know that there has been a serious study of options before the present routes were selected.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,063 Posts
i think its a great idea but then again some of these lines could be upgraded and electrified like the GWML you know.

but other then that its a great idea why am i saying this well britain was the first nation ever to have a Railway system this could bring back the faith and greatness that britain have and also could be like the rest of europe.

kudos to britain and their thinking of this espically gas prices are on the rise.
 

·
Pompodian in Exile
Joined
·
1,791 Posts
While its good news to hear that there will be significant investment in high speed rail, I am very dismayed at the routes proposed to be invested in. It looks like a reinvestment in the Victorian infrastructure rather than a rethink of the major rail network, and as noted by others, is incredibly focussed solely on the interests of Londoners and not of the rest of the country.

In Japan, there is essentially one spinal high speed rail link connecting the major urban centres which enables has very frequent service. In comparison, this plan for the UK has four HS lines going north of London and hardly links any of the major midlands and northern English cities with each other.

Why for example doesn't a line run from London (& Europe) to Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh. At Manchester there could be a connection to a Liverpool to Hull HS line.

As pointed out, the South Coast is absurdly served by HS rail. Can a major HS investment to Plymouth and Penzance be justified financially? Instead, why is there not a south coast line from Ashford/Europe to Hastings, Brighton, Portsmouth (with HS link to London), Southampton, Bournemouth/Poole, Exeter, Plymouth. This may be far more useful and integrate far more cities onto the HS system.

I would feel a lot happier if the reasoning for the choice of routes was explained, and to know that there has been a serious study of options before the present routes were selected.
I generally agree with what your saying, especially Pompey being a HSR hub for the south coast, but i think we need to remember the study has just been commisioned and that the map is drawn by the BBC website to illustrate possible routes this is not whats being proposed by Network Rail.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
34,855 Posts
While its good news to hear that there will be significant investment in high speed rail, I am very dismayed at the routes proposed to be invested in. It looks like a reinvestment in the Victorian infrastructure rather than a rethink of the major rail network, and as noted by others, is incredibly focussed solely on the interests of Londoners and not of the rest of the country.
totally utterly agreed on this. the current route of the ECML is complete fucking insanity, it serves newark and not lincoln. now a smart person would keep the basic routes but stick it through places where people actually live - you want the maximum number of passengers served on it. i cant understand why anyone would want to build HSR to penzance but not north of sheffield?

I would feel a lot happier if the reasoning for the choice of routes was explained, and to know that there has been a serious study of options before the present routes were selected.
wont it be done on the basis of securing the maximum number of votes for the maximum number of marginal labour seats (hence completely missing east anglia and half the east midlands)?
 
1 - 20 of 351 Posts
Top