Posted 28th December 2009 | 7 Comments

HS2 proposals to be sent to Government this week

This is one possible HS network which has been suggested from time to time. But it does not include Leeds or cities in the north east of England

The Government is due to receive the first detailed report on future High Speed rail lines in Britain this week, although the full proposals are not expected to be published straight away, to avoid unnecessary planning blight along the possible routes.

A new station in London and a route through the Chilterns and along the edge of the Lake District as part of a network linking London with the West Midlands, the north of England and Scotland are expected to be at the heart of the proposals being sent to the Government on Wednesday.

The Government company HS2, which has been preparing the report, is said to have considered 35 possible sites for a new High Speed terminus in London, but a position near Euston and the King's Cross/St Pancras hub may still be a strong contender. The new station would have about ten platforms, and be designed to deal with up to 18 departures an hour, with each 400 metre train carrying 1100 people. A 393 metre single-deck Eurostar -- the only High Speed train currently running in the UK -- has just under 800 seats.

Other likely developments are links between HS2 and HS1, and also the West Coast Main Line. Through running on to the WCML would raise questions of loading gauge, because the double-deckers needed to carry 1000 passengers would not be able to continue on to the domestic network without extensive gauge clearance works.

The new lines would reduce journey times by some 50 per cent between London and major provincial centres, with Manchester just over an hour away from the capital and London to Glasgow being achieved in 2 hours and 16 minutes, thanks to line speeds of up to 400 km/h.

Uncertainty remains about a High Speed link to the north east of England. There has been considerable lobbying in the region after some preliminary maps suggested that the main alignment of HS2 would run to Scotland via the north west.

However, the most contentious part of the plan may be the initial section between London and the West Midlands, because it will run via the Chilterns. This section is said to have been planned down to the nearest half metre, but opposition is already growing in the area. A tunnel has apparently already been considered and ruled out, partly on the grounds of its tremendous cost.

The Transport Secretary Andrew Adonis expects to publish the full report in the spring, along with a White Paper setting out the Government's recommendations. Trains could be running by 2025.

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • andy ganley, cheam, england

    Instead of banging on about HS2 better yet to improve the network we ve got
    already(maybe repair the damge Beeching did too),the rail infrastructure around south london which is a disgrace,its falling apart and hardly a week goes by without major track and signalling woes.

    And can anyone tell me whats the point of the proposed rail £500million raillink
    from Windsor and Heathrow i mean its only a stones throw away and isnt there a M way called the M4 near i mean hello!

  • Matt Smith, Northamptonshire

    Whilst this is a step in the right direction, it is a very small one. I cannot see why the powers that be are struggling to find a route, when there is a route that is 70% already there - the former great central line was originally built as the fastest, smoothest, straightest line in the country, with the vision of connecting up with Europe. To me, this seems the most sensible option.

  • J Hall, Aylesbury, UK

    We are still in the hardened IRON AGE; transporting by grating steel against steel!
    Why not go emulate our Victorian forebears and be GREAT again at something by revolutionary technology eg maglef Monorail.(cf. Canal to railways).
    Journey speeds at 500mph from city centre to city centre. Leave the friction to the goods traffic.

  • Llion Wynne Jones, aberdare

    This is great news, It shoul encourage more people onto rail, and encourage more freight to go by rail aswell, The only this that I do hope doesent happen, is joblosses on the WCML with Virgin West coast, Maybe Virgin could operate the services, but still use the 390's on the WCML. Anyway all sounds good, but I do think Wales needs a link like this, as a lot of people use the plane from Cardiff - Newcastle instead of using the train. But all in all It looks like a very good time for the railways, and it should create more jobs, such as Train drivers, Guards, Managers etc.

  • richard bentley, Bristol, UK

    Well if the NIMBY crew want to make this countries' transport infrastructire become utterly stagnant perhaps they may want to consider its enviornmental impact. Rail is the cleanest form of transport and that is the reason why our continental partners (France, Germany, Spain etc) have invested heavily in rail being their primary mode of transport for both frieight and the general public. We need to realise this in this country and it infuriates me beyond belief when people simultaneously say they want this country to improve on our decades-old rail infrastructure and then saying that they dont want where they live. Being a keen (and active) environmentalist myself I would love nothing better than to see rail retake its rightful position as this countries' primary mode of transport.

  • H Harvey, Birmingham

    As usual what starts off as a welcome nay vital transport development is going to run into serious problems in the that great NIMBY land called the Chilterns.

    I hope I am wrong and ckearly look forward to reading the the actual document and am pleasantly surprised by the excellence of the reasoning behind opting for this route.

    What possessed the HS2 planners to opt for this most stupid option defies belief particularly as they knew full well there were several other possible routes not only from a environmental/traffic viewpoint but also from NIMBY objectors.

    Where are the traffic generators along this Chiltern route
    Where are the alternative routes via classic lines in emergencies

    Following M6/WCML as far as Rugby then either via Coventry to Birmingham
    A slightly longer route continuing along WCML to Shildon where there would be a spur to Birmingham turning west and following Birmingham Derby line into Birmingham. The HS2 to the NW following WCML to the North where Birmingham Northbound trains would rejoin, and a NE HS2 spur could branch off for future Leeds/Newcastle HS trains from Birmingham and London.

    I suspect that once more rail is considered subservient to air and the aviation lobby wilkl get their roundabout route via Heathrow and Birmingham International reducing the time advantage for HS2 over air by significant margins.

    Birmingham to London journeys will have a second best option with a longer by distance and by time which is hardly likely to be much better than a non stop 140mph Pendolino

    A great opportunity marginalised by poor planning which is also likelty to add to the Design/planning/construction costs and time. The best tha can be said of Chiltern route is tha at least it is hopefully a step forward and I have been wrong many times in the past lets hope my failed projections of the past have at leat one more in the future.

  • John Jefkins, Croydon, Britain

    How is it that a 3rd world country like China just opened a 250mph line that goes twice as far as HS2 over far more difficult land in only 4 years, whilst we are proposing to take 16 years !

    We are absolutely PATHETIC in taking so long.

    In the next decade our competitors in Europe, USA and China will have built thousands of km of new line!

    London-Birmingham will be full by 2015 - so we need the first section of HS2 to be open pretty soon after.

    It is NOT GOOD ENOUGH to wait until 2017 before construction even starts!
    Britain is already 30 years behind the rest of Europe on this.
    We need to start this rather sooner than 2017!