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HS2 has to dovetail into HS3 – Kirby

The second phase of HS2 has to dovetail into HS3 whether it is a new railway or building on the current infrastructure, Simon Kirby, chief executive at HS2 Ltd, has said. 

Speaking at the IPPR North’s launch of the ‘Transport for the North’ report, Kirby said that HS3, in terms of time-planning, is slightly behind HS2 because of the way it has been formed. 

Asked how quickly HS3 could be built, he said that work is still ongoing. However, he stated that HS2 and HS3 have to be done together. 

“The model doesn’t work if we have got a better east-west connection that doesn’t also have north-south connectivity. It has to be looked at as one system not individual choices,” said Kirby. 

“We have a planning process in this country and we have to go through that process. Phase 1 of HS2, the Bill was submitted in 2013 and we’ll start constructing in 2017. We spent a lot of time looking round the world at what best practice looks like in terms of constructing new greenfield railways. The reality of course is that we haven’t really built new greenfield railways in this country to the scale we are talking about for HS2 or HS3 in living memory.” 

In October 2014 Sir David Higgins’ report – ‘Rebalancing Britain: from HS2 towards a national transport strategy’ – suggested that HS3 will be of “vital importance” to improve east-west connectivity across the north. 

The former CEO of Network Rail added that currently not only is the east-west rail network poor, the motorway system is increasingly congested. 

Sir David’s report was heavily influenced by the One North proposition, which at its core boiled down to a series of transport investments, including highways improvements, a new high-speed trans-Pennine rail route linking into HS2 (sometimes dubbed ‘HS3’), and improvements to rail and port facilities to improve freight logistics. 

He said either a new tunnelled high-speed route or an upgraded rail link through existing but unused tunnels through the Pennines were possible options. The improvement could also involve a doubling of trains per hour. 

The 2014 autumn statement underlined the government’s commitment to the ‘northern powerhouse’, and stated that plans for the HS3 rail link should be drawn up by March 2015.Sir David is expected to produce a blueprint for the line this month. 

Jon Lamonte, chief executive at Transport for Greater Manchester, said: “There is an enormous amount of work to do, especially with Network Rail who’ve got the real expertise in all of this. So when One North was put together as a proposition, I don’t think any of us seriously thought that we’d have precise engineering diagrams coming straight out of it. 

“We do need to address it in sections because between each city there are different problems to crack. So it does need to be done on an incremental basis. It will take a bit of time, but what you do have with Transport for the North in the way that it is formed between HS2, Network Rail, local and central government, is that the right people are round the table to tackle the issues.” 

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email


Lutz   06/03/2015 at 06:11

Great, but no one has cut through all the hype around HS3 yet and defined exactly what it is intended to be - just like the Buddhist story of the elephant and the blind men - everyone has got a different view.

Moomo   07/03/2015 at 18:38

HS3 certainly needs to be integrated into HS2, but it needs to look beyond Manchester and Leeds and start by addressing the appalling connectivity of the towns and cities that HS2 has forgotten, e.g Liverpool, Hull, Bradford, Newcastle and Middlesborough. Spending billions on a trans-pennine tunnel whilst other main lines remain unelectrified and crippled by 60 mph speed limits would be lunacy.

Graham Nalty   07/03/2015 at 21:30

HS2 needs to urgently address three serious problems if it is to integrate into HS3. Firstly all those ridiculous out of town parkway stations that suck business out of the cities they are meant to serve must be taken out of the HS2 pans and new connections added to serve city centres. Secondly those out of date 'last century's model' terminus stations at London, Birmingham and Manchester must be replaced with though stations as has been very wisely done at Leeds. And lastly, the ill advised HS2 route through the Chilterns needs to be replaced by a line that creates far less destruction, such as the HSUK route, or HS2 will never get south to London, being bogged down by protesters who will keep going much longer than Ministers who change every other year.

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