HS2 – It’s in a bit of a pickle – But it should still be built

An HS1 train stands at St. Pancras Station in April 2009.

My good friend Phil Holden has recently been commenting at length (Phil is rarely short of words) on the pickle that HS2 finds itself in. Here’s a link to Phil’s blog posting on the matter:-

phlhldn.blogspot.com/2019/09/take-h-out-of-hs2-now.html

And here’s my comment on what Phil has said:-

Well Phil you’ve blown a whistle on HS2 with your full head of steam aimed at the chief promoter. Anyone would think you are trying to shunt him into a siding or even send him to Barry scrap yard where steam engines went to die.

But seriously, I agree with much that you say. HS2 is mainly about capacity, it always has been. Whether it is being poorly managed or not I bow to your expansive knowledge on such matters.

But yes of course it should be built, of that I have no doubt whatsoever. As for significantly high speed, I can live without that.

And finally how come the French, Spanish, Germans etc. can build high speed rail networks (and have been doing for many years) when we can’t without huge delays and breaking the bank?

Edinburgh Tram was another massive failure (in cost terms) and so has been our attempts to electrify rail routes across the UK. Indeed, the Government got so cheesed off with Network Rail’s carry on that they (wrongly in my view) cancelled many planned electrifications rather than sort out the dysfunctional Network Rail. I think a significant part of the problem will be associated with the UK losing too many experienced railway engineers in the years when we (not me I must add) thought railways were done and gone. We then got caught out with folks flocking back to them and having no capacity. Out came the plans for HS2 and electrifications but no one knew how to do it any more.

We should probably have got SNCF or the Spanish/German equivalents to design and build HS2 and it would probably be up and running before your mid 70’s. The birth place of railways has forgotten how to build them I’m sad to say.

Being anti-HS2 is a bit like Brexit – It’s all about the rose-tinted past

A fellow blogger, Paul Bigland, has an interesting slant on HS2 and those who oppose it – see the link below to access it:-

paulbigland.blog/2019/03/06/stop-hs2-some-people-never-learn/

Brexiteers, it seems, can convince themselves of pretty much anything that has absolutely no foundation in fact and those opposing HS2 seem to have a similar viewpoint.

HS2 is about capacity or the looming lack of it on the rail network as much as it is about speed.

Although only similar in an abstract way HS2 is akin to reopening the Great Central Line; a line that should never have been closed, certainly with the benefit of hindsight.

Railways are becoming an increasingly important way for people and freight to move around and we are light years away from the Beeching era when closing railways and love of the motor car and truck marked a progressing society. Congestion all but brings the UK to a standstill often these days and pollution from the internal combustion engine is choking our communities and indeed killing us all.

HS2 is about the future of travel. Brexiteers want us all to live in the 1950s so they bang on about their anti-HS2 movement as they bang on about their ludicrous Brexit.

Liverpool to London in 85 MINUTES?

The Liverpool Echo has the article on its website – see link below:-

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/business/liverpool-london-85-minutes-huge-15756932

HS2 was always going to lead to some cities feeling left out of the high-speed rail network and Liverpool fell into that category when routing it from Manchester to Leeds became the sadly unsurprising favoured direction. Since then much lobbying has been taking place to try to get Liverpool connected to HS2 and this latest plan by TfN looks to be a credible offer to Government.

Will it get the go-ahead? Goodness knows in the strange political times in which we presently live, must be the answer! Having said that we are told that the Conservatives are reaching out to Brexit leaning Labour enabler MP’s to offer them things to get them on board the Tory train off a cliff edge. Will a promise of funding for this high-speed rail link buy any of them off?

Liverpool City Region Councils prepared to pay so that HS2 reaches city?

Liverpool presses to part-fund HS2 extension

ResPublica* has drawn up a plan for the six authorities of the Liverpool city region, which would see them part-fund a £3bn extension of HS2 so that it would reach the city.

Financial Times ran this story today

* We [ResPublica] are an independent non-partisan think tank based in Westminster that seeks to establish a new economic, social and cultural settlement for the United Kingdom. Our interventions in public policy and public debate have been decisive, and our ideas have been adopted by politicians of all parties.

With thanks to Cllr. John Dodd for spotting this story via the LGiU

Photos from Monsal Head of Monsal Dale – Derbyshire – Midland Railway

I came across an old postcard recently, which shows a northbound train crossing Monsal Dale Viaduct (actually the correct name is Headstone Viaduct) c 1908:-

Monsal Head Viaduct then

My photo below is the scene as it is now with the railway being part of a footpath across the viaduct.

rsz_monsal_head_viaduct_now

Oh what could have been if in the the 1950’s and 60’s we had been more forward looking and not closed many of our railways! By the way check how the trees have grown by comparing the two photos.

Check out the Wikipedia page at:-
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monsal_Dale

A shot of the River Wye which flows through Monsal Dale taken from the viaduct.

A shot of the River Wye which flows through Monsal Dale taken from the viaduct.

The photos are amongst my Flickr shots at:-
www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

HS3 needed – Now here’s a subject where I agree with Liverpool’s Socialist Mayor

The Government needs to press ahead with High Speed 2 and start planning new faster train projects in order to improve trade links and help rebalance the economy, according to the Mayor of Liverpool. Joe Anderson said that the Government must ignore critics of the controversial infrastructure project, as HS2 is vital to boosting the economic recovery in the North. He added that the Government should also be drawing up plans for High Speed 3 now in order to sustain the jobs and economic growth momentum generated by HS2.

With thanks to the LGiU for this story.