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High-speed rail: What exactly are the plans for HS2 and HS3?

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The transport secretary, Grant Shapps, is about to announce his new Built-in Rail Plan for Nice Britain. Leaks from authorities reveal that plans for brand new high-speed traces, HS2 and HS3, cease nicely wanting beforehand promised ambitions.

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These are the important thing questions and solutions.

Outline ‘high-speed rail’?

UIC, the worldwide railway organisation, says the period was born on 1 October 1964 when the Bullet Practice began working in Japan between Tokyo and Osaka. Its authentic working pace was 130mph (210km/h).

Within the Nineteen Seventies, the UK was forward of Europe with Excessive Velocity Trains working on the Nice Western line linking London Paddington with Bristol and Cardiff – which established 125mph because the benchmark for Inter-Metropolis rail within the UK. Though the ill-fated Superior Passenger Practice and the Pendolino trains on the West Coast essential line are able to 140mph, there has by no means been sufficient capability to permit them to run at full pace.

France made the following large leap on 27 September 1981, when the Practice à Grand Vitesse began working at a most pace of 162mph (260 km/h). This has since elevated, with 186mph (300km/h) now frequent on excessive pace railways throughout Europe.

“Excessive pace rail” is now typically considered speeds at or above 140mph (225km/h) on devoted tracks.

How is Britain doing?

The one line that qualifies by the fashionable definition is Excessive Velocity 1, linking London St Pancras with Kent and the Channel Tunnel.

However in 2009 the final Labour authorities specified Excessive Velocity 2 (HS2) to attach the capital with the Midlands and north of England. The venture had all-party help, with the incoming Conservative transport secretary, Justine Greening, saying: “If this nation is to out-compete, out-produce and out-innovate the remainder of the world then we can’t afford to not go forward with HS2.

“Put merely, we should spend money on our transport community, not regardless of the financial challenges we face, however as a method to beat them and to safe our nation’s financial future.”

Since then the price of the venture has greater than doubled and is now approaching £100bn.

The place will HS2 go?

Its first stage is from London Euston to Birmingham. The dual-track line follows a extra southerly trajectory than the prevailing West Coast essential line and Chilterns line, reducing by way of rural countryside to the Midlands, the place it splits.

The western leg (HS2W) runs to Crewe and Manchester, whereas the jap leg (HS2E) continues to Nottingham, Sheffield and Leeds – relieving stress on the Midland essential line and the East Coast essential line.

The Y-shaped community will enable high-speed trains to run on standard traces onwards to Preston, Carlisle, Edinburgh and Glasgow from the western leg, and to York and Newcastle on the jap leg. In complete 345 miles of recent high-speed monitor is deliberate for HS2.

How a lot sooner?

HS2 is deliberate for working at 225mph (362km/h), with the next schedule deliberate (present instances additionally proven):

  • London-Manchester: 67 minutes (125 minutes), saving 46 per cent on present journey instances.
  • London-Leeds: 81 minutes (133 minutes), saving 39 per cent.
  • Birmingham-Manchester: 40 minutes (87 minutes), saving 54 per cent.
  • Birmingham-Leeds: 46 minutes (117 minutes), saving 61 per cent.

What about HS3?

In July 2019, Boris Johnson pledged a high-speed hyperlink throughout the Pennines between Manchester and Leeds – identified interchangeably as HS3 and Northern Powerhouse rail. Journey instances as quick as 20 minutes have been floated, in contrast with the present quickest journey of fifty minutes.

The prime minister mentioned: “I wish to be the prime minister who does, with Northern Powerhouse Rail, what we did for Crossrail in London.”

This can be a reference to the £19bn rail hyperlink throughout the capital that connects Studying and Heathrow with south Essex and southeast London, although not at excessive pace. It’s at present working 4 years late and nicely over price range.

“At present I’m going to ship on my dedication to that imaginative and prescient with a pledge to fund the Leeds to Manchester route,” Mr Johnson continued.

“It’s going to be as much as native individuals to determine what comes subsequent. So far as I’m involved that’s only the start to our commitments and our investments. We wish to see this complete factor performed.

“I’ve requested officers to speed up their work on these plans in order that we’re able to do a deal within the autumn.

“Be happy to applaud.”

In order that’s all clear, then. When can I step aboard?

The primary passenger HS2 trains could run between London and Birmingham within the late 2020s – although most likely from a suburban station in west London, Previous Oak Frequent, because the meant hub, Euston, is not going to be prepared. The hyperlinks to Crewe and Manchester will comply with within the 2030s.

It’s now clear, although, that Northern Powerhouse Rail, together with a lot of the jap leg of HS2, has been scrapped.

However I learn that rail travellers ought to rejoice?

That’s the line ministers have fed to pleasant newspapers. The Sunday Occasions headlined its story: “Pink wall commuters to get rail revolution – high-speed traces and upgrades will reduce journey instances between cities within the Midlands and the north in ‘levelling up’.”

In contrast with doing nothing, that’s actually the case. The difficulty is: what the federal government now plans is nicely wanting what was initially promised.

Whereas HS2W can be accomplished, HS2E can be downgraded with a hyperlink from Birmingham to East Midlands Parkway station – the place it is going to meet the Midland essential line, and one other spur from Leeds south to some extent in South Yorkshire the place it is going to hyperlink with present traces to Sheffield.

The spin is that what ministers are planning is “delivering the identical ambition for higher worth for cash for the British taxpayer”.

Do rail specialists agree?

No. Nigel Harris, editor of Rail journal and the foremost commentator on the railway business, informed The Impartial: “For those who don’t do HS2E there’s nearly no level in doing HS2W if all it’s to be is a bypass for the West Coast essential line.

“The largest advantages could have been sacrificed within the identify of political spinelessness and power Treasury quick termism: figuring out the price of the whole lot and the worth of nothing.”

Lilian Greenwood, the Labour MP who’s the previous chair of the Transport Choose Committee, mentioned: “If ‘HS2 trains will as an alternative be directed on to present monitor for a lot of the journey to Yorkshire’, then certainly as an alternative of including a great deal of new capability, it is going to make issues worse moderately than higher?”

Absolutely pace isn’t the whole lot?

Appropriate. The purpose of HS2 is to alleviate the capability crunch on the Victorian rail community, by shifting inter-city providers off the creaking Nineteenth-century infrastructure. Velocity is only a welcome by-product. Eradicating passenger expresses will dramatically enhance choices for native and regional trains, in addition to freight – with individuals and items coaxed from highway to rail.

Virtually halving the journey time between London and Birmingham to 45 minutes is a bonus; a very new line in a extremely congested nation would possibly as nicely be designed to function at 225mph to match one of the best in Continental Europe.

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