The Anonymous Widower

Building New City-Centre Lines Instead Of Using Existing Network Inflates HS2 Cost By 15%

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Rail Technology Magazine.

This is the first paragraph.

HS2’s second phase will cost more compared to similar overseas schemes because it relies on new dedicated high-speed lines into city-centre terminal stations at Manchester and Leeds rather than using the existing conventional railway.

As the review of the costs of HS2, that showed this, was done by PwC, I suspect the figures can be believed.

Over the last few years, we’ve redeveloped or extended several busy stations like Derby, Kings Cross, Liverpool Lime |Street, London Bridge, Manchester Victoria, Nottingham, Reading and St. Pancras.

I like Reading and London Bridge the best, as the large concourse crossing either over or under the tracks with lots of escalators and lifts, seems to work well  Liverpool Lime Street with a wide concourse at one end, seems to work well for a terminal station.

But St. Pancras is a mess for passengers and staff alike with effectively four stations in one one Victorian building.

It would have been better, if the station had been flattered and a new one built.

This approach is being taken at that 1960s monstrosity; Euston, which is being extended for HS2.

The four Northern stations in Phase 2 of HS2 are being treated differently.

  • Leeds is getting a dedicated approach to new platforms at right angles to the existing ones.
  • Liverpool Lime Street uses the existing approach and platforms have been extended for the new HS2 trains.
  • Manchester Piccadilly is getting a dedicated approach to new platforms alongside the existing ones.
  • Sheffield uses the existing approach and platforms will be extended for the new HS2 trains.

Liverpool Lime Street is already HS2-ready and can handle at least two normal expresses and one HS2 train in an hour.

The works were completed in a six-month blockade in the Summer of 2018.

I suspect Sheffield will be made HS2-ready, in a similar way.


Obviously, every station is different.

But Liverpool Lime Street has shown how it is possible to find an affordable, less disruptive approach to some stations.


November 15, 2018 - Posted by | Transport | , , , , ,


  1. In Manchester, Piccadilly is already over crowded, however more platforms could be built alongside.

    The southern [surface] approach actually misses the airport, but could be connected by a short tunnel to the Styal line and the long desired Slade Lane flyover built. There would still be an issue about saturation of lines, which as in London is probably why they are proposing boring all the way to the city centre.

    Comment by Mark Clayton | November 16, 2018 | Reply

    • With the advance of tunneling methods, I would have throught that an East-West tunnel for HS3 coild call at a station under Piccadilly Gardens. Then a tunneled HS2 could connect to it with cross-platform interchange. Both services could then go on to Leeds with a stop underneath Huddersfield.

      Comment by AnonW | November 16, 2018 | Reply

  2. HS2’s CEO was in parliament yesterday, and is reported as saying that “The parliamentary process covering Phase 2B … has been held up to ensure HS2 Ltd’s plans are co-ordinated with proposals for an east-west line being taken forward under the Northern Powerhouse Rail initiative. Thurston said he hoped the Phase 2B bill would receive Royal Assent by the end of 2023”. So it wouldn’t be surprising if the plans for stations and approaches were amended.

    Comment by Peter Robins | November 21, 2018 | Reply

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