Latest Rail News


No direct high-speed line to Liverpool – Higgins

Sir David Higgins has stated that there are currently no plans to develop a direct high-speed line to Liverpool as part of HS2. 

Speaking to the House of Commons Transport Committee this week, he reiterated that high-speed trains will run directly into the city. “However, the last stretch will not be high-speed line from the West Coast Line from Crewe,” he said. 

While giving his evidence in Manchester, the HS2 chairman stated that he is not putting a proposal forward on this to the government at the moment. Instead, he will be looking at what happens north of Crewe “to the junction that approaches Runcorn and seeing what plans there are to upgrade that and seeing how those would work”. 

The former Network Rail chief executive defended his position by saying that building a direct high-speed line to Liverpool would have “consequences” for the freight coming into the city’s ports. 

“If it is purely a high-speed rail line in there [Liverpool] it has some impacts, of a considerable nature, on the freight capacity. We have to consider the freight lines coming in through that corridor as well,” he said. “We’re looking at the freight challenge with Liverpool with the new port expansions and connections through there.” 

However, business leaders fear that if Liverpool does not get a direct HS2 line it could lose out to other northern cities in terms of inward investment. 

It has also been estimated that a direct link could offer a boost of more than £8bn to the Liverpool city region economy and create up to 26,000 new jobs. 

Earlier this week, Lord Heseltine, the former deputy prime minister, who was also dubbed the Minister for Merseyside, called for Liverpool to get the “full benefits” of HS2. 

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


Mikeb   20/11/2014 at 17:51

I feel sure that the exclusion of Liverpool from HS2 was a decision taken by civil servants at the DfT, which was agreed by the Transport Secretary and therefore, David Higgins cannot promise anything that has not been laid down by his political masters. The current proposals for HS2 in the North West includes branches to both Manchester and the WCML at Bamfurlong, which diverge near Lymm. Therefore, the dilemma could be solved by giving the early go-ahead for HS3, whereby a high speed line from Liverpool to Hull would include a junction on to HS2 somewhere between Warrington and Wigan.

Transtraxman   24/11/2014 at 10:30

Sir David Higgins is quite right in his comments. There are only two alternatives into Liverpool. A) through Weaver Junct. to the Widnes curve(11kms.), here the line joins freight traffic to L/P Sth. Prkwy. (9.4kms.) where it joins the CLC traffic into Lime St.(9kms.) - not a lot of leeway to increase speeds. B) The better bet is along the WCML to Earlestown where it turns 90 degrees westwards to run along the Chat Moss line for 23.8kms (almost a straight line) into Lime St. This illustrates the aberration that is the proposed HS2 line from M/C airport to Wigan destroying Cheshire countryside unnecessarily. An upgrade of the WCML from Crewe to Wigan (and northwards) is much more logical and a better economic and environmental case. In fact the whole branch of HS2 from Birmingham to Manchester is called into question when upgrades are a better investment. There is plenty of room for improvement through Crewe and Stoke.

Iain   15/12/2014 at 21:29

Has anyone worked out what the travelling time from Lime Street to Euston would be if Classic Compatible trains were used from Liverpool to Earlestown on the existing line, and thence to London on the new HS2 line? Surely this would cost next to nothing compared to the billions being lavished on keeping Manchester happy?

John   03/11/2015 at 10:06

The new Liverpool2 container terminal capable of handling ships with 18,000 containers is game changers in freight distribution in the UK. Over 60% of container unloaded at Southampton and Felixstowe are destined for the north of England. To transport a container from Shanghai to Southampton can cost £140, while to take it Manchester from Southampton cost £500. Taking the containers nearer to their destination will ensure the rail freight out of Liverpool port will increase substantially. Also Drax power station has gone over to using biomass fro the USA and fed via rail from Liverpool docks. More stations will follow. Liverpool needs a "new" high-speed line (HS3) into the city which can also run into HS2. The whole of the north of England is depending on deep water Liverpool expanding to improve the economy. Liverpool, and the north of England, needs the rail lines mainly for rail freight not passengers. HS2/HS3 gives that capacity. The whole of the north of England should be shouting that Liverpool needs HS3/2 run into the city. It affects all.

Add your comment



Rail industry Focus

  • 11/09/2019The next generation of rail infrastructure

    How the rail industry delivers the next generation of complex infrastructure will rely heavily on the people tasked with leading the projects, and the technology they use to do it. Faithful+Gould...
  • 11/09/2019Putting passengers first

    How does the rail industry design the railways for the next 40 years, and when it does, how do we make sure it’s all done with the passenger in mind? Jane Fisher joined three members of the Arup team...
View all News


The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >

'the sleepers' blog

Network Rail’s, Anna-Jane Hunter on HS2, NPR, and supply chain opportunities

29/08/2019Network Rail’s, Anna-Jane Hunter on HS2, NPR, and supply chain opportunities

Anna- Jane Hunter, is a ‘proud northerner’ and is passionate about continuing the investment and the success story of rail across the North.  She plays a key role in working with government and northern leaders to enable the net... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he would not rule out his organisation issuing future r... more >
Malcolm Holmes, executive director of West Midlands Rail Executive, announced as TCR Midlands speaker in Birmingham

24/06/2019Malcolm Holmes, executive director of West Midlands Rail Executive, announced as TCR Midlands speaker in Birmingham

Ahead of his appearance, Malcolm Holmes spoke with Rail Technology Magazine about what key leaders in the industry were doing to improve rail in the Midlands. He said: “It’s very... more >