Latest Rail News

11.11.16

‘Imminent’ announcement due on HS2 phase 2 route

An “imminent” announcement on HS2 phase 2 is due to be made, delegates at last night’s TransCityRail North dinner were told.

During the Q&A session on Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) at the black-tie dinner, Duncan Sutherland, non-executive director at HS2 Ltd, said the “imminent announcement will be a consultation on the high-speed line’s phase 2 route”.

He confirmed that in 2027 HS2 will be going to Crewe, as outlined by Sir David Higgins last year, and the consultation on phase 2 will boost the links with NPR. However, he wouldn’t divulge any further information.

Earlier this year, HS2 Ltd published new plans for the high-speed route to stop at Sheffield Midland instead of Meadowhall in a bid to save £1bn from its £55bn budget. However, these were met with mixed reaction as the West Yorkshire Combined Authority warned that they put more pressure on Transport for the North (TfN) and NPR to make the case for the necessary upgrades.

But during the inaugural TransCityRail Conference, Pete Brunskill, TfN’s rail stakeholder manager, noted his excitement as the command paper is due “quite soon” for HS2 phase 2.

He added that this will mean TfN, which aims to become the UK’s first sub-national transport body next year, will be working even more closely with HS2.

“They are planning their Hybrid Bill for phase 2, which will be drafted in September 2017 and the final submission of the Bill is due in 2019,” said Brunskill.

“We have got to be very mindful of that draft Hybrid Bill, because there are a number of areas on the NPR network where there are touchpoints where NPR will interact with HS2.

“At the moment, with our partners, we will be trying to complete that work in detail from early 2018-19. We can then move forward with full business cases, securing funding and detailed engineering design. We are trying to press ahead with this as quickly as possible.”

Delegates were also told that in the last month TfN has received very detailed reports from Network Rail and HS2 on how the initial conditional outputs could be delivered.

“We’ve also hosted a series of workshops with all our partners to discuss those. We are now in the process where will put a report together for our partnership board in December to get them to take a view on how we prioritise work going forward,” concluded Brunskill.

(Image: c. HS2)

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Comments

David Mitchell   11/11/2016 at 12:46

Connectivity with Sheffield is a joke. No connectivity with Birmingham or Leeds. Trains will run on normal lines from Chesterfield. Sheffield deserves its own station at Victoria. You know it makes sense.

Rover1   11/11/2016 at 13:01

Sheffield should have stuck together with the Sheffield City Region's preference, with the station at Meadowhall. Now they've ended up with limited connectivity and no station for the rest of South Yorkshire....great!!!

David Hatfield   11/11/2016 at 13:48

Sheffield is clearly going to get a 2nd rate service. They should not have spent money trying to promote a Victoria option as the St Pancras of the North , basically to dissuade HS2 going to Meadowhall. That has the best existing infrastructure connectivity, to benefit all South Yorkshire. Now with the proposed Eastern route there will no benefit to the region. We can already get to London in 1 hour 40 mins from Doncaster. Sheffield are many years of development behind other cities such as Leeds & Birmingham . It's a long walk to the shops. Better ones at Meadowhall.

Michael Wand   11/11/2016 at 16:37

@David Mitchell: The best outcome I can see for the powerhouse would be a Northern Cities Crossrail: see http://www.infrastructure-intelligence.com/article/dec-2014/case-building-hs3-hs2 .. that fast-connected south onto a modernised MML through Sheffield Midland and the city centre stations at Derby (spur to Burton and Brum) and Leicester. HS2 will not do this. It is London-centric.

Graham Nalty   11/11/2016 at 17:23

TfN will only benefit from working with HS2 so long as TfN runs the agenda and makes the decisions and not HS2. Meadowhall was never a good solution as it would have resulted in two thirds of the potential HS2 induced jobs being lost compared with a city centre station. The latest solution from HS2 is possibly even worse. True it offers London to Sheffield journey times that are much faster than at present, but makes no sensible provision for the Birmingham to Leeds HS2 trains calling at Sheffield which is the largest intermediate city. Too much emphasis is being placed on faster journey times to London, from places already connected by very quick journey times, as against journey times between all the other cities which need and deserve improvement. The latest plans show a complete lack of respect for the wishes of the people of Sheffield and South Yorkshire. Sheffield Chamber of Commerce asked the Secretary of State for an independent review because they did not think HS2 Ltd.'s proposals were good enough. HS2's proposals are not independent and they have not 'answered the question'. I hope that TfN has the strength of its convictions to send HS2 Ltd. back to the drawing board whatever the Government should decide.

John Burns   11/11/2016 at 23:27

The TV programme, "High-Speed Rail: Is It Worth It?" was spot on. Few see any benefits of HS2. Building only HS3, the Liverpool to Hull line, which is a linear hub, that intersects the WCML, ECML and MML is well worth doing. Unlike HS2, HS3 is predicted to created economic growth. As a linear hub HS3 could take trains, say from Newcastle heading south down the ECML, then west along HS3, south down the WCML and just before Birmingham onto Bristol and Plymouth. Manchester trains from London can run back on the original route of the MML, then HS3 west to Manchester. HS3 add an amazing dynamic to the existing rail network. HS2 is a waste of time. All we need are the bottlenecks on the WCML, ECML and MML removed and the lines will be 'very' fast using the fastest trains available to run on those tracks - which will be tilting oat least on the WCML. HS3 is totally essential no matter what.

Reginald Owen   12/11/2016 at 17:01

It continues to astonish me that the major city of Liverpool is ignored in all the negotiations. I'm not a resident but have business connections there and Merseyside politicians are disgracefully silent . It appears Liverpool is not in anyone's agenda, so the idea of building HS3, Lpool to Hull must be the best solution

Michael King   13/11/2016 at 09:01

Liverpool has just opened a truly modern international dock. Many cities are HS2 "compatible" subsonic to Crewe then HS there on. Couldn't agree more on need for HS3. I felt Meadowhall might be "fairer" for Rotherham too? Would welcome feedback from others on this. Rotherham needs all help it can get.

Graham Nalty   13/11/2016 at 18:06

Note to Michael King. According to economics experts Volterra, the best and fairest way to help Rotherham was to have the HS2 interchange in Sheffield city centre because HS2 would create three times as many new jobs with a city centre station than Meadowhall, not only for Sheffield, but also for Rotherham and Barnsley.

John Burns   14/11/2016 at 18:42

When HS2 was lazily designed, copying GreenGuage 21's strange proposal, they never bothered top inquire if Liverpool's rail demands would increase. They never knew about the proposed new Superport. The Liverpool in-river Superport takes the Maersk Triple-E container ships of 20,000 containers, the largest ships in the world. The average size ocean going container ship is approx 5,000 containers. So one of these is the equivalent of 5 average containers ship. The new berth can take two Triple-Es. Some background. But!!! It takes some shifting of 20,000 containers, never mind 40,000. Only rail can do that. The roads to the port are choking up with trucks as it stands. The rail provision is woefully inadequate. The terminal can only deal with smaller ships because the transport infrastructure is not up to it. Few Tripe-Es will berth until the rail transport is uprated. There is a plan to ferry container by barge up the Manchester Ship Canal, however this will only scratch the surface. There is also suggestions of barging them over to Birkenhead docks and reinstating rail there for southern bound containers. Trade with North America is increasing and moreso with Brexit. Then there is also the North West Passage. The Chinese are building strong hulled ships to sail in convoy through the passage. Liverpool will be the natural port for these ships being on the right side of the country. In fact Liverpool is the only deep water port on that stretch of coast. On the announcement of HS2, the Port of Liverpool immediately complained that they need a HS2 to Liverpool to alleviate the existing rail for freight and more provision must be made in existing lines. TfN have agreed with this and want a new high-speed HS3 line to Liverpool. The port is within one hour of 60% of the UKs population. continued.....

John Burns   14/11/2016 at 18:43

continued... The city contracted ResRepublica, a right leaning consultancy/think tank, to present and lobby its case. An independent pressure organisation 20 Miles More appeared as did a few others. The rail provision to the port benefits the whole of the north of England and beyond. It gives cheaper and quicker transport of goods. All the councillors and MPs in the 'Liverpool City Region' should organise and be banging on desks in Whitehall. Even towns and cities well away from city, as they will gain. ResRepublica said Liverpool should have been the first city on the list for HS2. The city's metro, Merseyrail was to be one third larger, but men were pulled off site 40 years ago. No work has been restarted. There have been some extensions to Chester and the likes, but little to what was cancelled. In ye meantime , London has had Underground extensions, DLR, Overground, Thameslink, Crossrail and fast airport lines, while Liverpool got to near zero. The mayor has had to resort to threatened to cut a station in one of the disused tunnels (Liverpool & Birkenhead have around 4.5 miles of them) to embarrass the HMG/DfT to run in tracks. The city drew up plans plans for the station. Central underground station is one of the country's busiest in platform length. It is dangerously overcrowded and needs a few more platforms with the space available to do it. The city needs the metro finishing desperately. Yet the city 30 miles down the road is having built, a tunnel under Crewe station, a station that will be little used at Manchester airport, long lengths of HS2 track and a disproportionately expensive 7.5 mile 'branch' tunnel serving a 'terminal' station facing the wrong way. It is not as it Manchester is a Munich or Barcelona, it is not, if far from a city of that status. None of it makes sense. None of it. Liverpool is the largest, and only, major city omitted from a direct HS2 connection.

John Burns   14/11/2016 at 18:49

One point about Liverpool's Superport is that it was funded by private money. Lots of HMG money has been poured into Manchester. HMG wants its 'investments' to be a success, so will ensure they they. If they continue to treat large private investments like they are, private money will go to other countries.

Geordie   14/11/2016 at 18:51

John Burns. You just don't get it do you? Manchester is a pet city and gets what it asks for. It is only the size of Liverpool and Bristol yet has the laughable claim to be the UK's "second city". Er, that was Birmingham last time I looked.

John Burns   15/11/2016 at 08:11

Geordie, I do get it. It is called divide and rule. Play one off against another ans be in control. In the Northern Powerhouse talks, the leader of Sheffield said she was fed up hearing the word 'Manchester'. £350m was just spent on extending Manchester's trams. BTW, Liverpool within its borders is larger than Manchester. The two city regions are about the same size. When assessing passenger numbers, to justify omitting Liverpool, they stated Liverpool tom London is lighter than others, not taking into account trains to London from Chester which is a terminal of Merseyrail and in the city region. As it stands, if Liverpool had a captive HS2 link, people from around Chester would use the Merseyrail metro to get to Liverpool Lime St and take HS2 from there. HS2 Ltd omitted the Wirral in assessing passenger figures with Wirral Council being the size of Leicester and the whole of the Wirral the size of Newcastle. There is only a river between Liverpool the Wirral, it being essentially the same place. They were frigging figures to make out Liverpool was the size of Swindon. The Liverpool to Birmingham service will not run on HS2 still using the slow-rail service, while Manchester gets to Birmingham within minutes. KPMG, hired by HS2 Ltd, stated that Liverpool's economy will suffer, at the expense of Manchester, while the group 20 Miles More state their findings are that the economy will increase if connected to HS2. A lot of private money was poured into Liverpool's Superport, with traditionally projects of this size & importance having HMG investing in infrastructure to support the large and important investment. This investment cannot be maximised. Around 50-60% of containers landing at southern English ports are destined for the north of England. Liverpool's role in taking these containers off roads, and giving cheaper freight costs for goods destined for North of England companies, will be clipped. In short, Liverpool has berths that can handle the largest ships in the world, but few of them can be accommodated, if they are, because of rail constraints. Two 20,000 container Tripe-E ships cannot be handled simultaneously at Liverpool's new Superport as they cannot get rid of the containers out of the port fast enough. The sort of thing you see in third world country. Glasgow has a claim to 2nd city as well. ;)

Geordie   15/11/2016 at 13:58

John; I know you get it , I was being ironic. I was merely stating that what Manchester asks for Manchester gets, and some places like Liverpool and my home city of Newcastle suffer as a consequence.

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