The Anonymous Widower

Thoughts On High Speed Two

These are a few thoughts about High Speed Two, after the reports of major changes today.

This article on the BBC is entitled HS2 Line Between Birmingham And Crewe Delayed By Two Years.

This is the sub-heading.

The Birmingham to Crewe leg of high speed railway HS2 will be delayed by two years to cut costs.

These are the three opening paragraphs.

Some of the design teams working on the Euston end of the line are also understood to be affected.

Transport secretary Mark Harper blamed soaring prices and said it was “committed” to the line linking London, the Midlands and North of England.

HS2 has been beset by delays and cost rises. In 2010, it was expected to cost £33bn but is now expected to be £71bn.

Delivering The Benefits Of High Speed Two Early

It is my belief that with a large project taking a decade or more , it is not a bad idea to deliver some worthwhile benefits early on.

The Elizabeth Line opened in stages.

  • The new Class 345 trains started replacing scrapyard specials in 2017.
  • The rebuilt Abbey Wood station opened in 2017.
  • Paddington local services were transferred to the Elizabeth Line in 2019.
  • Outer stations reopened regularly after  refurbishment from 2018.
  • The through line opened in May 2022.

There’s still more to come.

Some projects wait until everything is ready and everybody gets fed up and annoyed.

Are there any parts of High Speed Two, that could be completed early, so that existing services will benefit?

In 2020, the refurbishment of Liverpool Lime Street station and the tracks leading to the station was completed and I wrote about the station in It’s A Privilege To Work Here!, where this was my conclusion.

Wikipedia says this about Liverpool Lime Street station.

Opened in August 1836, it is the oldest still-operating grand terminus mainline station in the world.

I’ve used Lime Street station for fifty-five years and finally, it is the station, the city needs and deserves.

I’ve been to grand termini all over the world and Lime Street may be the oldest, but now it is one of the best.

Are there any stations, that will be served by High Speed Two, that should be upgraded as soon as possible to give early benefits to passengers, staff and operators?

Avanti West Cost have solved the problem of the short platforms at Liverpool South Parkway station, by ordering shorter Class 807 trains. Will High Speed Two lengthen the platforms at this station?

A good project manager will need to get all the smaller sub-projects in a row and work out what is the best time to do each.

Digital Signalling

I would assume, as this will be needed for High Speed Two services in the West Coast Main Line to the North of Crewe, this is surely a must for installing as early as possible.

If the existing trains could run for a hundred miles at 140 mph, rather than the current 125 mph, that would save five worthwhile minutes.

Trains could run closer together and there is the possibility of organising services in flights, where a number of trains run together a safe number of minutes apart.

Remove Bottlenecks On Classic Lines, That Could Be Used By High Speed Two

I don’t know the bottlenecks on the West Coast Main Line, but there are two on the East Coast Main Line, that I have talked about in the past.

Could ERTMS And ETCS Solve The Newark Crossing Problem?

Improving The North Throat Of York Station Including Skelton Bridge Junction

Hopefully, the digital signalling will solve them.

Any bottlenecks on lines that will be part of High Speed Two, should be upgraded as soon as possible.

Birmingham And Crewe

I will start by looking at the leg between Birmingham and Crewe.


This section of the HS2 map shows High Speed Two between Birmingham and Lichfield.


  1. The blue circle on the left at the bottom of the map is Birmingham Curzon Street station.
  2. The blue circle on the right at the bottom of the map is Birmingham Interchange station.
  3. The High Speed Two to and from London passes through Birmingham Interchange station.
  4. The branch to Birmingham Curzon Street station connects to the main High Speed Two at a triangular junction.
  5. North of the triangular junction, High Speed Two splits.
  6. The Eastern branch goes to East Midlands Parkway station.
  7. The Northern branch goes to Crewe, Liverpool Lime Street, Manchester Piccadilly, Preston and Scotland.

At the top of the map, the Northern branch splits and lines are shown on this map.


  1. The junction where the Northern and Eastern branches divide is in the South-East corner of the map.
  2. To the North of Lichfield, the route divides again.
  3. The Northern purple line is the direct line to Crewe.
  4. The shorter Southern branch is a spur that connects High Speed Two to the Trent Valley Line, which is the current route taken by trains between London Euston and Crewe, Liverpool Lime Street, Manchester Piccadilly, Preston and Scotland.
  5. Crewe station is in the North-West corner of the map.

The route between the junction to the North of Lichfield and Crewe is essentially two double-track railways.

  • High Speed Two with a routine operating speed of 205 mph.
  • The Trent Valley Line with a routine operating speed of 140 mph.
  • High Speed Two Classic-Compatible trains can run on all tracks.
  • High Speed Two Full-Size trains may be able to run on the Trent Valley Line at reduced speed.
  • Eighteen trains per hour (tph) is the maximum frequency of High Speed Two.

I feel in an emergency, trains will be able to use the other route.

Will This Track Layout Allow An Innovative Build?

Suppose the link to the Trent Valley Line was built first, so that High Speed Two trains from London for Crewe, Liverpool Lime Street, Manchester Piccadilly, Preston and Scotland, could transfer to the Trent Valley Line as they do now.

  • All lines used by High Speed Two services North of the junction, where High Speed Two joins the Trent Valley Line would be updated with digital signalling and 140 mph running. This will benefit current services on the line. For instance Euston and Liverpool/Manchester services could be under two hours.
  • The current services would be replaced by High Speed Two services run by High Speed Two Classic-Compatible trains.
  • The direct High Speed Two route between Lichfield and Crewe would now be built.
  • When this section of High Speed Two is complete, High Speed Two services would use it between Lichfield and Crewe.
  • As the direct route would be built later, this would delay the building of the Birmingham and Crewe high-speed route.

Currently, trains run the  41.8 miles between Lichfield and Crewe in 28 minutes, which is an average speed of 89.6 mph.

I can build a table of average speeds and times for Lichfield and Crewe.

  • 100 mph – 25.1 minutes – 2.9 minutes saving
  • 110 mph – 22.8 minutes – 5.2 minutes saving
  • 120 mph – 20.9 minutes – 7.1 minutes saving
  • 125 mph – 20.1 minutes – 7.9 minutes saving
  • 130 mph – 19.3 minutes  – 8.7 minutes saving
  • 140 mph – 17.9 minutes – 10.1 minutes saving
  • 160 mph – 15.7 minutes – 12.3 minutes saving
  • 180 mph – 13.9 minutes – 14.1 minutes saving
  • 200 mph – 12.5 minutes – 15.5 minutes saving


  1. Even a slight increase in average speed creates several minutes saving.
  2. Times apply for both routes.

I believe that a 125 mph average should be possible on the Trent Valley route, which may be enough for Euston and Liverpool/Manchester services to be under two hours.

Improving Classic Lines Used By High Speed Two North Of Lichfield

Real Time Trains shows these figures for a Glasgow Central to Euston service.

  • Glasgow and Lichfield Trent Valley is 298.2 miles.
  • Glasgow and Lichfield Trent Valley takes five hours.

This is an average speed of 59.6 mph.


  1. The average speed is low considering the trains are capable of cruising at 125 mph and 140 mph with digital signalling.
  2. High Speed Two services between Euston and Glasgow will use the classic network, to the North of Lichfield.

I can build a table of average speeds and times for Glasgow and Lichfield.

  • 100 mph – 179 minutes – 121 minutes saving
  • 110 mph – 163 minutes – 157 minutes saving
  • 120 mph – 149 minutes – 151 minutes saving
  • 125 mph – 143 minutes – 157 minutes saving
  • 130 mph – 138 minutes  – 162 minutes saving
  • 140 mph – 128 minutes – 172 minutes saving

This table illustrates why it is important to improve all or as many as possible of classic lines used by High Speed Two to enable 140 mph running, with full digital signalling. Obviously, if 140 mph is not feasible, the speed should be increased to the highest possible.

Routes that could be updated include.

  • London Euston and Glasgow Central
  • London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street
  • London Euston and Manchester Piccadilly (all routes)
  • London Euston and Blackpool
  • London Euston and Holyhead
  • London Euston and Shrewsbury

Not all these routes will be served by High Speed Two, but they could be served by 140 mph trains.

What Times Would Be Possible?

The InterCity 225 was British Rail’s ultimate electric train and these two paragraphs from its Wikipedia entry, describe its performance.

The InterCity 225 was designed to achieve a peak service speed of 140 mph (225 km/h); during a test run in 1989 on Stoke Bank between Peterborough and Grantham, an InterCity 225 was recorded at a speed of 162 mph (260.7 km/h). Its high speed capabilities were again demonstrated via a 3hr 29mins non-stop run between London and Edinburgh on 26 September 1991. British regulations have since required in-cab signalling on any train running at speeds above 125 mph (201 km/h) preventing such speeds from being legally attained in regular service. Thus, except on High Speed 1, which is equipped with cab signalling, British signalling does not allow any train, including the InterCity 225, to exceed 125 mph (201 km/h) in regular service, due to the impracticality of correctly observing lineside signals at high speed.

The InterCity 225 has also operated on the West Coast Main Line (WCML). In April 1992, one trainset achieved a new speed record of two hours, eight minutes between Manchester and London Euston, shaving 11 minutes off the 1966 record. During 1993, trials were operated to Liverpool and Manchester in connection with the InterCity 250 project.

  • The fastest London Euston and Manchester Piccadilly services appear to be two hours and six minutes tomorrow, with stops at Nuneaton and Stoke-on-Trent.
  • The fastest London King’s Cross and Edinburgh service is four hours seventeen minutes tomorrow.

It does appear that British Rail’s 1980s-vintage InterCity 225 train did very well.

Trains that would be able to run at 140 mph with updated signalling include.

  • Alstom Class 390
  • Hitachi Class 800, 801, 802, 803, 805, 807 and 810
  • British Rail InterCity 225
  • High Speed Two Classic-Compatible.

All are electric trains.

Could High Speed Two, West Coast Main Line and East Coast Main Line Services Be Run By  High Speed Two Classic-Compatible Trains?

I don’t see why not!

  • They would be able to use short stretches of High Speed Line like Lichfield and Crewe.
  • LNER and CrossCountry could also use the trains.
  • High Speed Two is providing the framework and it’s there to be used, provided the paths are available.

This graphic shows the preliminary schedule.

It only shows ten trains going through Crewe, so there could be up to eight spare high speed paths between Birmingham and Crewe.

Could High Speed Two Classic-Compatible Trains Be Used To Advantage On The East Coast Main Line?

I published this extract from the Wikipedia entry for the InterCity 225 earlier.

The InterCity 225 was designed to achieve a peak service speed of 140 mph (225 km/h); during a test run in 1989 on Stoke Bank between Peterborough and Grantham, an InterCity 225 was recorded at a speed of 162 mph (260.7 km/h). Its high speed capabilities were again demonstrated via a 3hr 29mins non-stop run between London and Edinburgh on 26 September 1991.

The London and Edinburgh run was at an average speed of around 112 mph.

I wonder what time, one of LNER’s Class 801 trains, that are all-electric could do, once the new digital signalling has been fully installed on the route? I suspect it would be close to three hours, but it would depend on how long the trains could run at 140 mph.

It should be noted that the Selby Diversion was designed for 160 mph, when it was built by British Rail in the 1980s.

In Are Short Lengths Of High Speed Line A Good Idea?, I look at the mathematics of putting in short lengths of new railway, which have higher speeds, where this was part of my conclusion.

I very much feel there is scope to create some new high speed sections on the current UK network, with only building very little outside of the current land used by the network.

I would love to know what some of Network Rail’s track experts feel is the fastest time possible between London and Edinburgh that can be achieved, by selective upgrading of the route.

If some of the trains were High Speed Two Classic-Compatible Trains, with a top speed of 205 mph, provided the track allowed it, there could be some interesting mathematics balancing the costs of track upgrades, new trains with what passengers and operators need in terms of journey times.

Could High Speed Two Classic-Compatible Trains Be Used To Advantage On The West Coast Main Line?

Much of what I said about the East Coast Main Line would apply to the West Coast Main Line.

But in addition, the West Coast Main Line will be a superb place to test the new High Speed Two Classic-Compatible Trains.

I believe, that before High Speed Two opens, we’ll see High Speed Two Classic-Compatible Trains, carrying passengers between Euston and Avanti West Coast’s destinations.

Could High Speed Two Be Split Into Two?


  • Under earlier plans, the East Coast Main Line to the North of York, will be used by High Speed Two.
  • With digital signalling the East Coast Main Line will support continuous running at 140 mph for long sections of the route.
  • The East Coast Main Line has a recently-rebuilt large Southern terminal at King’s Cross with eleven platforms and good suburban services and excellent connections to the London Underground.
  • The East Coast Main Line has a very large Northern terminal at Edinburgh Waverley with twenty platforms and good local train connections.
  • There are large intermediate stations on the East Coast Main Line at Doncaster, Leeds, Newcastle, Peterborough and York. All these stations have good local train connections.
  • The East Coast Main Line has important branches to Cambridge, Harrogate, Huddersfield, Hull King’s Lynn, Lincoln, Middlesbrough, Nottingham, Scarborough, Sheffield, Skegness and Sunderland.

We are talking about an asset, that needs improving rather than sidelining.


Could High Speed Two Be A One-Nation Project?

Over three years ago, I wrote Could High Speed Two Be A One-Nation Project? and tried to answer the question in the title.

But now the core network is better defined, perhaps it is time to look at extending the High Speed network again.

The next few sections look at possible extensions.

Serving Chester And North Wales

I looked at this in Could High Speed Two Trains Serve Chester And North Wales?, which I have updated recently.

This was my conclusion.

It looks to me, that when High Speed Two, think about adding extra destinations, Chester and Holyhead could be on the list.

I also suspect that even without electrification and High Speed Two services, but with the new Class 805 trains, the route could be a valuable one for Avanti West Coast.

These are current and promised times for the two legs to Holyhead.

  • Euston and Crewe – 90 minutes – Fastest Class 390 train
  • Euston and Crewe – 55 minutes – High Speed Two Classic-Compatible train from Wikipedia
  • Crewe and Holyhead – 131 minutes – Fastest Class 221 train
  • Crewe and Holyhead – 70 minutes – 90 mph average speed
  • Crewe and Holyhead – 63 minutes – 100 mph average speed
  • Crewe and Holyhead – 57 minutes – 110 mph average speed
  • Crewe and Holyhead – 53 minutes – 120 mph average speed
  • Crewe and Holyhead – 45 minutes – 140 mph average speed


  1. I have assumed that Crewe and Holyhead is 105.5 miles.
  2. The operating speed of the North Wales Coast Line is 90 mph.
  3. In the following estimates,  I have assumed a change of train at Crewe, takes 6 minutes.

I think there are several options to run fast services to Chester and North Wales.

Pre-HS2 – Class 805 all the way

I believe this train will match the following.

  • The fastest Class 390 train between Euston and Crewe.
  • The fastest Class 221 train between Crewe and Holyhead.

This would give a time of 3 hours 41 minutes.

Pre-HS2 – Class 805 all the way, but with perhaps less stops and some track improvement

I believe this train will match the following.

  • The fastest Class 390 train between Euston and Crewe.
  • 110 mph train Crewe and Holyhead.

This would give a time of 2 hours 27 minutes.

Pre-HS2 – Class 805 all the way, but with perhaps less stops and Crewe and Holyhead uprated largely to 125 mph

I believe this train will match the following.

  • The fastest Class 390 train between Euston and Crewe.
  • 120 mph train Crewe and Holyhead.

This would give a time of 2 hours 23 minutes.

Pre-HS2 – Class 805 all the way, but with perhaps less stops and Crewe and Holyhead Crewe and Holyhead electrified and uprated to 140 mph

I believe this train will match the following.

  • The fastest Class 390 train between Euston and Crewe.
  • 140 mph train Crewe and Holyhead.

This would give a time of 2 hours 15 minutes.

After-HS2 – High Speed Two Classic-Compatible train to Crewe, the Class 805 train to Holyhead

I believe this train will match the following.

  • The fastest High Speed Two Classic-Compatible train between Euston and Crewe.
  • The fastest Class 221 train between Crewe and Holyhead.

This would give a time of 3 hours 12 minutes.

After-HS2 – High Speed Two Classic-Compatible train to Crewe, the Class 805 train to Holyhead, but with perhaps less stops and some track improvement

I believe this train will match the following.

  • The fastest High Speed Two Classic-Compatible train between Euston and Crewe.
  • 110 mph train Crewe and Holyhead.

This would give a time of 1 hours 58 minutes.

After-HS2 – High Speed Two Classic-Compatible train to Crewe, the Class 805 train to Holyhead, but with perhaps less stops and Crewe and Holyhead uprated largely to 125 mph

I believe this train will match the following.

  • The fastest High Speed Two Classic-Compatible train between Euston and Crewe.
  • 120 mph train Crewe and Holyhead.

This would give a time of 1 hours 54 minutes.

After-HS2 – High Speed Two Classic-Compatible train to Crewe, Class 805 train to Holyhead, but with perhaps less stops and Crewe and Holyhead electrified and uprated to 140 mph

I believe this train will match the following.

  • The fastest High Speed Two Classic-Compatible train between Euston and Crewe.
  • 140 mph train Crewe and Holyhead.

This would give a time of 1 hours 46 minutes.

After-HS2 – High Speed Two Classic-Compatible train all the way, but with perhaps less stops and Crewe and Holyhead electrified and uprated to 140 mph

I believe this train will match the following.

  • The fastest High Speed Two Classic-Compatible train between Euston and Crewe.
  • 140 mph train Crewe and Holyhead.

This would give a time of 1 hours 40 minutes.

From these estimates, I have come to these conclusions.

  • A sub-two and a half-hour service can be attained with the new Class 805 trains and some improvements to the tracks along the North Wales Coast Line.
  • A sub-two hour service can be attained with a High Speed Two Classic-Compatible train to Crewe and a Class 805 train to Hplyhead along a 140 mph electrified North Wales Coast Line.
  • If the North Wales Coast Line is electrified, the journey from London Euston, Birmingham Interchange, Crewe, Chester, Liverpool and Manchester would be zero-carbon.

We should be looking to building a zero-carbon fast passenger ferry for sailing between Holyhead and Dublin.

  • The current fastest ferries appear to take three hours and 15 minutes, which means that a six-hour low-carbon journey between London Euston and Dublin, should be possible with the new Class 805 trains, prior to the opening of High Speed Two.
  • A five-hour journey after the opening of High Speed Two to Crewe and electrification of the North Wales Coast Line should be possible.

If the advanced zero-carbon ferry could knock an hour off the journey, four hours between London and Dublin along a spectacular coastal railway with a fast sea voyage, would be a route that would attract passengers.

  • High Speed Two would need to be opened to Crewe.
  • The North Wales Coast Line would need to be upgraded to a 140 mph digitally-signalled line.
  • The North Wales Coast Line would need to be electrified.
  • Full electrification may not be needed, as discontinuous electrification will have advanced to provide zero-carbon running, in a more affordable and less disruptive manner.
  • Trains could either be High Speed Two Classic-Compatible trains all the way from London or there could be a change at Crewe to Class 805 trains.
  • The ferry would use the best zero-carbon and operational technology.

The improvement and electrification of the North Wales Coast Line could be planned to take place in a relaxed manner, so that journey times continuously got quicker.

I would start the improvement of the North Wales Coast Line, as soon as possible, as all these improvement will be used to advantage by the new Class 805 trains.

Serving West And South West England And South Wales

Suppose you want to go between Glasgow and Cardiff by train, after High Speed Two has opened.

  • You will take one of the half-hourly High Speed Two Classic-Compatible trains between Glasgow Central and London.
  • Three and a half-hours later, you will get off the train in one of the below ground platforms at Old Oak Common station.
  • A short ride in an escalator or lift and you will be in the Great Western Railway station at ground level.
  • From here, fifty minutes later, you will be in Cardiff.

The journey will have taken four hours and twenty minutes.

This may seem a long time but currently Glasgow and Cardiff by train takes over seven hours by train.

  • Glasgow and Bristol Temple Meads takes eight hours, but using High Speed Two and GWR will take 5 hours.
  • Glasgow and Cheltenham Spa takes six hours, but using High Speed Two and GWR will take 5 hours and 30 minutes.
  • Glasgow and Penzance takes twelve hours, but using High Speed Two and GWR will take 8 hours and 33 minutes.
  • Glasgow and Swansea takes nearly nine hours, but using High Speed Two and GWR will take 6 hours and 9 minutes.

The High Speed Two route only has one simple change, whereas some routes now have up to four changes.











March 10, 2023 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Network Rail have said they are upgrading the WCML from Crewe to Warrington or Preston. This may mean extra tracks as parts are still two track. This will increase line speed and capacity giving heavier wires for freight from Liverpool’s port and faster passenger trains to Liverpool and Scotland (probably just Glasgow as Edinburgh looks like being via upgraded ECML). Manchester already has a direct straight line to the Crewe junction.

    These improvements will be online before any HS2 is scheduled to be built north of Crewe. Demand from Liverpool’s port will accelerate it. In short, HS2 north of Crewe is dead, as an upgraded section of the WCML will preclude it.

    This leaves NPR to be designed properly, instead of the half baked cludge that was served up.

    Comment by John | March 10, 2023 | Reply

    • Check back in a few hurs. There’s more to come in this post.

      Comment by AnonW | March 10, 2023 | Reply

  2. As a cynic, I suspect their may be other reasons – the areas a political affiliations of certain Tory constituencies whose residents are not very keen on HS2 going through their countryside etc. And one of said constituencies will be getting a new candidate for the next election because existing one isn’t standing again. He is popular with the constituents, even those who aren’t naturally Tory. The new one might not be!

    Comment by nosnikrapzil | March 10, 2023 | Reply

    • HS2 north of Crewe is impossible to justify. Many billions on a rail line to only one provincial city like Manchester? Manchester is no Munich or Barcelona.

      The recommendation of the UNion Connectivity Review:
      “The UK Government should:” Reduce rail journey times and increase
      rail capacity between Scotland and London, the Midlands and North West England by upgrading the West Coast Main Line north of Crewe and reviewing options for alternative northerly connections between HS2 and the West Coast Main Line.”

      The line “reviewing options for alternative northerly connections between HS2 and the West Coast Main Line”, looks like an afterthought.

      Comment by John | March 10, 2023 | Reply

      • We can get to Euston very easily and quickly – I am in Stockport, and all trains going from Manchester to London are required to stop at Stockport due to something in the contract for the land which Stockport Station was built on – I don’t know what the details are, but I know it is fact. A few years ago my husband’s job required him to go to London on business several times a year. No problem, he walked to the station, got the train and walked to the office once he was in London, and didnt have to leave home ridiculously early. Other places are much more difficult to get to by train from Manchester/Stockport. Especially Yorkshire. I agree there is no real justification for HS2, although Manchester is no longer a “provincial city”. It has many facilities which aren’t available in many cities – including Proton Beam Accelerator – it was the first in UK, and both the others are at the Marsden. That machine is saving many lives and not just for Manchester residents. It has a heart transplant unit, specialist maternity units, and many other medical facilities. And universities – several of them, some world leaders in their field. And a LOT of shops, entertainment venues etc as well. Definitely not provincial. And I know that many people coming into Manchester choose to fly in.
        My previous comment stands, I think the fact that the area that the HS2 line will go through is heavily populated with Tories may be some of the reason. I agree that HS2 isn’t justifiable though.

        Comment by nosnikrapzil | March 11, 2023

  3. Check back in a few hurs. There’s more to come in this post.

    Comment by AnonW | March 10, 2023 | Reply

  4. Adonis on Twitter:

    “A big mistake to delay HS2 north of Birmingham. It will add to costs and delay benefits. Also puts Manchester at huge competitive disadvantage to Birmingham for a decade or more. Birmingham will be barely half an hour from London by HS2, while Manchester will be more than 2 hours”

    “Birmingham will also have an HS2 connection directly into Elizabeth Line at Old Oak Common, whereas Manchester won’t (at Euston) which means onward journeys to West End, City and Canary Wharf will be far slower & more congested from Manchester.”

    London to Birmingham will be 1/2 hour? Not according to HS2. More like 54 mins. After Phase 1 Manchester using HS2 track for most of the way will be 2 hours from London? That is what it is right now!

    I noticed he never mentioned the huge competitive advantage Manchester has to Liverpool at all times after HS2 phase 2b is finished. No HS2 track runs to around 18 miles from Liverpool. I do not see Adonis shouting to put that right.

    My oh my Adonis. My oh my!

    Comment by John | March 10, 2023 | Reply

    • I believe that the new Hitachi electric trains for Avanti have been designed to go between London and Liverpool in under two hours. After the platforms were lengthened at Lime Street, I would have thought it could have handled two eleven-car Class 390s per hour.

      The trains are lightweight speedsters with fast acceleration and they will fit Liverpool South Pathway.

      I believe an eleven-car 390 can do London and Liverpool without stopping in under two hours, so will they do the fast service and the 807s, do a two hour service, that perhaps does four or five stops.

      The 807 service might call at Crewe after the Manchester and/or Glasgow service has gone through, to pick up passengers for places like Milton Keynes, Nuneaton and Watford Junction.

      Comment by AnonW | March 10, 2023 | Reply

      • Why are they spending a fortune on specialist 250mph trains for HS2? The section from Birmingham to London is SLOW because of the many tunnels. Cheap off-the-shelf 140-60mph trains are available that will do the end to end timings more than well.

        HS2 now looks like an Acton to Solihull line.

        Comment by John | March 11, 2023

  5. @nosnikrapzil
    “Manchester is no longer a “provincial city”.”

    Manchester clearly is a provincial city, it is ‘no’ Barcelona, Milan or Munich for sure. It has been singled out ny HMG for special treatment by the southern power structure to divide and rule. An age old British way, which was even the way of the British empire. Set Manchester against deep water port Liverpool, and even Leeds. Stop believing Manchester’s own propaganda.

    So, billions are to be spent on running a high-speed line (which is not really high-speed anyhow from Crewe onwards) into one provincial city, while this city already has a direct and straight line to the Crewe junction.

    A political decision.

    Comment by John | March 11, 2023 | Reply

  6. It’s 68 years since I first went to Liverpool and perhaps 67 since I first went to Manchester and over those years Liverpool has grown into a World City, at least on a level with Dublin, Edinburgh and Cardiff, but Manchester is still lagging behind.

    But then Manchester didn’t have the only pop phenomenon, from the UK, who is ranked alongside Elvis, in the United States.
    We underestimate what the Beatles did for Liverpool and having been to Hamburg several times in the last few years, I think everybody, who is not a native of Hamburg, underestimates, the affection shown for the Beatles in that German city.

    I am a graduate of Liverpool University, so I have many fond memories of the city, where I met my wife, although she was brought up in London close to where I lived.

    Comment by AnonW | March 11, 2023 | Reply

    • You and I will never agree in conversation about Manchester and Liverpool. I love Liverpool, especially the accent, and when I lived down in Kent, hearing a Liverpool accent always made me feel homesick. But after nearly 36 years here in South Manchester, I can see how much Manchester has to offer.

      Comment by nosnikrapzil | March 12, 2023 | Reply

    • In the sixties Ian Nairn the BBC architectural/planning critic of the BBC said of Liverpool:

      ‘…if Liverpool can get into top gear again there is no limit to the city’s potential. The scale and resilience of the buildings and people is amazing – it is a world city, far more so than London and Manchester. It doesn’t feel like anywhere else in Lancashire: comparisons always end up overseas – Dublin, or Boston, or Hamburg.’

      “But then Manchester didn’t have the only pop phenomenon, from the UK, who is ranked alongside Elvis, in the United States.”

      That is because the city is a deep water port with cultural influences from all over. A part of the Hitler family lived in Liverpool as did Hirohito’s family at the same time.

      The city was the world’s first ‘world city’, in that it traded with all, all over the world.

      Southern centric government, had tried to make the city something like Middlesbrough. One way is favoring adjacent inland Manchester. Divide & rule. It is the only deep water port on that coast, it cannot be killed. This never occurred to them. Deep water ports are always important and resilient. The city’s hinterland serves most of the UK’s population. They could not cut off the comprehensive motorways around the city as that was too obvious, but they could cut the rail links by stealth to strangle the city.

      Then HS2 was announced in 2013, totally bypassing a city region of around two million, with adjacent Manchester having a gold plated 10 mile long HS2 tunnel run to a station facing the wrong way. No kidding.

      One third of Merseyrail was cancelled over 40 years ago when Thatcher came to power. Miles of trackbed and tunnels are still awaiting trains. The original tunnel from James St to Central was not used being reduced to one track as a concrete wall was built in the tunnel. So metro trains from south Liverpool cannot run directly into the Wirral. Even direct trains to Scotland were cut. There are no direct trains to adjacent North Wales. Lime St station was near dead.

      At Edge Hill buildings were allowed to be built on railway land that now stops trains from Liverpool’s Docks running directly to the WCML spur.

      There is only one rail line into the extensive docks, when there was about nine at one time. The alignments have been obliterated in most cases. In ‘Beyond HS2’ by GreenGuage 21, they suggest a second separate line into the port come in from Preston via Ormskirk. This means expensively uncovering the cuttings and tunnels into the old Bankfield Goods station site. At Preston freight trains can run onto Scotland and a cord reinstated to run onto the Calder Valley line to Leeds and the ECML. I doubt it will be done.

      In the meantime adjacent Manchester gets a full tram system and £100 million spent on the Ordsall Chord, which attracts a few trains per day. No kidding.

      Favouring one city wrong. Loom at how the Germans do it with the Confederation of the Rhine.

      Comment by John | March 12, 2023 | Reply

  7. These are some thoughts from four years ago that may be relevant.

    HS2 Way Out In Front In Tunnel Design For High-Speed Rail

    Comment by AnonW | March 11, 2023 | Reply

  8. IMHO the basic issue is the London-dominated thinking of the DfT and central government in general, who struggle to imagine anything that doesn’t involve London. Journey times in and out of London are given as the be-all and end-all, whereas most rail journeys outside the SE don’t go anywhere near London. I forget the exact number, but a recent survey in Leeds found that >90% of rail journeys didn’t involve London. I am a frequent rail user, using many trains in the average month, but it’s 4 years since I was in London. HS2 is irrelevant to most rail journeys.

    HS2 has become an object lesson in how not to design a railway, high-speed or otherwise. They should have looked at what other countries do. France, Spain and China now have an excellent nationwide high-speed network, but made a conscious decision to spend an enormous amount of money on it. Other countries like Germany or Italy have adopted a more piecemeal approach, building shorter stretches of high-speed lines and upgrading existing lines where there’s most demand, then gradually expanding that as funds permit. Germany’s federal structure makes this the logical thing to do, instead of everything revolving round journey times to/from Berlin.

    I am hopeful that the next government will decentralise itself, giving local/regional governments the funding to enable them to spend on railways for their local region. Of course, intercooperation will still be needed to join regions together, but I would hope GB will stop obsessing over journey times to London.

    Comment by Peter Robins | March 13, 2023 | Reply

    • Spain spent far too much on intercity HSR, neglecting local & regional rail, which is ramshackle. Germany just built high-speed spines running into cities on existing rail. This is the most sensible approach. HS2 is running an unnecessary 10 mile long gold plated tunnel into Manchester when Manchester already has a ‘straight’ upgradable line to the Crewe junction. Madness!

      “I am hopeful that the next government will decentralise itself,”
      Look at Merseyrail now it has more control. The Liverpool CIty Region owns the new state of the art, built to their specifications, class 777 battery trains. Left to someone in Whitehall they would have been gifted second hand junk discarded from southern railways, as were the Class 508s they had.

      Once the Continental link was dropped for provincial cities and the Heathrow link, HS2’s raison d’etre dissolved. It then should have been scrapped and redesigned looking at High Speed UK rail’s design which had NPR integrated. It uses upgraded and new track. The spine is in the east, so easy to get to the Chunnel. NPR was an afterthought, after HS2 was announced.

      HS2 needs cancelling right now. A bottomless pit of money. Interconnecting British cities fast? Liverpool to Birmingham does not run on HS2. Chester which has intercity London services was bumped off.

      The most constructed HS2 section, London to Aylesbury can stay having it run onto an upgraded Chiltern Line – it is still dirty diesel. It will equal HS2 times to Birmingham as it is a more direct route, taking West Mids trains off the WCML. From Aylesbury it could branch to the Gt.Central trackbed to north of Rugby with a flying junction to the WCML. Also have an extra two tracks for local trains. Then the WCML has an extra two tracks into London. And of course remove ECML and WCML bottlenecks and build a bypass tunnel under Crewe.

      NPR then needs redesigning to something sensible. Manchester can be accessed by part filling the redundant ship canal above Runcorn (only one small coaster a week runs up to Irlam), leaving a narrower canal. Then use east-west Victoria rather than Piccadilly which faces the wrong way.

      All that is too easy.

      Comment by John | March 13, 2023 | Reply

      • Both Spain and France have had to cut back on HSR, with many of the original plans delayed. France has admitted it has neglected local rail, but recently committed to spending €100bn over the years to 2040, which should go a long way towards redressing that. But I can’t agree that Spain’s local/regional rail is ‘ramshackle’. Spain’s public transport was a joke when I first used it in the dying days of the Franco regime, but since then it’s been transformed, and puts much of Britain’s to shame. Spain also faces much more mountainous terrain (i.e. lots of expensive tunnels and lengthy viaducts), and the different gauge adds to the problem. On the plus side, Spain’s (and to a lesser extent France’s) population distribution lends itself well to HSR, with large population centres dotted around the country, with large areas of sparse population in between. Very different from large parts of England, where large(ish) cities are quite close together, negating much of the advantage from high speeds.

        I see Switzerland too is now proposing upgrading some particularly high usage lines with some high(ish)-speed track.

        As for HS2, IMO it doesn’t make sense to cancel it now, though the more they delay (or cancel) the various branches, the less use it is. I agreed with George Osborne when he said HSR should have started in the north, but as Grant Shapps said last year: “We are where we are.” A HS line up the E coast, as HSUK suggests, would be easier to build, but an obvious issue with this is that it downgrades Birmingham in favour of Leeds/Sheffield (whereas HS2 in its current form does the opposite). I would also include Cardiff-Bristol-Southampton as a route that needs upgrading. However, I would applaud HSUK for at least trying to create a proper route network, which HS2 definitely isn’t.

        Comment by Peter Robins | March 13, 2023

    • From the statement in the budget yesterday confirming the start of devolution to English metro mayors, it looks like both Tories and Labour are in agreement on this. We’ll have to wait for the next spending review for more details, but reports that this will involve not just funding for metros and extra stations, but also a ‘new partnership’ with Great British Railways (whatever that means). The age of the DfT micro-managing everything would seem to be coming to an end.

      The idea seems to be to roll this out to other metro mayors reasonably quickly. As the areas covered by these are contiguous from Liverpool to Leeds and Sheffield, and the mayors are all likely to agree on prioritising rail, TfN’s plans for major upgrades to railways in this area should now go ahead. A new tunnel under the Pennines will presumably have to still come from central funds, but we should at last see more action on things like track electrification and/or battery trains.

      Comment by Peter Robins | March 16, 2023 | Reply

      • Andy Burnham was in favour on the box this morning.

        Comment by AnonW | March 16, 2023

      • One thing that’s still missing is further devolution to Wales. As in Scotland, the Welsh government should be deciding on priorities in Wales: for example, electrification/upgrade to Swansea vs N Wales coast.

        Comment by Peter Robins | March 16, 2023

  9. HS2 needs putting out of its misery. The cost from now on is obscene, just to get a THIRD line to Birmingham. It is just a clear bad design. The two east and west of Y would converge on the Birmingham to London section, yet this was still 2-track. No kidding. Cut the losses then use the bits advanced in construction for the exiting network. Or use the Chiltern tunnels as URGENT water storage. Water is more important than a third line to Brum.

    The High Speed UK design would have had an upgraded line from Birmingham to the ECML spine for the Continent and eastern cities.

    The ECML London to Edinburgh record was set in 1991! 32 years ago. A train was given the line and could reach 140mph. That was with the bottlenecks and no state of the art signalling. If the ECML was fully upgraded to 140mph then the record will be beaten again. The max is now 125mph. HS2 to Edinburgh is slower than the 1991 record. We just do not need a new high speed track. Just upgrades. The Freight Association wanted the Gt.Central reused mainly for freight. Upgrade the Chiltern for West Mids. Capacity is there if you look.

    BTW, Spain has stopped high speed rail spending and admitted their focus was wrong.

    Comment by John | March 13, 2023 | Reply

    • Spain’s still issuing contracts for the planned sections – there’s an uptodate map at Once all that’s complete, most of the larger cities should be connected. There are also other bits and pieces, for example, a scheme was recently announced to allow AVE trains to get to Madrid airport (cost: €24.5m, though that includes some EU funding).

      Comment by Peter Robins | March 13, 2023 | Reply

      • I am upgrading the original post, so keep checking back. But I agree with you about High Speed East Coast.

        Comment by AnonW | March 13, 2023

      • I have just analysed the times of going from Glasgow to South Wales and South West England. Very surprising answers.

        Comment by AnonW | March 13, 2023

      • reports on another HSR connection Spain is developing, and states that the Galicia-Portugal link is a priority for both governments. It should be said that the existing Galician line is not particularly high speed at 200kph, but I see no sign that “Spain has stopped high speed rail spending”.

        Comment by Peter Robins | March 14, 2023

  10. A good piece in today’s Guardian about killing HS2 ASAP, instead of by 1,000 cuts.

    I have never known a public works programme that has so much hostility towards it than HS2, even from its inception. If the design was good and people could see benefits, instead of just more fast lines to London, then they would have gone with it. As I have noted, the Liverpool-Birmingham and Chester-London services are bumped off HS2, so much for interconnecting the prime cities.

    The Tory hatred of the two million Liverpool City Region was overt and clear in eliminating the city from any direct HS2 connection. I live in London, the hostility towards Liverpool is clear by the media encouraged sneers. The city appears to distance itself from this toxic project. If HMG (DfT) had built a station at Liverpool’s airport (lines are adjacent), so they could use air instead of high speed rail, it would have been OK, but nothing, not even a cheap airport station serving the city region and beyond.

    The cost of the HS2 tunnels under London and right up to Birmingham is obscene – which also slows the train down to a point it is not worth building as a ‘high speed’ line. Looking at High Speed UKs design, this money would have been spent on a fast Pennines ‘base’ tunnel, which the north of England has ‘needed’ for 150 years.

    Also, the most used part of the ‘Y’ is the leg from Birmingham to London which is still 2-track. So the four tracks of the two east and west legs converge onto, wait for it for it, 2 tracks. 4 into 2 does go, something has to give. Who thinks of this tripe?

    The ‘Y’ design is pure incompetence. It enters the massive footprint of London from the west needing of course expensive new tunnels. When entering from the north east there is no need, or little need, for tunneling. Having the spine east of the Peninnes means trains come down, then peel off to the Chunnel or to London. People in or near provincial cities would see a benefit with direct Continental access. This may have also prompted a second Chunnel, if demand is high.

    It is best to cut HS2 now. Use the London-Aylesbury section to run onto an upgraded Chiltern, then build a Pennines ‘base’ tunnel getting NPR done properly, branching onto the ECML, and the ECML running onto HS1. But do not use the toxic letters ‘HS’.

    HS2 first was, speed, then;
    Capacity, then;
    Eco, then;
    Levelling up, then;
    It cannot be stopped now.

    Enough is enough.

    Comment by John | March 14, 2023 | Reply

    • yes, that’s a typically forthright article from SJ. I managed to miss the Times article on the budget devolution announcement, and keenly await the details tomorrow!

      Comment by Peter Robins | March 14, 2023 | Reply

  11. AnonW, where are you getting the idea that “The Trent Valley Line [has] a routine operating speed of 140 mph”? It’s nothing like that. Of the 4 tracks Lichfield-Crewe, 2 are max 110mph, except for the stretch between Colwich Jcn and Stafford, which is 90mph max. The other 2 are slower.

    This could probably be increased with digital signalling, but the point of extending HS2 to Crewe is surely that this isn’t needed. WCML can be used by stopping trains and freight. The current LNR stopping trains are perfectly capable of batting along at 110mph. The Ctr/Holyhead connection can’t be run by classic-compatible until/unless it’s electrified. You could continue to run bi-modes on WCML to Crewe, but if HS2 is priced competitively I would have thought most people will simply change at Crewe.

    Comment by Peter Robins | March 14, 2023 | Reply

    • “if HS2 is priced competitively”
      Wishful thinking. Few people will ever use it, being priced out.

      The Crewe to Chester section can be run via HS2 hybrid battery trains, if they are built of course. Merseyrail’s Class 777s reached 84 miles of range. Although only a metro train, it shows the advances in batteries.

      If HS2 gets to Crewe, would HS2 Ltd build diesel/electric hybrids just for the line from Crewe to Holyhead via Chester? They could use off the shelf hybrid trains with little adaptation to reach 160mph on HS2 track. Speed is not an issue as HS2 trains will not be reaching high speeds. I doubt that will happen though.

      Comment by John | March 14, 2023 | Reply

      • There is a precedent for HS2 pricing.

        The Lizzie Line can be thought of as being to the Central Line, what HS2 will be to the West Coast Main Line.

        TfL have made the ticketing costs the same no matter what route you take.

        You also have the places like Huddersfield, where if you buy a ticket to London you can go via Leeds, Manchester or Sheffield.

        The only place, where there is premium pricing for a faster train, is the HighSpeed services to Kent.

        Most of the other services that compete with High Speed Rail like Chiltern, Grand Central, London Midland,Lumo etc. offer a discounted service, tailored to the route.

        In another reply to comments, I said that I believe the 105.5 miles of the North Wales Coast Line could be handled by a battery-electric train and partial electrification.

        As you say, batteries are getting better and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a High Speed Two Classic-Compatible train with one car replaced with a battery and/or diesel car and a range of over a hundred miles on batteries.

        Comment by AnonW | March 14, 2023

    • “The Trent Valley Line [has] a routine operating speed of 140 mph”?

      You state ‘operational’. What is it ‘capable’ of, say with state of the art signalling and suitable trains?

      Comment by John | March 14, 2023 | Reply

      • It was a typo.

        Comment by AnonW | March 14, 2023

  12. That was a typo. I’ve timed it going at over 100 mph very easily on my phone with an app.

    I also suspect, if you designed it right at Crewe, the Holyhead train could share an island platform with stopping HS2 trains.

    One problem with electrifying the NWCL, is can the CAF diesel trains be converted to electric?

    I also wonder, if the Heritage Taliban would allow through Conwy and over the Menai Straight, to be electrified.

    I suspect the 805s could handle it with partial electrification and batteries.

    Will the Classic-Compatibles have batteries for regenerative braking, hotel power during catenary failures, depot movements and gap jumping? If they do, electrification between Crewe and Chester, through Llandudno Junction and across Anglesey might allow electric running to Holyhead.

    Despite Wales being hilly, that can’t be said for the North Wales Coast Line.

    Comment by AnonW | March 14, 2023 | Reply

    • The classic-compatible trains do indeed have batteries for hotel power, but they’re comparatively small and not really intended for main-line operation.

      As for the CAF trains (which are now starting to be used on Ctr-Llandudno, and I also saw one on the Halton Curve route last week), I never understood why they were bought. TfW is saying they could last for 40 years, way past the date when diesel-only trains are supposed to be removed.

      Comment by Peter Robins | March 14, 2023 | Reply

  13. They could turn out to be a non-convertible boob-buy, unlike the Class 99 locomotives bought by GB RailFreight, which appear to be convertible to hydrogen, by converting the engine.

    Comment by AnonW | March 14, 2023 | Reply

    • “I also wonder, if the Heritage Taliban would allow through Conwy and over the Menai Straight, to be electrified.”

      Hydrogen trains may be the answer. But Musk says all ‘transport’, inc large ships, will be electric, except rockets. Although he does go on about hydrogen for heavy industry. Japan is gearing up for that in their nuclear hydrogen cooled reactors to make hydrogen.

      Tesla’s recent presentation. Interesting indeed.

      Comment by John | March 14, 2023 | Reply

      • There’s certainly going to be a lot of hydrogen at Holyhead and on Merseyside in the future, so supply wouldn’t be a problem. I do think though, that with an eight-car train and a battery in each car, would give the train sufficient range with electrification on Anglesey, through Llandudno and between Crewe and Chester.

        Comment by AnonW | March 14, 2023

    • TfW need the 197s asap so they can run their full service. Their 175s were all lined in Ctr last week for a good clean because of the ‘thermal events’. I see there are bus replacements on the Conwy Valley line until the end of the week and various other cancellations are happening around their network.

      Comment by Peter Robins | March 14, 2023 | Reply

      • The 197s were having driver training on the Wrexham-Bidston, Birkenhead line. Vivarail went into administration, so the new Class 230s were side lined. Then training went back to the 230s. Vivarail must have been secured.

        Why do people think Merseyrail 777s would reach Wrexham on battery when TfW have the new 230s? The line in Wales is used by freight, so they cannot have more than two trains per hour inside Wales. Rotheram, the Liverpool City Region wants all stations inside the LCR on Merseyrail with 4 trains per hour services. So this make it difficult to reach Wrexham. He is aiming at having Heswall on Merseyrail. This could be the interchange instead of Bidston. Then west Birkenhead and west Wirral have direct access to central Birkenhead and Liverpool. This will improve those parts for sure. Then Upton station will not be the city region’s least used station.

        Tranmere Rovers FC are proposing a new stadium at the filled in Bidston Dock, between Birkenhead and Wallasey. Perfect location. Birkenhead Park station is a few minutes walk away. This reaches all the Wirral and is quicker from this station to get to Liverpool’s centre and Lime St station than Everton FC or Liverpool FC. Tranmere in the Premier League? 😊

        Comment by John | March 14, 2023

      • 197s. Geoff Marshall:

        Comment by John | March 14, 2023

      • as regards Merseyrail and the Wrexham line, I think the best solution would be to build a chord at Shotton, so that you could run a circular via Chester. However, that would cost a lot more. If they really are going to turnround at Heswall, they’ll need some sort of crossover points, as I don’t think there’s anything anywhere near that atm.

        Comment by Peter Robins | March 14, 2023

      • an alternative would be the proposed Deeside Parkway station, which might be good for anyone living in Wirral and working there. You could probably use the old sidings for train turnaround/parking.

        Comment by Peter Robins | March 14, 2023

      • This is in response to your Deeside Parkway suggestion. I suspect that if it was done, Network Rail would make a good job of the track layout. I can’t think of a new station recently, where they made a mistake in layouts for operators or passengers and some like Soham are distinctly unconventional.

        Comment by AnonW | March 15, 2023

      • I’m not sure what the status is on Deeside. It was awarded funding under the New Stations Fund in 2021, but I’ve not seen any progress statement since. It’s supposed to be a priority under the N Wales Metro scheme, but this business cases seem to take forever to produce.

        Comment by Peter Robins | March 15, 2023

  14. I suspect that if trains ran between Wrexham and the Liverpool Loop, this would be better for passengers and the operator.

    Palios tends to know what he’s doing and I suspect that if he moves the ground, it will be good for Tranmere and the Wirral.

    Comment by AnonW | March 14, 2023 | Reply

  15. The fellow presenting that kept reminding me of Daniel Craig (who was born in Chester). I haven’t ridden in a 197 yet, but no doubt will before too long. We should be getting lots of new trains this year, with the 777s and the new Avanti bi-modes as well. And if TfW are actually going to use the 230s … Will those be maintained in Ctr as well? (Wandering well off topic from HS2.)

    Comment by Peter Robins | March 14, 2023 | Reply

    • The 230 have been parked up in Stadlers Birkenhead’s depot.

      Comment by John Burns | March 15, 2023 | Reply

  16. First Group must have a plan for the 230s, but they haven’t said much except they’re going to get Ealing working.

    Comment by AnonW | March 14, 2023 | Reply

    • I think First are mainly interested in the recharging mechanism. TfW bought their 230s outright, so will have to organise their own maintenance scheme.

      Comment by Peter Robins | March 15, 2023 | Reply

      • I wouldn’t be surprised if there are good connections between TfW and GWR, as I suspect on the maintenance side they overlap, with both owning fleets of old British Rail era DMUs. A lot of both companies routes used to be in the original First franchise, so I also suspect a lot of managers used to work and more importantly socialise together.

        So, if someone told me, that First Group were keeping TfW fully-informed, I wouldn’t be the least surprised.

        Battery-electric two-car trains would also be ideal for trundling around Pembrokeshire.

        Comment by AnonW | March 15, 2023

  17. I disagree that Merseyrail 777s go to Wrexham. The Liverpool City Region is not in the business of financing and providing state of the art metro trains for Wales. The TfW 230 is a very good new train not being commissioned yet. Most of the Borderlands Line is inside Wales an are most stations. Only two trains per hour in Wales.  A fast interchange at Neston (in Cheshire West) or Heswall (in the LCR), is all that is needed.  Rotheram’s remit is the LCR, not Wales.  Heswall is priority as it under his watch.  Neston can be the only sensible southern most interchange as south of it is 2 trains per hour. Above can be four as wanted as it is then a walk up service. Heswall is easier to make an interchange.

    Rotheram the metro-mayor has to focus on getting Merseyrail to parts of Liverpool’s city devoid of metro access, not mess around on the fringes. Completing the Outer Loop and Wapping Tunnel, and reusing the countless abandoned stations, is priority. Also a station at the airport and even one for Everton FC’s new stadium. Sandhills platforms can be extended south onto the 4-track wide viaduct south (the station is on the viaduct) with new platforms on gantries at the side of the viaduct for matchdays giving four platforms. Then fans can access the station via a second entrance at Grundy St, more towards the stadium. Trains can be lined up at adjacent Kirkdale sidings and on the viaduct itself on extra sidings track to shift fans away quickly. If they can shift 10-15,000 per hour of a 55,000 stadium it will make an impact. That is roughly 19 eight car trains @ 15,000. Wembley Park shifts 36,000 per hour.

    The Tranmere owner Palios is no fool. He saved Wembley stadium, which looked like it would be abandoned, getting it built for the FA. He was the only pro footballer allowed to be part timer, still working at accountancy. His wife generally runs the TRFC. Wirral Council’s population is greater than Newcastle, with the Wirral inc Ellesmere Port & Neston greater than Bristol. A third big club can be sustained in the region for sure. If Tranmere relocate to Bidston Dock the transport links are superb and better once Merseyrail get to Heswall or Neston.  Away fans could arrive at Lime St, then take a fast direct metro to the door of TRFC’s new stadium to get them in and out fast. You cannot do that with Everton or Liverpool FC.  Also, trains can be in the sidings of the TMD adjacent waiting to shift fans away.  Birkenhead Park has three platforms.

    Wirral Council is wanting to move the centre to Wirral Waters between Wallasey and Birkenhead. Currently there is not one, with most taking the fast metro into Liverpool’s centre.

    Comment by John Burns | March 15, 2023 | Reply

    • John, I think there has to be a certain amount of co-operation between neighbouring authorities. I’d agree that Rotheram will and should concentrate on his patch. But if you say that Merseyrail shouldn’t go into neighbouring areas, does that mean it shouldn’t go to Chester/Ellesmere Port/Ormskirk or for that matter Skelmersdale, Wigan or Preston? Agreed, TfW is a bit of a special case, because it’s owned by the Welsh government, but I would hope that the different operators can “co-operate” to provide a good service for as many people as possible.

      Comment by Peter Robins | March 15, 2023 | Reply

      • Of course Meseyrail should run into adjacent regions. But! Wales has West Cheshire between the LCR. Not entirely next door. The point is ‘priority’. Rotheram has to focus on his own patch, which is his remit, of which parts are in dire need of metro access, especially huge parts of Liverpool. Wrexham for direct access using the world’s best LCR metro trains is way down the list, or should be.

        I don’t think people trundling and bumping taking an eternity to work on buses on potholed roads, would be enthused knowing their LCR money is being used enhance another region’s metro.

        In the case of the Borderlands, 11 stations are inside Wales, as is most of the track, while four are in England and three in the LCR. They will be providing a metro for another region. They have the 230s, an interchange all fits.

        They could have an express 777 on the Borderlands stopping at: Deeside, Birkenhead Hamilton Square and Liverpool. I doubt there would be many takers. Few people in Liverpool have been to Wrexham. It is over 30 miles away – 27 miles on the Bidston-Wrexham alone.

        It just needs a good meshed-in interchange. 4 trains per hour on one side, 2 the other. It will be fast enough end to end for the few who do it.

        Comment by John | March 15, 2023

  18. The proposed Deeside station would be a superb interchange between TfW and Merseyrail’s 777s. Only having to reach a Deeside station on the English/Welsh border, would mean smaller, and much cheaper, battery sets. The batteries weigh many tons not being cheap at all. But, Rotheram can get an interchange quickly at Heswall until Deeside is built, if ever, as it is on his watch, getting Heswall and Upton on direct Birkenhead and Liverpool centre access. That is two more stations on Merseyrail in the LCR. Heswall is not on a embankment as is Neston is also easier to build points. Rotheram wants all the LCR on Merseyrail. That is Runcorn, Widnes, west Wirral, etc. Plans to extend from Liverpool’s centre to Warrington via Runcorn East using battery 777s.

    The best direct route from Wrexham to Liverpool’s airport and Liverpool’s centre would be a fast service via Chester. Hybrid trains would be useful as a lot of the track has wires. Battery hybrid? A direct trundle on the Borderlands will be too long and uncomfortable. Borderlands also does not cover Liverpool’s airport. North Wales wants direct airport access.

    Comment by John | March 15, 2023 | Reply

  19. These 197s Geoff Marshall reviewed. They would be better taken eventually to South Wales using hybrids as much on the Chester-Liverpool run is wires. Should Liverpool City Region insist they be hybrid to reduce pollution in the region as most of the track inside the LCR is wires? They should make that case. Also Chester and Liverpool are not in Wales with TfW doing the service.

    This route was supposed to be hydrogen trains but Covid got in the way.

    Comment by John | March 15, 2023 | Reply

    • See for where the 197s will run – pretty well everywhere! This mentions Cardiff-Liverpool (which would go via Wrex G), though AFAIK the plan is still to extend some of the Liv-Ctr trains to Llandudno (not mentioned on the list). This should start as soon as the 197s are available. I was hoping this would be May timetable, but that might be delayed given the problems they’re having with the 175s. The current Halton Curve service is just an interim measure until the 197s are available – and as the video shows they are already using them on that service.

      I was just saying privately to AnonW that there should be a Wrex-Man direct service too.

      Comment by Peter Robins | March 15, 2023 | Reply

      • “The current Halton Curve service is just an interim measure until the 197s are available”

        Peter, where else can they run? The Halton Curve is the only way from Liverpool to Chester/N Wales

        Comment by John | March 15, 2023

      • What I meant was ‘the service which is currently running over the Halton Curve (Ctr-Liv) is just an interim until the 197s are available’. Once the 197s are available, this service will be extended (alternate hours) to Llandudno/Shrewsbury and eventually Cardiff.

        Comment by Peter Robins | March 15, 2023

      • “I was just saying privately to AnonW that there should be a Wrex-Man direct service too.”

        Wrexham is the capital of North Wales. It needs direct access to the two adjacent cities and their airports. The Welsh Assembly have been pushing for this for decades.

        Comment by John | March 15, 2023

  20. I suppose I started this by suggesting that if the North Wales Coast Line was upgraded to be a digitally-signalled 125-plus mph at least partially-electrified line that could create a zero-carbon route from London, Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester to Holyhead for a zero-carbon ferry to Dublin and possibly Belfast.

    I think we’re at least agreed on these points.

    1. The Class 197 trains, because they are diesel, were not the most suitable of purchases.
    2. There needs to be an easy route to both Manchester and Liverpool Airports.
    3. The Borderlands Line needs a much better service.
    4. Wrexham needs a much better service.

    Comment by AnonW | March 15, 2023 | Reply

    • Yes I agree in broad outline.

      Borderlands can only have two trains per hour in Wales and they just about got two from one, sorted last Xmas. The new 230s will do a fine job, but there has to be an interchange as Rotheram wants 4 per hour in the LCR, a walk up service. Having direct Liverpool Loop to Wrexham means 777s on the route, and that means ditching the new 230s. Is that going to happen?

      Wexham needs an semi-express stopping at Chester, Helsby, Runcorn, Sth Parkway and Lime St. But the train needs to be hybrid for speed. Being hybrid will prompt electrification, or battery adoption, for the rest of the line.

      Holyhead and N Wales are poorly services for sure.

      Comment by John | March 15, 2023 | Reply

  21. I’ve been looking at various industry responses to these HS2 delays. I’d very much agree with Jonathan Spruce of the Institution of Civil Engineers, who’s quoted as saying that projects like HS2 ‘are an investment in our future, not a cost. The UK needs to think strategically about what we want our transport system to deliver. In the longer term, a national transport strategy, with a clear investment plan, would help ensure that the country gets the transport infrastructure it needs.’

    Comment by Peter Robins | March 16, 2023 | Reply

    • I would agree with Mr. Spruce! I shall be adding to the main post today.

      Comment by AnonW | March 16, 2023 | Reply

    • And Chris Richards, Director of Policy at the ICE, is quoted: ’major financing decisions have been postponed until after the next general election and are therefore subject to change. The UK debate on infrastructure needs a reality check. There is global competition for talent, resources, and know-how. Delaying major programmes like HS2 won’t result in cost reduction. In fact, the UK’s ability to deliver projects effectively may become more difficult as construction firms shift their focus to other countries.’

      Amen to that.

      Comment by Peter Robins | March 16, 2023 | Reply

      • The only glimmer of hope, that might change politicians minds, is that I feel that Avanti and Network Rail now have the track and trains to run a Class 390 train non-stop between Euston and Liverpool Lime Street, with a time of under two hours. The second service in the hour could be a fast stopping train, using its acceleration to go between the two cities in a reasonable time. No station would get a worse service to Euston and Lime Street than they do now! I wrote about it in.

        Is Liverpool Going To Get High Speed One-Point-Five?

        Comment by AnonW | March 16, 2023

    • ” projects like HS2 ‘are an investment in our future,”

      If the design is right of course, HS is not needing binning ASAP. Looking to the future I recall this from a few years ago by Imperial College and Boeing, which makes sense. 2,000 passenger seaplanes.

      Like Post-panamax container ships these giant seaplanes can only be ocean-side to ocean-side, or say large loads to Med holiday spots. Any problems trans-Atlantic then just land on water, floating. In the UK most of the population is between two estuaries, the Mersey and the Thames. These can have a plethora of cheap runways. Planes then do not fly over populated and industrial areas. Safer and more eco for sure.

      If most airports were abandoned for the two large estuary airports, linking them via high speed rail to all major towns and cities makes sense. For e.g., someone in Birmingham can get to either one, right into the terminals, in half an hour.

      Long term thing has to multi-modal. What we have is legacy, especially in aviation, we have to totally re-think.

      Comment by John | March 16, 2023 | Reply

  22. Back to HS2. The hour long session of MPs’ urgent questions to the Rail Minister on 14th March. It was clear Huw Merriman refused to commit to any delivery dates, except 2033 for Old Oak Common and Curzon Street.

    What the Minister said was that Birmingham to Manchester will be all in one go, rather than in sequential 2a and 2b phases, and at the same time as Old Oak Common to Euston. This looks like over eight years of operating just Old Oak Common to Curzon Street.

    Merriman did not commit to HS2 serving anywhere else other than Birmingham and Manchester. He did say that the results of the study on the Golborne Link/alternatives would be available soon. This is the study by Network Rail mentioned in the Union Connectivity Review. What stood out was that he emphasised that the Crewe to Manchester HS2 line is needed for NPR, to which HMG remains firmly committed.

    A section of HS2 from the junction at High Legh to Manchester is used by NPR from Liverpool & Warrington. This section means that NPR with runs in a clunky circuitous route from Liverpool and Warrington. NPR will be from Liverpool to Warrington via the old Fiddlers Ferry freight line (no mention of making this section high speed), then on HS2 track around Tatton and entering Manchester from the south west via a slow 10 mile tunnel. There was no mention of a redesign of this section to straighten NPR in a more east-west alignment and maybe drop phase HS2 phase 2b west accessing Manchester on and upgraded WCML spur from Crewe – the more ideal an sensible approach.

    Regarding HS2 East, a number of Tory MPs insisted the Minister lifts safeguarding the route, which is blighting the properties of some of many of their constituents, as they are in limbo because of poor decision making. Merriman refused to commit. He did say that the DfT had now defined the options for a study on getting HS2 trains to Leeds and that this would be progressed shortly – this is the study mentioned in the Integrated Rail Plan of 18 months ago. They do not move fast for sure. He stressed it was a matter of whether it would be possible for HS2 trains to ‘reach’ to Leeds, not ‘how’. I am not sure if he means direct HS2 track to Leeds or just using compatible trains running on HS2 and classic track – e.g., HS2 to East Mids Parkway then MML to Leeds.

    Parts of HS2 is still as clear as mud.

    Comment by John | March 16, 2023 | Reply

    • I’ve always favoured a large sized tunnel between Manchester Airport and East of Leeds, which would handle freight as well. It might be possible to create a freight corridor between Hamburg and Ireland via Immingham, Liverpool and the Trans Pennine Tunnel.

      It’s surprisingly close in size to the Gotthard Base Tunnel and it would finish the discussions for ever.

      I’d also use innovative electrification on the Calder Valley Line, so those who wanted a slower, quieter, very green and more pleasant route would have a choice.

      Comment by AnonW | March 16, 2023 | Reply

      • The long term future of Manchester airport is in question on eco grounds. The airport is poorly located It is accessed from the north from Manchester, but there is the Warrington to Altricham trackbed still available for use which would give airport access from the Liverpool City Region/Warrington, etc. This is the way to go, not run a HS track to the airport on a dogleg, which will serve a poorly used HS2 station (if it gets built).

        A Pennines base tunnel needs to from east Manchester to around Barnsley, in an east-west alignment. Of course NPR redesigned to suit.

        Keep in mind that NPR was an afterthought of HS2. They never redesigned HS2, just knobing on NPR. Appalling planning. They have had all this time to put it right.

        Comment by John | March 16, 2023

    • Thanks for posting this John. A transcript of the debate is available at There’s a lot of repetition, so much of it can be skipped through!

      I can’t though see any mention of Brum-Man being done in one go. In fact, HM emphasises that the only change is that Crewe is delayed by 2 years (though I’m not clear exactly what the plan is with Euston).

      I would also point out that there’ll be a new government before too long, so this may very well change again in a couple of years time!

      Comment by Peter Robins | March 16, 2023 | Reply

      • British Rail’s plan was for a tunnel under Manchester, but Harold Wilson cancelled it, as he believed everybody should have their own car.

        I still think BR was right, as certainly their tunnels under Liverpool and Newcastle have worked extremely well.

        There was a plan in the 1960s to develop Liverpool Airport rather than Manchester, as it was alongside the Mersey.

        I also wonder if a Maglev train between the two would create a unique and very efficient airport.

        Liverpool would handle the long haul and Manchester the short. There would also be a short runway at the Liverpool end for zero-carbon flights to and from the emerald isle.

        After all the two airports are only 38 miles apart, so would take five minutes at 200 mph. The Maglev could also be extended to Liverpool Pierhead, with a cable car across the Mersey and a rebuilt James Street station.

        Comment by AnonW | March 16, 2023

      • Peter, that was from my own observations – parts may not be 100%. Higgins always emphasized that 2a will be built simultaneously with phase 1. That is obviously not the case. He always emphasized sensibly that the Crewe hub be built. If HS2 gets to Crewe, with 2b binned as it is impossible to justify this leg financially, even if it branches onto the WCML further up, a WCML bypass tunnel under Crewe is essential – HS2 to WCML via the short tunnel.

        One thing is clear, is that all the HS2 services and timing after the IRP are up the wall. Leeds and Sheff are off HS2 as it is quicker via the ECML/MML after upgrades. That may mean Liverpool-Birmingham and Chester-London are back on HS2 – if Chester get suitable hybrid trains to run the Crewe-Chester section.

        Does HS2 track really need only dedicated trains? It has been proven that trains can do higher speeds than what they state. The InterCity 225 (140mph) did over 160mph sustained on suitable straight track. HS2 Brum to London is slow due to the multitude of tunnels. A 140mph train may sustain 160mph .

        That brings me to the expensive HS2 trains, which can be replaced by cheaper off the shelf models available. And may a hybrid to reach Chester and the North Wales coast (hopefully a hydrogen hybrid).

        Any long track electrification jobs appears to be a thing of the past.

        Comment by John | March 16, 2023

      • well, on Leeds and developments N of Crewe, I’ll wait and see what they propose. Manchester airport HS2 station is still dependent on private finance, though I can’t see that materialising until they stop chopping and changing.

        A new station at Crewe is long overdue. Besides the tunnel for HS2 through trains, I’d hope they also keep the proposed new platform for Shrewsbury trains to use the so-called Independent lines/tunnel to avoid crossing WCML.

        As for the trains … the problem is that the contracts have already been placed, so even if you wanted to cancel, there’d probably be penalty clauses etc. The really fast trains (say over 250kph) only make sense over longish distances where there’s time to get up to full speed. The proposed Liv-WBQ-Man route, for example (let alone the silly little bit to Marsden), is too short for that, so high-speed trains aren’t any use there.

        I see the Commons select committee was urging the government to come up with a decarbonisation strategy the other day. But, like you, I can’t see major new electrification projects in the offing. And even if Labour take over at the next election, I can’t see them being able to do very much either.

        Comment by Peter Robins | March 16, 2023

  23. Regarding hydrogen. Hydrogen fuel cell small airliners have flown last month. Encouraging. Which makes me think that the call of the death of domestic aviation is premature. Air only needs real estate at both ends not all the way.

    Comment by John Burns | March 16, 2023 | Reply

    • Did you read my post on Evia Aero?

      No Shortcuts In Evia Aero’s Path To Being Europe’s First Green Regional Airline

      Some routes are ideal for quiet electric aircraft. But you must get the refuelling right. Evia and Cranfield have.

      Comment by AnonW | March 16, 2023 | Reply

      • I did and encouraging. But ZeroAvia are ‘hydrogen’ using a larger plane. All proof of concept but I think it will accelerate quickly, especially if legislation is in place on flying fossil fuel planes or economics dictate so.

        Musk predicts “all” transport will be electric, except rockets. But Elon Musk denied that a violent riot took place at the U.S. Capitol in Jan 2021. With such warped logic and perceptions maybe we should not take him too seriously.

        Comment by John | March 16, 2023

  24. Liverpool and Manchester airports are 38km (23 miles) apart. Yes, a maglev on the ship canal wall would be superb in merging the two airports. Liverpool was put on the riverbank as pre WW2 it was seen that seaplanes were the way. They were larger for sure. Only after WW with long concrete runways used were concrete runways adopted en-mass.

    In 1945 the country’s best, and most advanced, airport was Liverpool’s, with its art deco architecture. The Air Ministry ran it until 1961, neglecting it. Until the late 1950s they were still using flairs on the sides on the runways for night flights it was that bad. In the meantime Manchester took the lead. The city got its airport back in 1961 implementing a long runway, but by then it was too late.

    So as trans-Atlantic travel moved from sea to air, Manchester took Liverpool’s traditional role of shifting people. Many see this as a deliberate HMG move. I do as well,

    Comment by John | March 16, 2023 | Reply

  25. I always believe in delivering projects like these in stages, so passengers get something to experience and hopefully like.

    It seems that we are moving to the position with our comments that Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh will be served by a High Speed East Coast.

    In December 2020, LNER announced they were looking for 10 new bi-mode trains.

    LNER Seeks 10 More Bi-Modes

    But they want these to help eliminate diesel, so that leaves a hybrid using battery, hydrogen or Aunt Esmerelda’s extra-strong knicker elastic to power trains.


    1. The High Speed Two Classic-Compatible trains are now being built by a consortium of Alstom and Hitachi.
    2. Cummins provide the hydrogen fuel cells for Alstom’s hydrogen trains.
    3. Cummins have hydrogen internal combustion engines.
    4. Cummins recently put all their new power technologies into a new brand called Accelera by Cummins.
    Cummins have a two billion-dollar-plus research budget for new power technologies.
    5. Cummins have a big factory in Darlington.

    I can see LNER buying some form of hydrogen-hybrid High Speed Two Classic-Compatible trains, with a hydrogen propulsion system from Cummins. And I would think, it would be powered by hydrogen internal combustion engines.

    The world would love it. But I don’t think Musk will be amused.

    Comment by AnonW | March 16, 2023 | Reply

    • “Upgrading the East Coast Main Line to 140 mph operation as a high
      priority alongside HS2 and to be delivered without delay. Newcastle-
      London timings across a shorter route could closely match those
      achievable by HS2.”
      – Beyond HS2 by Greeguage 21.

      I assume that also means getting rid of the bottlenecks on the ECML. They are:

      ▪️ The section track at Welwyn North over the Digswell Viaduct and through the Welwyn tunnels. This has been recognised for decades as a problem.
      ▪️ Between Huntingdon and Peterborough.
      ▪️ Just north of Newark station at the Nottingham to Lincoln Line.
      ▪️ The section of track between Stoke Tunnel and Doncaster.
      ▪️ The north throat of York station including the Skelton Bridge Junction.
      ▪️ South of Newcastle to Northallerton.

      “We will deliver a comprehensive package of upgrades on the East Coast Main Line to boost journeys between Leeds and the North East much sooner than planned, as well as services from Doncaster and Darlington.”
      – Integrated Rail Plan

      “We will complete the electrification of the Midland Main Line, allowing high speed journeys from London to Chesterfield and Sheffield in the same times to those originally proposed by HS2”
      – Integrated Rail Plan

      Sheffield will not be on HS2 it appears.

      “the IRP provides £100m to to look at the most effective way to run HS2 trains to Leeds, including understanding the most optimal solution for Leeds station capacity”
      – Integrated Rail Plan

      The above was mentioned a few days ago in the Commons by Merriman. 18 months late. It appears the study may mainly focus on Leeds station.

      So yes, the eastern cities will be served by upgrades to the eastern mainlines. I fail to see the what value the HS2 eastern leg will give from Birmingham to East Mids Parkway. Only if it runs over to Newark branching onto the ECML. Which I doubt will happen. I can only see cancelling of this leg.

      Comment by John | March 16, 2023 | Reply

  26. I can see several of the problems like Welwyn, Newark and Skelton Bridge being solved by digital signalling.

    I am old enough to remember the Master Cutler, which was British Rail’s flagship fast train between King’s Cross and Sheffield. What route did that speedster take?

    Doing Leeds and Newcastle early should have been done years ago.

    Given the distances battery electric trains are covering, I think a battery-electric five-car 800 train could cover easily over a 100 miles.

    Comment by AnonW | March 16, 2023 | Reply

    • Welwyn can be solved by tunneling. The ECML can be full 140-160mph line quite quickly. Only certain sections can reach 160mph, but may be worth it getting end to end times down if that is the aim.

      The ECML track needs sorting ASAP, as it is a death trap.

      Comment by John | March 17, 2023 | Reply

  27. There’s a summary of the recent announcements about HS2 in a letter from the Transport Sec to the Commons committee One thing I wasn’t sure about with all the talk of concentrating on OOC-Curzon St was whether that included the link to WCML N of Lichfield, but the Commons debate included a question from the L MP, and the answer seems to be yes.

    I note that the committee is still awaiting a response to its inquiry on the IRP from last July (when Huw Merriman was still the chair); most of their demands are due by this month.

    Wandering off topic again, there’s an interesting snippet in the March 7 letter from HM re the Leamside line: “the North East Devolution Deal will provide access to a City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement. It will be for local leaders to determine which local schemes should be prioritised.”

    Comment by Peter Robins | March 17, 2023 | Reply

  28. The Lichfield connection means that HS2 services replacing current services like those to Liverpool, Glasgow and possibly Manchester can take the paths of the current services on the Trent Valley Line.
    Digitally signal the Trent Valley Line and it might be possible to squeeze in more services.

    I like it!

    Comment by AnonW | March 17, 2023 | Reply

    • presumably the timings will have to be different though, as HS2 trains will take less time to get to Lichfield. I would have thought NR will have to work out an entirely new set of paths, as the traffic becomes more local/freight services.

      It’s one of the weaknesses of the hybrid classic-compatible system that any delays on the “classic” lines will cascade on to the HS2 lines.

      Comment by Peter Robins | March 17, 2023 | Reply

      • We all like to criticise Network Rail, but they did a superb job to create a new set of paths between Norwich and London to fit in Norwich-in-Ninety. As their scheduling has got better over the years, I suspect someone has written a comprehensive timetable planner, that works!

        Comment by AnonW | March 17, 2023

  29. There’s an interesting article in the latest issue of the Economist, basically reviewing a new book “How Big Things Get Done”, by Bent Flyvbjerg, now emeritus professor at Oxford, and Dan Gardner, a journalist. Flyvbjerg apparently keeps a database of over 16,000 projects worldwide: “By his reckoning, only 8.5% of projects meet their initial estimates on cost and time, and a piddling 0.5% achieve what they set out to do on cost, time and benefits.”

    “Big bespoke projects are particularly likely to run into trouble”, but problems can be mitigated. “Standardised designs and manufacturing processes for everything from train tracks to viaducts helped China build the world’s largest high-speed rail network in less than a decade.” “In theory the most recent delays [to HS2] enable the British government to spend less money each year; in practice they just increase the risk of yet more things going wrong.”

    Of course, conditions in China are very different to GB, but sobering stuff for anyone involved in large infrastructure projects, not just in GB.

    It’ll be interesting to see what happens with HS2. The current government is looking increasingly lame-duck, and Labour are criticising them not for over-spending but for cutting the original scheme. They might well have to change their tune if they are the ones having to find the finance. TfN have just published a draft 2nd version of their Strategic Transport Plan, and are still insisting that HS2 and NPR must be implemented in full. They’re heavily influenced by the northern metro mayors, who’ll be influential in any Labour government. I’d agree with their basic proposals on NPR, but what’s going to be cut to pay for all this rail infrastructure?

    Comment by Peter Robins | March 18, 2023 | Reply

    • As someone, whose project management software was used on half of the world’s major projects in the 1980s and 1990s, I have my views.

      1. There is too much political interference.

      2. Too many projects are being attempted without enough resources; men, materials and machines, both at a local, national and global level.

      3. Too few top-class project managers for mega-projects.

      4. Bad project management. Often this is caused by 3.

      5. Projects that were badly designed and difficult to build.

      Comment by AnonW | March 18, 2023 | Reply

      • “5. Projects that were badly designed and difficult to build.”

        HS2 falls into that. The ‘Y’ is a joke being just more fast lines to London. It adds no value, that would draw in objectors.

        Comment by John | March 18, 2023

    • “TfN have just published a draft 2nd version of their Strategic Transport Plan, and are still insisting that HS2 and NPR must be implemented in full. They’re heavily influenced by the northern metro mayors, who’ll be influential in any Labour government”

      The metro-mayors have made it clear they do not care too much about HS2, but scream for NPR be redesigned and done in full. They want NPR, then by insisting that HS2 be completed, which is under construction, they are upping the chances of NPR being built as NPR uses some HS2 track. They are playing the political game to get NPR.

      In private Rotheram of Liverpool would rather HS2 was cancelled above Crewe, as it puts his region at a disadvantage.

      Comment by John | March 18, 2023 | Reply

      • Burnham was recently asked whether he would favour better links to London or between northern towns, and he plumped for the latter.

        That goes back to my original comment that journey times to London really aren’t important to the great majority of rail journeys outside the SE. And NPR is about connectivity, not high speed. The towns/cities across N England, and for that matter in the Midlands, are not that far apart, so high-speed trains really aren’t needed/useful. I can see Lon-Brum, Brum-Man/Lpl, Brum-Lds, Lds/Man/Lpl-Scotland as being long enough to justify high-speed, but then you should also include Bristol and Cardiff, so Brum/Man/Lpl-Brs-Cardiff for a complete network. But HS2 doesn’t cater for this; the line into Curzon St is right next to the line into New St, but there’s no connection for classic-compatible – grrr!

        Comment by Peter Robins | March 18, 2023

    • If you’ve time to spare and want more on Flyvbjerg’s research, try The Freedom Pact one is a good overview, and there’s some stimulating discussion on the Red Team one. I think my favourite quote is: a lot of this is common sense – but common sense isn’t so common.

      Comment by Peter Robins | March 18, 2023 | Reply

    • What the opposition say before an election is different to what they would do after if they win. Labour has to keep their northern Red Wall happy an that means NPR. Labour stronghold in the south is London, who do not care about HS2. Londoners just want the Tube/Overground/etc, modernized and cleaned up.

      Comment by John | March 20, 2023 | Reply

  30. If you look at the spec of the High Speed Two Classic Compatible trains, it says they should be able to be reversed fast.

    So imagine the Northern Flyer!

    A High Speed Two Classic Compatible train would call at Old Oak Common and Birmingham Interchange before arriving in Liverpool Lime Street, ninety minutes after leaving Euston.

    The current driver would step-down and a new driver would step-up.

    Passengers and on-board crew would get on and off as appropriate.

    Three minutes after arriving in Liverpool Lime Street, the train would leave and call at Manchester Airport, Manchester Piccadilly Gardens, Huddersfield, Bradford and Leeds before arriving in Hull.

    NPR are saying that Liverpool Lime Street and Hull would be around 90 minutes.

    Comment by AnonW | March 18, 2023 | Reply

  31. Here is a November 2020 Network Rail report on the WCML south.

    Click to access WCML-South-Congested-Infrastructure-Report-1.0.pdf

    They say:
    “there is no available capacity without significantly impacting performance and causing a reduction in timetable resilience due to the resulting requirement for successive services to run on minimum headway.”

    ▪️ Obscenely expensive HS2 can be binned, retaining the London-Aylesbury section is in advanced construction.
    ▪️ The WCML can have two extra tracks into London from Rugby by reusing the Gt.Central trackbed from Rugby to Aylesbury.
    ▪️ Make Rugby to Aylesbury 4-track to give back the towns their railway and local services
    ▪️ HS2 track at Aylesbury can run onto an upgraded the Chiltern Line taking the Birmingham/West Mids trains off the WCML.

    Then all the capacity they want at a vastly reduced outlay to a full HS2.

    Comment by John | March 19, 2023 | Reply

    • The Government would have to spend fortunes on lawyers and compensations to get that through.

      Comment by AnonW | March 19, 2023 | Reply

      • Still far, far, cheaper than finishing a THIRD line to Birmingham.

        Comment by John | March 19, 2023

      • The Gt.Central trackbed is largely intact. They rented out a tunnel for high speed car testing – ‘after’ calls to reuse the Gt.Central. It would be far cheaper than carrying on the whole HS2 plan, yet give far more bang for buck. Capacity would be split between the WCML, Gt.Central, Chiltern and HS2 London-Aylesbury section. Just by reusing 40 miles of trackbed.

        A bonus is that local and regional rail can be reinstated between Aylesbury and Leicester with all the towns between benefiting, getting back their railway stations.

        Comment by John | March 20, 2023

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