Opinion poll: HS3 must take priority over Crossrail 2

Fresh from their victories in the metro mayor elections earlier this month, new leaders of Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram were quick to make transport a top priority for their cities last week.

In a post on Twitter, both called on the government to prioritise plans for an HS3 link connecting the north west to the north east over additional work to the capital’s network through Crossrail 2.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham argued that the fact that a journey from Manchester to Newcastle could still take as much time as London to Paris showed the desperate need for better transport infrastructure for the north. “A 21st-century economy needs 21st-century infrastructure,” he stated.

This is not the first time that the argument has been made for HS3. In February, think tank IPPR North made the point that a high-speed link for the north was essential to closing the north/south divide that has seen funding unequally divided between the two regions in the past.

And this is a view reflected in a short poll of 300 RTM readers, as almost half (47%) of respondents stated that HS3 should be the new government’s first priority.

“London has already had Thameslink upgrades and Crossrail,” wrote one RTM reader, Graham Nalty. “Let us have some real investment in the north and Midlands, such as new high-speed lines linking Leeds, Bradford Manchester and Sheffield, and linked to the Midlands by expanding the Midlands Main Line electrification programme. And let this also take priority for funds over HS2 stage one which will mainly benefit London.”

Another reader argued that the capital has already had Crossrail, Thameslink and Overground improvements, as well as major Tube upgrades. “The more transport capacity has, the more London grows, the more people it sucks in, and the more it needs more transport capacity,” they added.

“The UK is severely unbalanced in favour of the Great Wen. So fund transport infrastructure in the north to enable Manchester and the surrounding cities, to provide an engine of growth in the north. Oh, and extend HS2 to Edinburgh and Glasgow while you are at it. London is one of the richest cities on earth – if it wants Crossrail 2, it can afford to fully fund it.”

But the survey also raised another point: why does one project have to be prioritised over the other? Better transport in either part of the country is clearly essential, so is it really necessary for the regions to have to compete for funding?

Over a third (34%) of respondents agreed with this view. “It really shouldn't be a case of competing for a shrinking pot of funds,” said a reader. “All of these large-scale infrastructure projects are equal in importance... shame the Tories don’t seem to see it that way.”

Not everybody agreed with either of these views, however. Though people who believed Crossrail 2 was still the most important project were in the minority, at 18%, some said that London nevertheless deserved greater funding as it was bigger and served proportionately more customers.

“Manchester and Liverpool combined are less than half the size of Greater London, and travel is still heavily subsidised on Merseyrail to encourage people to use it. So where is the need? London and the south east,” one reader stated.

Another, James Palma, also chipped in: “I am afraid the demand in London far, far outweighs travel in northern England. But that is not to say that the transport networks should not be improved there.”

The direction of any future funding could well be influenced by whichever party comes into power after the snap election on the 8 June. Yesterday, Theresa May’s manifesto asserted that her Conservative Party would drive forward with HS2 plans, but made no mention of Crossrail 2 or HS3.

Top Image: DfT

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Agree HS3 Rather CR2   19/05/2017 at 12:05

Crossrail train project should stop NOW before any more trains are built and must be modified to include toilets. Absolute priority for new build over 30 minute journeys. CR 2 is not needed, its not adding to the network, it misses the Royal Albert Hall - major UK events location. HS3 will have national benefit - and its not a matter of north/south political differences

Andrew Gwilt   20/05/2017 at 09:49

Crossrail 2 won't happen just yet until 2025/26 or before 2030. Or when Crossrail 1 (Elizabeth Line) is completed in late 2019/early 2020.

Graham Nalty   20/05/2017 at 19:25

If anywhere in London needs its own underground station it is the albert Hall. It is one of London's most important event venues. Not a good idea to build a line so close without serving it. Seriously the Albert Hall really needs two lines serving it on all directions.

Jim   24/05/2017 at 09:46

We're all forgetting that London had HS1 as well; (diverted "to alleviate poverty in East London") was the excuse, when it went to buffer stops at Waterloo. It was supposed to come up between Kings Cross and St Pancras and fan out to access the main lines north and west. Sleeping cars were built and then sold somewhere when the Northern Cities were denied their direct links to Europe. A Eurostar Depot was even built in Manchester, opposite Longsight Depot to maintain the new trains.

V   02/06/2017 at 15:28

The government should just make their mind up... think about the pros and cons, how many people they will affect and in what way. FINALLY LET THE PEOPLE WHO WILL BE MOSTLY AFFECTED BY IT AND THE PEOPLE WHO IT WILL AFFECT IN THE LONG TERM DECIDE. (And no, not within the next decade or so!) Make it as quick as possible and also take just into account the environmental impacts as well as everything else unless you don't want any more humans in the years to come (which wouldn't be too bad seek g as we just ruin everything (think about it) yes you might find a way to help the environment or something 😯but why do you need to do that... because you destroyed it in the first place😮 ... or you could just let me decide everything 😁 To be absolutely honest even though I know the government's job is hard, a group of straightforward thinking people without money and big houses could do far better than you in helping (no, not ruling) the country or the world any day. Aug Wiedersehen🐱🐹🐃🐮🐎🐖🐯🐘🌱🌳🌱🌾🌲🌱🌲🌿🍑🍍🍄🌀🌈p.s. I'm bored.

I T Macadam   03/06/2017 at 00:01

30/5/17 Dear Sirs, I disagree with the opinion of * Catherine West. There's plenty of scope for interim measures:- CAPACITY FROM SOUTHGATE AND WOOD GREEN More train paths from New Southgate to Haringey onto the Goblin Line and into Kentish Town to join Thameslink; this will solve this problem for a fraction of the price. Reopening the Palace Line to Seven Sisters is another measure that could be an emergency measure; although most people would prefer the Parkland Walk. An equally improved Piccadilly Line with 36 trains an hour is a medium term solution. There's a construction skills shortage and the Country is apparently against immigration, joined up thinking is required and value for money necessary. Vanity gives way to functionality. CAPACITY FROM NORTH EAST LONDON ( BLACKHORSE ROAD AND TOTTENHAM HALE) The potential 8 year delay is an opportunity to utilise and maximise current capacity; as I outline below:- 4 tracking the Lower Lea Valley Line is inexpensive and the first part of the scheme 1bn a new service at 15 min intervals from Blackhorse Road to Clapham on the GOBLIN, enlarged, new or reinstated stations at Blackhorse Road, Tottenham Hale ( Ferry Boat Inn) and Junction Road (Tufnell Park), provides much needed capacity , taking 45 minutes; it's 40 minutes with a change at Victoria by Victoria Line but my proposed route serves Westfield, Old Oak and Chelsea ( South Lotts Road) too 2bn restoring the link to Kentish Town Thameslink with a new 20 minute service shuttle service from Upper Holloway and or trains from New Southgate as an alternative via Crouch Hill 100 million Metro Service from Blackhorse Road to Clapham Junction ( 6 mins off peak, 5mins peak- on the Gospel Oak to Willesden Junction section) 1/2 bn New stations at Hythe Road and Old Oak, irrespective of HS2 and a new 30 minute service Blackhorse Road to Brent Cross, via Carlton Road Junction, West Hampstead and Cricklewood , including reopening Primrose Hill Station a new single track in a realigned cutting. 2bn Part Funded by the Developer A new station at Northumberland Park on the Victoria Line of with shuttle to Seven Sisters. 50 million All the above can be achieved within 3 years with diverted funding OTHER CONSIDERATIONS In particular Canary Wharf, shows what's possible in an Underground Station and a link at Tottenham Hale, from the new station on the Goblin at Ferry Boat Inn, (Thames Water Site) and the 2 tracks to Stratford with a cut back for Stansted Express Trains will solve constraints and provide much needed retail space for a Supermarket and some shops. Freight needs to run off-peak and at weekends, and new links like the one at Harringey Junction provide more paths to a destination. This can be solved by an Algorythm. Trade from abroad will diminish post Brexit and less goods will be imported.

Duncan Stewart   10/06/2017 at 18:49

In the light of a hung parliament, is thiss the death knell for HS2? Chilterns MPs who see nothing in HS2 for them and their constituents now have enormously enhanced clout. Moreover, when the Chancellor did a Diane Abbott, but by £20 billions, rather than a few thousand, he rather emphasised the appalling lack of cost control at Network Rail and amongst other "grands projets" in the UK. Besides, the money's now required for the electrification of the Northern Ireland rail network and the new trams in Belfast.

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