Latest Rail News


Liverpool leaders call for £15bn boost from HS2 and HS3 links

Liverpool should have connections to both HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA) said today.

New research commissioned by LCRCA shows that the high-speed rail links could deliver a £15bn boost to the economy, as well as 20,000 jobs, 10,000 homes and an extra 2.9 million visitors a year.

LCRCA released the figures to coincide with a new HS2 Ltd report, ‘Changing Britain: HS2 taking root’, which focuses on the benefits of the planned high-speed route for cities which will not be on the line, but will have HS2 trains running to them on the classic network.

HS2 trains, including those from the high-speed line at Crewe, are due to stop at Runcorn and Liverpool Lime Street.

The report said that LCRCA has called for HS2 to integrate with Northern Powerhouse Rail, originally called HS3, so that the city has both north-south and east-west high-speed rail links.

Joe Anderson, mayor of Liverpool and chair of LCRCA, commented: “Joining Liverpool to HS2 via Northern Powerhouse Rail is vital for our future prosperity and we strongly welcome that this HS2 report recognises the importance of this to Liverpool City Region.

“That’s why we are pushing hard with HS2, Transport for the North and partners across the north to make sure that we get the commitment to deliver the full connectivity we need.”

Cllr Liam Robinson, chair of the Merseytravel committee, added that Merseytravel’s aim was to secure “a brand new, twin-track, rail line between Liverpool and Manchester” with direct connections to HS2, and a new station at Liverpool Lime Street capable of receiving HS2 trains.

Cllr Robinson said this would reduce the journey time between Liverpool and Manchester by 50% and between Liverpool and London by 25%.

Earlier this year, think tank ResPublica also suggested that LCRCA should offer to pay for HS2 to come directly to the city.

The other cities mentioned in the HS2 Ltd report include Newcastle, York, Warrington, Darlington, Preston and Carlisle, which will be served by HS2 trains despite not being directly on the line.

In his foreword to the report, David Higgins, chair of HS2 Ltd, said these cities should begin planning for the arrival of high-speed services “as soon as possible”.

He argued HS2 would allow regions “new ways” of trading with each other, not just London, as well as creating more capacity on the network.

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an RTM columnist? If so, click here.


Andrew Gwilt   31/10/2016 at 21:45

Could Liverpool Lime Street benefit on not just having National Rail and Merseyrail but also HS2 with the redevelopment of Liverpool Lime Street as HS2 is planned to be built and will go to Liverpool and Manchester and to connect with WCML and ECML towards Scotland and a new HS3 Transpennine line to connect Liverpool with Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Hull and across the North of England.

John Burns   01/11/2016 at 17:02

Any boost to Liverpool's economy will come from HS3, if they run a new line into Liverpool, not HS2. HS3 will alleviate the rail into the Port of Liverpool's SuperPort, which is coming on-line soon. @Andrew Gwilt Any 400m long HS2 trains into Liverpool, if it ever does get into the city, is best terminating at Edge Hill in a new station. Lime St is best being made into an underground "through" station that connects up to the Merseyrail tunnel at James St. Merseyrail, and HS3 trains can use this new Crossrail line and terminate in the Wirral, probably turning back at Birkenhead North. Then Birkenhead is served. James St can serve the cruise liner terminal for the ever expanding cruise industry. A new underground station can be built in Liverpool Business Quarter around Victoria St. Lime St upper level can then be a concourse and a shopping mall, as was proposed a number of times. A Merseyrail station be built in the Lime St cutting serving the university and large Royal teaching hospital. The Royal Hospital serves the whole region and beyond. So, Lime St for local & regional and Edge Hill for long haul. Merseyrail can take passengers from Edge Hill to all over the Liverpool Region.

Andrew Gwilt   02/11/2016 at 21:25

So what you are saying is that HS2 may not be heading to Liverpool but to link up with the line that goes to Liverpool Lime Street.

John Burns   03/11/2016 at 01:01

HS2 will not do much for Liverpool's economy compared to HS3. The same for Manchester and Leeds. TfN is wanting a new line into Liverpool to alleviate the SuperPort. The HS3 line is best connecting to the Mersey rail tunnel via a "through" Lime St station by putting the platforms underground and having the ground level a concourse and shopping mall. HS3 can then serve the Wirral and North Wales when a Dee Tunnel is built (one was planned over 40 years ago), the spur on jcn 2 of the M53 was to run to it. Higgins has stated that Liverpool is best served to run onto HS2 by the west to east HS3. The HS2 link to Liverpool is outside his budget. So, HS3 funds will provide Liverpool with a dedicated HS2 link. If 400 metre long HS2 trains do go to Liverpool, Edge Hill is the best station location, with HS3 running through Lime St onto the Wirral. Merseyrail trains will service Edge Hill and HS2 connections. But all is assuming HS2 gets further north than Crewe. Alstom have offered HS2 Ltd HS2 tilting classic compatible trains, that will run faster on classic tracks. What this means is that trains to Manchester via the existing classic track from Crewe will not be far short in time from London than the full planned HS2. HS2 north of Crewe is not needed and financially unjustified. It is difficult to see HS2 getting further north than Crewe. Trains to Liverpool may run high-speed HS2 track to Crewe, WCML to around Goldbourne and branch onto HS3 track to Liverpool terminating at Edge Hill.

Chris M   08/11/2016 at 05:07

No John, Alstom have offered a yet to be designed high speed tilting train concept for HS2, however they won't be faster than Pendolinos on the existing tracks. Who would want them to be, they occupy too many paths! But they would mean tiny, cramped and heavy trains compared to a normal HS2 train - so basically not worth it. No idea why you think HS2 will be ending at Crewe - you must be getting very confused indeed. Yes, phase 2a stops there in 2027. In 2033 however there will be a brand new HS railway right into the centre of Manchester, plus the main HS2 route will pass to the east of Warrington and rejoin the WCML near Wigan. This will cut the London - Scotland times to just 3 hours and 38 minutes, with no need for silly and cramped tilting trains making their passengers feel queasy!!!

Chris M   08/11/2016 at 05:16

"Trains to Liverpool may run high-speed HS2 track to Crewe, WCML to around Goldbourne and branch onto HS3 track to Liverpool terminating at Edge Hill." Oh dear John.....Where on earth do you get this nonsense from? HS2 trains running twice an hour will call at Crewe, then head to Liverpool Lime St calling at Runcorn. Like every express train since 1830, they will not stop at the windswept platforms of Edge Hill. They will go to LIme Street in about 90 minutes from London. The boss of HS2 ltd said so just a couple of days ago, dig out the video clip and listen to him. Then you might stop making all these incredibly daft claims about HS2, a subject you seem not to understand properly. I have no idea where you get this whacky 'info' from but you rarely get anything right. Why not look at the official website so you can get the real facts about HS2?

John Burns   10/11/2016 at 00:10

@Chris M Pendolino tilting trains can run at 140mph on classic track with in-cab signalling. The tilting APT was designed to run at 155mph on existing track. The HS2 classic compatible trains do not tilt. They run at around 110mph on existing track. Alstom are saying they can deliver tilting HS2 classic compatible trains that run far faster than 110mph, more like a peak of 155 or 160mph on classic track. This means that using these trains, the London to Manchester train using the tilting HS2 Alstom offering, can do the London to Manchester time just slightly less time than the planned HS2 time. Similar with the Liverpool trains. Similar with Scottish trains winding far faster through the Lake District reducing time from London to Scotland. The magic less than 3 hours London to Glasgow can be achieved by removing some WCML bottlenecks and maybe building some lengths of high-speed track in Scotland. There is no need to have high-speed track all the way back to Crewe. That means HS2 track north of Crewe is not needed. It is financially not viable to run HS2 track north of Crewe. Standardising on one HS2, type, a fast tilting classic compatible train, make so much sense. Phase 1 and 2a are London to Crewe. This looks like going ahead. There are plans to run HS2 track north of Crewe, phase 2b. This looks ominous. Manchester has a direct classic line to Crewe. Remove bottlenecks and run tilting HS2 trains on the classic line. Higgins has stated that only classic compatible trains will be used on phases 1 and 2a. No dedicated 'captive' HS2 trains are to be ordered. This makes sense to only one type to make matters cheaper in purchase, maintenance and running. These HS2 classic compatible trains can also be used on the ECML on the London to Leeds run doing the trip in about the same time as planned HS2 trains. If there are any capacity issues within Manchester, that can be dealt with locally not by running a new track all the way back to Crewe. The problems with high-speed rail is that train technology has caught up with it, rendering a lot of it redundant. LIke north of Crewe.

20Milesmore   15/11/2016 at 09:33 Why not keep lime street the way it is and put the new High Speed station at Liverpool Exchange? It would be easily connected to Lime Street via Moorfields station and able to use the Canada dock branch to re-join the main network. It would also be in a good position for future HS3 Links to the West, e.g. Manchester, Leeds, Hull or even links North to Scotland or Lancashire towns.

John Burns   15/11/2016 at 15:48

@20Milesmore Most of the old Liverpool Exchange station site is on he north edge of the city centre, being a surface car park. There are a few problems with reusing this old site: 1. It has to be accessed mostly by a curving track that to be a part of the Merseyrail metro 40 years ago. This trackbed is best left to be used for Merseyrail, when HMG give the money to finish it, where it will benefit many 1,000s on daily basis. 2. To accommodate 400 metre long trains would mean extending any station over Leeds St. 3. OK, a pedestrian tunnel can be cut to Moorfields underground station, which has good Merseyrail connections, apart from to the east of the city. Maybe running the disused Waterloo Tunnel into the Wirral Line Loop tunnel will solve connections to the east of the city. Terminating HS2, and all long haul services at Edge Hill, to the east of the city centre, gives all the space needed in a new station. Merseyrail can give excellent connections. As I mentioned, Lime St is best being made into an underground "through" station for regional and HS3, that connects up to the Merseyrail tunnel at James St. Merseyrail, and HS3 trains can use this new Crossrail line which could eventually run to North Wales. Lime St upper level can then be a open spacious concourse and a shopping mall, as was proposed a number of times. Having HS2 terminate at Edge Hill and Lime St as a through HS3 station gives so much more, including using planned trackbed for Merseyrail. Then Long haul has one station and regional services another lined by a metro. Exchange is a good idea but it removes trackbed from vital Merseyrail services, which are more important than HS2.

John Burns   16/11/2016 at 09:53

@20Milesmore BTW, the HS2 line at Goldborn is only "16" miles from Liverpool. Yet HMG will not pay for a line into the city, yet HMG is building a disproportionately expensive 7.5 mile tunnel into Manchester. I see HS2 Ltd, announced phase 2b, the Crewe to Manchester and Birmingham to Leeds routes. Liverpool is even worse off, as the train shed will not be at Goldborne, eliminating the north part of the delta junction to Manchester. This means a high-speed train from Liverpool to Manchester airport using the HS2 spur to Manchester is far more difficult. Another wall put in front of the city. It is easy to be myopic over HS2. HS3 is far more important to the city and the North West as whole. HS3 is better running "through" Liverpool, onto the Wirral and onto North Wales eventually. That is done by boring a half mile tunnel from Lime St to James St, making Lime St an underground "through" station. Using awaiting rail trackbeds for Merseyrail for HS2 at Exchange is counter-productive. Having all long haul routes at a new station at Edge Hill means the disused eastern section of Outer Loop line can be retained for Merseyrail metro use to service the Long haul trains at Edge Hill and regional services at Lime St, and even run over to the Wirral. This Outer Loop line can also take people in the east and north of the city to Liverpool airport when a station is built - which it needs urgently.

John Burns   16/11/2016 at 10:06

@@20Milesmore One question. HS2 is running on the old trackbed that skirts Culcheth which is about 16 miles from Liverpool. The Liverpool to Manchester line is nearby. A branch from this line can easily be built into the HS2 track as it is all fields there. Then HS2 trains into Liverpool need only be running for 16 miles along a fast straight track into Lime St, rather than 40 miles along a slow winding WCML spur into Lime St from Crewe. OK regional trains on the Liverpool-Manchester line will be hit by this, however the southern Liverpool to Manchester line via Warrington can be electrified, uprated and made faster to transfer the load - which it needs anyhow. None of this makes sense. The Q. Why isn't a branch from HS2 into the Liverpool Manchester line being built?

Add your comment

Rail industry Focus

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 >

Most Read

'the sleepers' blog

On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

29/06/2020On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

Following an independent audit, Sulzer’s Nottingham Service Centre has been accepted as part of the rail industry supplier approval scheme (RISAS). The accreditation reinforces the high-quality standards that are maintained by Sulzer’s... 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 >
Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projects across the UK, Pearson Business School, part of... more >