The Anonymous Widower

Thoughts On Phase 2a Of High Speed Two

This map shows the route of Phase 2a of High Speed Two.


  1. The blue circles are stations.
  2. From the top, the stations are Crewe, Stoke-on-Trent, Stafford, Birmingham Curzon Street and Birmingham Interchange.
  3. The lighter blue track is sections of the West Coast Main Line, that will be used by High Speed Two services.
  4. The darker blue track is Phase 1 of High Speed Two.
  5. The orange track is Phase 2b of High Speed Two to East Midlands Hub, Leeds and Sheffield.
  6. The mauve track is Phase 2a of High Speed Two.

This page on the High Speed Two web site, which is entitled Phase 2a: West Midlands To Crewe, says this about the building and opening of Phase 2a.

It will be built at the same time as the line between London and the West Midlands. High speed services will begin operating between London, Birmingham and Crewe between 2029 and 2033.

It is my opinion, to build Phase 1 and Phase 2a together is a good move.

  • Crewe is a very well-connected station.
  • It will reduce times between Crewe and London Euston by 34 minutes.

But most importantly, it completes a second separate route for the West Coast Main Line between Crewe and London Euston.

Just think what new bypasses and motorways have done for your driving.

These are some thoughts and observations.

West Coast Main Line Benefits

The High Speed Two web page, which is entitled Phase 2a: West Midlands To Crewe, has a section called West Coast Main Line Benefits, where this is said.

Phase 2a unlocks more rail capacity on the West Coast mainline. It will carry six long distance high speed services per hour, freeing up the West Coast Mainline between Lichfield and Crewe. This could see services rise from hourly to half-hourly or better between Crewe and Stoke-on-Trent to Nuneaton, Tamworth, Lichfield and Rugeley, as well as more services from Crewe to Runcorn and Liverpool, as well as via Crewe between North Wales, Chester and London.

It would appear the six long-distance services could be.

  • Train 1 – London Euston and Lancaster – Splits and joins with Train 2 at Crewe.
  • Train 2 – London Euston and Liverpool – Splits and joins with Train 1 at Crewe.
  • Train 3 – London Euston and Liverpool – Single train
  • Train 4 – London Euston and Edinburgh/Glasgow – Splits and joins at Carlisle for Edinburgh and Glasgow
  • Train 5 – London Euston and Edinburgh/Glasgow – Splits and joins at Carlisle for Edinburgh and Glasgow
  • Train 6 – Birmingham Curzon Street and Edinburgh/Glasgow – Serves Edinburgh and Glasgow alternately.

Note that all services use a single or a pair of High Speed Two Classic Compatible trains.

A High Speed Test Route Can Be Created


  • At the Northern end of the Phase 2a track is Crewe station.
  • At the Southern end of the Phase 2a track is Birmingham Interchange station.
  • The track between the two end stations will be newly-laid modern high speed track capable of 225 mph running.
  • There will be no intermediate stations or Victorian throwbacks like level crossings.
  • The only junctions are at the end of the route.
  • If the High Speed Two trains are built in this country, there will be a need for somewhere to check them out.

The Phase 2a track will surely make an ideal test track for testing trains and systems and training drivers.


August 22, 2021 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Strong leaks from Whitehall to the press is that the eastern leg of HS2, Birmingham to Leeds is cancelled. All papers are running the story, including the qualities, indicating it is true.

    The best thing to save HS2 is to use what is under construction. Make HS2:

    a) a line from Old Oak Common to Rugby via Aylesbury
    2) have a branch onto an uprated Chiltern line to Birmingham
    3) Have a station at Aylesbury for Buckinghamshire, the most aggreaved people.

    Continue HS2 from Old Oak Common, through the under construction Chiltern tunnels, then divert it at Aylesbury up the disused Gt.Central trackbed to branch onto the WCML at Rugby. That means recommissioning just 40 miles of Gt.Central trackbed. HS2 plan is to use a small section of the Gt.Central’s trackbed from north of Aylesbury to around Brackley, this would mean just carrying on to Rugby. This reopened section of the Gt.Central can be called HS2 to appease the trainspotters. Also leave a station at Aylesbury to serve Bucks. Reopening an Beeching closed line would have popular appeal.

    North of Aylesbury the HS2 track can vitally branch into the Chiltern Line. All Birmingham trains can run onto this line taking them off the WCML, increasing capacity on the WCML. The Chiltern Line is a shorter direct route, giving a London to Birmingham journey time similar to HS2 times, or better.

    Trains on the WCML heading south, at Rugby then get two extra tracks to London. Removing the Birmingham trains off the WCML and diverting some WCML services into London gives all the capacity needed on the WCML – the line HS2 Ltd state will be is overcrowded as it stands.

    Of course remove bottlenecks on the WCML, MML and ECML, as a matter of course. Plans are in line to do this on the MML and ECML.

    This is the best solution all around.

    Comment by John | August 23, 2021 | Reply

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