Brexit vote means HS3 must be prioritised over HS2 and Crossrail 2, says IPPR

Work must be “brought urgently forward” on the proposed HS3 east-west rail project, even if this means that it takes priority over HS2, a leading think tank has said in a new report making the case for faster investment in the north.

As part of a proposed North First strategy for transport spending, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) called on the new transport secretary, Chris Grayling, to close the London-north spending gap, estimated to be around £1,600 per person. Total spend on Crossrail alone will be around £4.6bn until the end of the decade, exceeding spending on all projects in the north (£4.3bn).

The statistical analysis, calculated by looking at how much will be invested per person in the north east, north west, Yorkshire & Humber and the capital between 2016-17 and 2020-21, was detailed in a letter sent to Grayling yesterday.

Tom Kibasi, director of IPPR, argued that the recent Brexit vote means the north of England must “urgently see growing prosperity” through a proper east-west crossing, which should be set higher up in the agenda above any other major transport project – including HS2 and Crossrail 2.

His colleague Ed Cox, director of IPPR North, added: “To build Theresa May’s ‘Better Britain’, we must focus on a better North. The north of England’s £300bn economy is worth more than those of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland combined. Focusing on this is going to be critical in creating the prosperity our country is going to need over the coming years.

“The north must also ‘Take Control’ of its own funding decisions. The evidence shows that this would help boost growth, ditching HM Treasury’s outdated and ineffective model, better suited to mitigating congestion than driving new economic growth.”

Other urgent recommendations outlined in the letter include using record-low interest rates to raise £50bn “catch-up cash” to be invested in northern rail and road priorities, as well as unlock private and foreign investment in major schemes – something May and chancellor Philip Hammond have indicated support for.

The Treasury must also overhaul its “flawed funding model, which is outdated and not suited to driving economic growth”, with new ways of assessing transport scheme benefits, and devolving 10-year budgets, ultimately paving the way for more effective long-term planning.

“Airport capacity and HS2 will take up much of your attention as you enter this new role, but taking a North First approach will be key to guaranteeing long-term, sustainable economic success for our whole nation,” the letter, signed by Cox, said.

“To this end, we would like you to join us on a trip across the north to show some of the problems with the existing infrastructure and to meet businesses and commuters whose productivity is affected by the challenges we face each day. We are happy also to facilitate meetings with transport  influencers, such as candidates for metro mayors.”

In his response, Grayling said he will build on May’s promises to “govern for the whole United Kingdom” and build an economy that works for everyone.

“That is a top priority and the reason we have set-up a new Cabinet committee to deliver on this commitment, with a strong industrial strategy at its heart,” he added.

Transport for the North are working to develop a Northern Transport Strategy and we are already making the biggest investment in transport infrastructure in generations, spending £13bn in transport across the region to improve journeys for local people, help industry grow and boost productivity.”

(Top image c. Michael Fox)

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Jb   09/08/2016 at 11:25

Absolutely! With or without Brexit, the North cries out for better rail services. Re-instating the Woodhead line and reconnecting Colne and Skipton to provide to two more trans-Pennine routes would be a start and enhancing the Diggle route would improve matters for a start. As for HS2, forget it. Many of us don't want it and its enormous potential disruption and cost. Re-open the ex MR route to Manchester to alleviate the WCML congestion and provide direct connection to Derby, Leicester, etc. once again.

Fed Up With The North Winging!   09/08/2016 at 13:39

Those in the north voted for Brexit - and already its messed up pensions, savings for those whose savings fund those with mortgages etc. Get HS2 built, then HS3 and east/west rail, and give those in the north 230 type DMUs to replace pacers. They do not deserve to have NEW trains.....

Lutz   09/08/2016 at 13:47

The premise of a aligning per capita expenditure is fallacious.

Leicester Dave   09/08/2016 at 13:56

Lets electrify the Midland Main Line first, oh no that's common sense

Lesf   09/08/2016 at 14:45

Jb, I agree that Woodhead is the correct route to connect the two sides of the Pennines, and I'm all for restoring missing links like Skipton-Colne, Buxton-Matlock and Uckfield-Lewes, but please don't write off the need for HS tracks running north-south as part of a NATIONAL rail plan. We have a network that was built piecemeal then fragmented by closures. So why are we dreaming up new bits of railway piecemeal? Another article in this issue points out that planned works are getting more and more expensive. We can have everything we want for the money available if it's planned as a single national network.

John Burns   09/08/2016 at 16:04

Network Rail have stated the Woodhead tunnel would not be reused. What the Pennines needs is a new 'base' tunnel, bored from flat level land to flat level land either side of the Pennines, that emerges on the east around Barnsley. TfN recommended a new line to Liverpool from Manchester. This new Pennines base tunnel can take trains to Manchester from London using the MML, or even the ECML - up the east of the Pennines. Then the Manchester, Sheffield and Leeds trains are off the WCML. Even the Birmingham train can go to London via High Wycombe freeing up even more capacity on the WCML.

Man Of Kent   09/08/2016 at 16:51

Oh, what a sauce ay? The great unwashed in the North having the audacity to vote to have all our laws made by our elected parliament and not trumped by the European Court of Justice. And plenty of people down here in the South voted Leave too. Have a look at the demographic results. If London, which was to be the great salvation of the Remain vote, had voted more decisively 'Remain' then that is the way the vote would have been more likely to go - but they didn't. Cue much wringing of hankies by the Metropolitan elite who think they know what's best for the rest of us.

Graham Nalty   09/08/2016 at 17:03

Very sensible. Northern cities need far better rail services, and they need them now. HS2 is far too much about faster rail services to London at the expense of connections between cities. So why does HS2 Ltd. suggest a fast route to Leeds that bypasses Sheffield. The people of Sheffield should decide whether the HS2 interchange station should be at Victoria or Midland - or even if they do not want HS2. The new proposals from HS2 Ltd.. have not looked in sufficient details at the Birmingham to Leeds HS2 trains which would take about 30 minutes longer if they served Sheffield - the largest intermediate station - rather than using the proposed fast bypass route. This would be a nightmare for any commercially minded rail operator. Build the high speed lines in the North first.

Michael Bell   09/08/2016 at 20:29

"HS3", The route Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow is absolutely necessary. How can Oxenholme and Carlisle compete with Middlesbrough and Newcastle? But HS2 in their document "Broad options.." argue otherwise. I refute their dishonest pleadings in http://www.thornshapedroute.com/east-side-to-scotland part of my overall plans for HS2 at http://www.thornshapedroute.com/ Michael Bell

Ted Jackson   09/08/2016 at 22:42

HS3 needs to be a priority before HS2 east to west linking Liverpool over to Kingston upon Hull via Manchester and Leeds to open the cross northern trade route and between the east/west ports this is VITAL

Jak Jaye   10/08/2016 at 08:46

Dream on you Northern oiks! wont happen(sadly) all the while the south obsessed government,media etc continue there self serving ways

John Williams   10/08/2016 at 15:30

HS2 is a political project and as Mr Grayling is now saying,if you are against HS2...You are WRONG! Rather like Mcloughlin & Cameron , if you are against HS2, you are an enemy of British business . So much for Teresa May and supporting "little people". The North does not matter to the Conservatives , because that is a Labour heartland. The whole "Northern Powerhouse" is a cynical ploy to get people to vote Conservative . Now Labour is unelectable it does not matter that much. They can announce as many HS or "dream lines" as they like, will they happen. Add it to the 30 year plan. What will happen is HS2 will be built to Birmingham , which will turn it into a commuter town for London. When the money runs out, see how far North it actually gets..........Lots of people will make lots of money and that is what it is all about

Morris1112   11/08/2016 at 13:06

We need both, we are taking to long, we should be building hs4 by now.

Jam123   13/08/2016 at 09:55

Cancel both of the railways - we cannot afford either project. If we do build something use it as the first dedicated autonomous vehicle route.

JO   07/09/2016 at 12:27

New High-speed rail track is unnecessary as new trains can reach 186mph on existing tracks. Capacity issues are only on the WCML south of Milton Keynes. The WCML has twice the traffic of the ECML. North of MK the WCML only has 'bottlenecks'. History of inter-city in the UK. In the early 1960s trains to major cities from London were spread over 4 mainlines: - Liverpool/Glasgow - WCML - Leeds/Newcastle - ECML - Sheffield/Manchester- MML - Birmingham/Wolverhampton - Chiltern Line In the 60s the WCML was electrified with faster trains. The Manchester, Birmingham and Wolverhampton trains were moved to the WCML, which serves 5 cities, 6 inc' Edinburgh. The other mainlines were lightly used. The population expanded with the WCML becoming heavily loaded. Capacity south of MK on the WCML can be alleviated by diverting trains back to their original lines when updated and electrified. The ECML is now electrified with the MML partially. The shorter Chiltern Line is still diesel run. Uprating the 4 mainlines by electrification and removing bottlenecks will solve capacity issues. The Chiltern Line will benefit by improved local and regional services, so knock-on benefits. Opening old and building new lines, which are needed for local & regional use, will take trains off the mainlines creating four "expressways". Local and regional lines will be more accepted as they are used by the populations they run though daily, so little resistance as HS2 as seen. They can see the immediate benefits to themselves. Remove the bottlenecks on the WCML, run the trains as fast as can be and journey time from London to Manchester compared to full HS2 is about 15 minutes slower. As trains are replaced over the decades, newer faster up to 186mph, train can be introduced. The new 140mph Hitachi trains, they have 160mph models, can make London to Leeds on the ECML about 12 minutes slower than the planned HS2. There is no need to build a high-speed rail line in the UK. Many rail experts have constantly emphasised this point. All that is needs is: - Spread the inter-city services over the four mainlines, Back to their original early 1960s lines. - Electrify the mainlines (which is overdue). - Remove bottlenecks from the mainlines. - Use state of the art fast trains reaching up to 186mph in some tilting models. - Build HS3. A full direct & straight west-east HS3 adds a new dynamic, giving capacity release, cascading throughout the network. HS3 will intersect three mainlines. The fast 140-180mph trains means Manchester can be accessed via the shorter MML and then west under the Pennines via HS3. The WCML gets more capacity, which is important giving the expansion of the Port of Liverpool. Fast up to 186mph trains to Liverpool be on the WCML and then head west on the HS3. Scottish trains then run directly up the WCML. HS3 adds redundancy, trains can be diverted from either mainline via HS3 if problems

John Burns   07/09/2016 at 12:34

Jam123, it will be funded by 'printing money'. We do have the money, as much as we want to print. The problem with printing money is it can lead to inflation if directed into the wrong areas. Printing money is fine when done for infrastructure projects that 'create economic growth'. All economic forecasters say HS3 clearly will, and HS2 will not and is 'marginal' at the most optimistic assessment. Build HS3 ASAP and uprate the existing mainlines running the new fast trains. See my other post.

Michael Wand   23/10/2016 at 21:04

There’s also the NorthStart alternative to HS2: a new fast rail route through the economic divide of the Pennines to fast-connect Manchester Victoria to Leeds and Sheffield Midland (each is a through station) before any start on HS2: http://www.infrastructure-intelligence.com/article/dec-2014/case-building-hs3-hs2 My 2016 update of this was presented during the April ‘Review of HS2’ workshop in York. I’d come to the conclusion that, for the best outcome for the powerhouse and east midlands economies, the crossrail needed to connect south through Sheffield Midland onto an updated MML, through the city centre stations of Derby (spur to Burton and Brum) and Leicester.

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