The Anonymous Widower

UKIP Says HS2 Won’t Benefit Copeland

There is a by-election in the Copeland constituency, if you haven’t noticed and this is the BBC’s guide to the election.

When I was at Liverpool University in the 1960s, one of C’s friends used to live near Barrow-in-Furness. I remember we had a drink with her once and she told us how she used to have to take five trains and umpteen hours to get between Barrow and Liverpool.

Liverpool to Barrow-in-Furness now takes just over two and a half hours with a single change at Preston.

So when I heard someone from UKIP say that HS2 wouldn’t benefit Copeland on the BBC, I thought I’d check the times.

HS2 opens to Crewe in 2027 and I suspect that trains going to the North of Crewe will use HS2 to Crewe and then run on the classic lines to go North.

Euston to Crewe currently takes 90 minutes, but after HS2 opens this time will reduce to 58 minutes. Times are from this page in The Guardian.

The fastest trains to Barrow-in-Furness currently take  three hours fifty-three minutes with a change at either Preston or Lancaster.

So just reducing this time by the thirty two minutes saved South of Crewe, brings the time down to three hours twenty-one minutes.

But I think we’ll see innovation in HS2’s trains.

It seems to be the policy now for a company to have short and long trains, as both the Class 800 trains and Greater Anglia’s Aventras come in both short and long versions, where two short trains can join together for flexibility of operation.

Could Hs2 take this further and say have five-car short trains, three of which could join together for the fast run to and from London?

So will we see five-car trains that can serve places like Barrow-in-Furness, Blackpool and Burnley, joining at Preston  for a fast run on HS2 to London?

I also think that by the mid-2020s, all electric trains will have the capability to fit onboard energy storage to give them access to places like Barrow-in-Furness, which may not be electrified.

So could we see a high speed train serving Barrow-in-Furness in 2027? After all Barrow-in-Furness to the West Coast Main Line is just twenty-nine miles, which by that date, will be totally in range of a train with onboard energy storage.

If you look at the provisional timetable for Phase 1 of HS2 on Wikipedia, you will see that there is one train per hour (tph) to Preston. Could this be a train created by bringing together portions from Barrow-in-Furness, Blackpool and Burnley? I don’t know, but the French do similar things with TGVs.

I wouldn’t be surprised and with selective improvements to the route North of Preston and on the Furness Line, the time from London to Barrow could be under three hours, when HS2 opens to Crewe.

Effectively, by building HS2 to Crewe and using specially-designed trains, towns like Barrow-in-Furness get a high speed connection to Birmingham and London.

Cancel HS2 and Copeland will still be deep in the past, as far as rail travel is concerned.


February 15, 2017 - Posted by | Transport | , , , ,


  1. I saw the primary school on TV last evening, and it was interesting – love the colour of the school uniform; long story, the school I was chair of governors had the same colour, chosen by me. No local football team has it as its colours, no local secondary school or other primary school has it as uniform colour, and doesn’t make children of any skin colour or hair colour look dreadful!

    Back to the topic – Barrow in Furness is miles from anywhere and a decent rail service can only be positive!

    Comment by nosnikrapzil | February 16, 2017 | Reply

    • I think we’re going to see interesting uses of these short trains of five coaches, which join together to rush to and from London. For instance trains could start at Barrow-in-Furness, Blackpool and possibly Halifax or Hebden Bridge and come together at Preson, where they would stop at probably Crewe, Birmingham and London. Preston to London would take just 84 minutes.

      Burnley, which I know, that you know well, would be just two hours from London. If that didn’t bring inward investment to the town, I’d be very surprised. And it could happen in 2027.

      All it would need is a platform somewhere like Halifax, where they could terminate the train..

      Comment by AnonW | February 16, 2017 | Reply

  2. That really would be good – places like Hebden Bridge and Burnley and Colne are very much off the beaten track. So is Barrow. Blackpool less so because of the tourist trade, and they have succeeded in getting people there out of season too, although not like the same extent. Not sure how long it would take to get to Preston from Stockport by train, but with changes if needed, I would imagine it would be a good hour, so 84 mins to London is good. Neil goes down to London fairly frequently, leaves on the 7.25 and is at his head office before 9.30.

    The other issue is house prices. You can get beautiful properties, 4, 5 or even 6 bedrooms, for under £250K in places like Colne, and smaller terrace ones for under £100K – the really small two up two down are around£50,000 and are often fully refurbished. So getting to London quickly would enable people to commute to London at least part of the time, whilst having a nice house out in the nice countryside.

    Comment by nosnikrapzil | February 17, 2017 | Reply

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