Second Class High Speed Rail
There seems to be a bit of momentum behind HS3 – or High Speed Rail along the M62 corridor.
Only a bit mind – part of the route and not very “high-speed” and only possibly planned.
Plans for a high-speed “HS3” rail link in the north of England have moved a step closer after a report by the boss of the HS2 scheme, Sir David Higgins.
Sir David said better rail links in northern England were “desirable” and “possible” after being asked to look at ways of maximising the benefits of HS2.
BBC News Website 26 October 2014 : ‘HS3’ rail link for north of England backed by Sir David Higgins
The accompanying map shows a “possible” link between Leeds and Manchester – not extending to Liverpool or showing any link to Sheffield, Hull or the North East.
It’s likely that the faster trains in the north of England wouldn’t run on completely new lines, but a mix of upgraded and new tracks. And whilst the proposed HS2 route would have a maximum speed of 225mph, the suggested speed for the new trans-Pennine link would be around 125mph.
So the new HS3 will have to share track with other slower traffic (including freight) and it will introduce to the route maximum 125mph running – a speed that was introduced on the London Bristol route in 1975 using technology that is now 40 years old. Yet if these “high-speed services” have to thread their way between Leeds and Manchester commuter trains the average speed is likely to be well below the 125mph maximum.
Meanwhile HS1 and HS2 are dedicated 225mph routes (almost twice the speed). And Crossrail is costing £16bn whilst for HS3 they want it to cost no more than £7bn.
So it’s fobbing off the Northerners again and trying to build northern infrastructure on the cheap. It is as if someone in the South wants to keep the North in its place. The plans are not even “definite maybes” only possible options.
The Conservative’s “Northern Powerhouse” policy very much looks like a case of all fur coat and no knickers.