Monday, 8 June 2015

HST2 on track?

The general election result probably killed off serious opposition to HST2.  Sporadic skirmishes will continue, but the battle has been lost.  However, we can but hope that austerity cuts makes HST2 look like an expendable luxury.  Kick the project into the long grass for a few years.

There is much that can be done  to alleviate capacity and speed issues using existing infrastructure. A few suggestions:

1. Re-open the old Great Central line between Rugby and High Wycombe and build a link to the former London & North Western line.  Some services could be diverted off the West Coast Main Line (WCML) to London Paddington and passengers could change at the latter for Crossrail.  There will be no connection at Euston for Crossrail.

2. Re-open the Bedford-Northampton line and extend Thameslink services to Rugby and down the Trent Valley to Stafford.

3. Increase usage of the Midland Line to Sheffield and West Yorkshire.  One way to reduce considerably travel time between London St Pancras and Sheffield would be to send trains for Sheffield via the Erewash Valley Line. The argument used against this is that trains need the Derby stop for revenue purposes.  The answer surely is to extend trains beyond Sheffield to Rotherham, Wakefield and Leeds and offer much cheaper fares from Leeds and Wakefield to London than on the old Great Northern line via Doncaster to Kings Cross.

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