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Industry welcomes manifesto commitments to HS2

Renewed commitment and investment in HS2 have today been announced by prime minister Theresa May as she launched her party’s manifesto.

May also stated that if elected to power, the Conservatives would work to increase capacity on trains and ease overcrowding.

“We are working through one of the largest-ever investment programmes in our roads and railways, putting some £40bn into transport improvements across the United Kingdom over the rest of this decade,” the manifesto says.

“We will continue our programme of strategic national investments including High Speed 2, Northern Powerhouse Rail and the expansion of Heathrow Airport – and we will ensure that these great projects do as much as possible to develop the skills and careers of British workers.

“We will focus on creating extra capacity on the railways, which will ease overcrowding, bring new lines and stations, and improve existing routes – including for freight,” the manifesto added. “We will increase services on our main lines and commuter routes, and launch new services to places which are poorly served or host major new housing projects.”

The measures outlined by the Conservatives is something that leading figures from the rail industry have said that they support.

Darren Caplan, chief executive of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), stated that the Conservative’s manifesto was a “vital and welcome step to creating modern railway infrastructure fit for the 21st century”. 

He added that the party’s commitment to a programme of strategic national investments will be vital to making sure that current flagship projects like HS2 and Crossrail, and proposed future projects such as HS3 and East West Rail, are a success.

But, the RIA CEO did see flaws in May’s plan for the country. “We note with some concern that there is no prominence given to Crossrail 2 in the Conservatives’ manifesto,” he stated. “We would urge the party to offer a clear commitment to this important infrastructure project.”

Caplan concluded by calling for the continuity of year-on-year funding for rail, and warned May against further spending reductions in CP5.  

Will Roberts, the director of High-Speed Rail Industry Leaders (HSRIL), said the full support from all of the UK’s main political parties for HS2 was a good sign for high-speed rail.

“This unprecedented cross-party support for HS2 is fantastic news, and a real endorsement for Britain’s biggest infrastructure project in a generation,” he stated.

“The commitment from across the political spectrum, to keep HS2 on track, provides stability for UK rail and infrastructure and ensures that every part of the country will have a chance to play a part in this important new railway, whoever wins the election.

“With cross-party support, it now means that HSRIL members can get on with construction, and deliver a huge economic boost to Britain, employing 27,000 people by the end of the decade, from right across the UK,” he concluded.

Top Image: Danny Lawson PA Wire

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Graham   18/05/2017 at 16:46

Does this mean that we will get the electric trains we were promised by the last government or will it be a half electric half diesel and wait another 40 years to get full electric trains we have been promised by the last two governments especially as we are told by experts that diesel is so bad for us and the environment

John Burns   18/05/2017 at 16:59

Labour and the Tories are for HS2. It may start, but will it ever get further north than Crewe? The benefits really drop off from Crewe to Manchester. Use HS2 tilting trains and journey times from London to Manchester are not far off the HS2 times. It just not add up economically. Labour call HS3 the `Northern Crossrail`, the Tories `Northern Powerhouse Rail`. No matter what they will not be high-speed that is near certain. The new metro-mayors of Liverpool and Manchester, Steve Rotheram and Andy Burnham, both want the Liverpool-Manchester section built first. Currently, there are twice as many passengers travelling from Manchester to Liverpool as Manchester to Leeds. Also, Liverpool needs extra rail capacity for its new large container terminal.  Last week the largest ship ever that has traversed the newly widened Panama Canal held 13,000 containers, up from 5,000 before the widening. This is a game changer for world freight movements. Liverpool is ideally placed. Liverpool's new terminal can handle ships holding 19,000 containers. Liverpool needs extra rail capacity for freight ASAP. Building the Liverpool to Manchester leg first is essential for the economy for the whole of the North of England as freight costs will be cheaper via Liverpool and faster. Also the Liverpool cruise liner business is set to greatly expand meaning thousands of cruisers from the North of England need not travel the arduous trip to Southampton. The Liverpool to Manchester section of the `Crossrail` can be the access line to HS2 for Manchester and Liverpool. A HS2 station `near` Manchester airport would be the least used station in the country. This now `Crossrail`, rather than a High-Speed line (HS3), needs a Pennines `base` tunnel emerging around Barnsley serving Leeds and Sheffield equally and then running onto Hull. A `base tunnel runs from `flat` land to `flat` land either side of a hill or mountain giving greater speed. `Base` tunnels are common in the Alps and elsewhere. The Pennines has needed one for 150 years.   Piccadilly station in Manchester, which faces the wrong way, can be decommissioned and a larger state-of-the-art `through` station built at Manchester Victoria, like at Berlin, to eliminate the rail bottleneck at Manchester. All rail services in Manchester will then be centred on one station for ease of connections.  It is a no-brainer to build the Liverpool section of a `Crossrail` ASAP - even if the other sections are not even designed. Crossrail 2 is not mentioned by any of the parties.

John Burns   18/05/2017 at 17:25

Philip Hammond got the cost of HS2 wrong by £20bn in a radio interview. It will overrun and he admitted that, as if we don't know. That is why I can only see HS2 running to Birmingham and onto Crewe and that is it. The London-Leeds train will be faster on the ECML having the bottlenecks removed and using the latest fast trains. Much cheaper.

John Webster   18/05/2017 at 17:34

Well, John Burns, you seem to have the same ideas and reservations as myself over the Northern Powerhouse thinking. Manchester Piccadilly is not ideal for a Trans Pennine line from Liverpool to the East Coast - terminal platforms are for trains that go no further - was is wanted is a "through" station similar to Victoria, but this is unlikely to be adopted as a solution on cost grounds, so I envisage HS2 finishing at Crewe, at least for another 30 years after completion to Crewe!

Chrism   19/05/2017 at 03:26

Ah, I see John Burns is still railing away against HS2, even though it is crystal clear it has the full support of all the major parties and recently enjoyed a huge endorsement by voting members of both the Commons and the Lords. The whole project enjoys political support in spades and the number of serious opponents are small in number. Although they do I admit make a lot of noise! Just like the HS1 moaners, they will soon fade away. Yes John, phase 2 will undoubtedly be built in it's entirety - the whole point of reaching Manchester on dedicated HS tracks (and also Leeds/Birmingham) is to ensure the three most important long-distance markets receive the huge reliability and capacity gains that only new tracks can guarantee. It also frees up lots of capacity on existing lines for new services. I have no idea who planted the bizarre idea in your head that HS2 will for some reason end at Crewe, but what I can say they were utterly clueless - or taking the mickey!

Noam Bleicher   19/05/2017 at 10:50

There is much to address in your post John Burns, but I will tackle just two points: 1. There will be no tilting trains on HS2, they'd never come in under the axle-weight for HS lines, typically around 17t. 2. The journey time EUS MAN using HS2 will be something like 65 min, not much more than half the 125 min current journey time using the WCML. That sounds like quite a gain to me.

John Burns   20/05/2017 at 11:16

@John Webster Yes,terminal stations in inland cities are highly inefficient. They are a legacy of Victoriana when separate companies ran lines into cities and never cooperated. Manchester has two stations within walking distance, when only one can service the city and make matters better for all concerned, including fast North of England west to east routes.

John Burns   20/05/2017 at 11:30

@Noam Bleicher There will be no tilting trains on HS2, but if they were tilting trains would be so much faster when run on classic tracks. The big train makers have offered them. Classic compatible HS2 trains will run on classic lines at no more than 100-110mph, while tilting trains can run at 140mph on the same track. They currently run at 125mph only because they are not fitted with in-cab signalling. The APT of 35 years ago was designed to run at 155mph on `existing` tracks. Having tilting classic compatible HS2 trains would preclude the super expensive Manchester HS2 run through Cheshire countryside in a self-defeating `S` bend, then through a gold plated 8 mile tunnel into a terminal station facing the wrong way. Who thinks of this madness? The journey time EUS to MAN using HS2 all the way will be 68 mins, HS2 to Crewe via a Crewe hub and tilting classic compatible trains on the classic track `straight enough` track from Crewe to Manchester will be about 6 minutes slower. The figures just do not add up. All that money for 6 minutes faster? And still Piccadilly will face the wrong way.

John   20/05/2017 at 11:45

`Yes John, phase 2 will undoubtedly be built in it's entirety` That is crystal ball gazing. All logic dictates HS2 will NOT be built as it stands. The top half of the "Y" is not even nailed down yet. It is supposed to mesh in with Northern Crossrail/NPR/HS3, which means a re-design on the sections approaching Leeds and Manchester. If Northern Crossrail is built running via Manchester Victoria and Piccadilly remains the `HS2` terminal, then expect HS2 to be terminated at Crewe. Billions will not be spent on gaining another 6 minutes in time to one averaged sized British city. Manchester is no Barcelona or Munich, neither is Leeds. I advise you to look at the 20milesmore web site, who have ripped to pieces the skewed HS2 passenger figures. It may be difficult to detached from your train spotting mentality to view matters objectively.

Michael Wand   20/05/2017 at 11:47

@chrism and 'huge endorsement' of HS2 in Parliament: Extract from Andrew Tyrie MP’s letter of 4 January 2017 to the Transport Secretary: ‘The largest impact to the benefit-cost ratio for the full HS2 network comes from more recent outturn demand data from 2011 to 2014 …. without this latest data, the business case suggests that HS2 is scarcely worth the candle.’

John Burns   20/05/2017 at 12:00

The new Liverpool City Region metro-mayor, Steve Rotheram is to push for a station at Liverpool airport to give all in the North West easy access to the two airports, and also a direct fast link between Liverpool and Manchester airports. This would effectively semi-merge the airports. He apparently has the backing of the new Gtr Manchester metro-mayor Andy Burnham. Lines are quite near to Liverpool airport. This means the Northern Crossrail (which is also a national linear hub) and how it meshes into HS2 may take a very different complexion.

John Burns   20/05/2017 at 12:05

@Michael Wand Yes, just about everything I have read about HS2 over he past 5 years does not hold water. I am sure it will start, as they want to save face, and all points to that phase 1 from London to Birmingham and phase 2a Birmingham to Crewe will be built and nothing else. Phase 2a is to be built simultaneously with phase 1. The south east can then turn the WCML into a commuter line, as was done with the MML having Thameslink use it.

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