HS2 Ltd’s idea of a conventional speed line

One thing that comes up every so often – including in Norman Baker’s speech to the LibDems – is that building a conventional new line is a Bad Idea.

It seems to come out of the work High Speed 2 Ltd did, in which they thought about building a conventional line, and decided that although it was cheaper to build, it just wasn’t a good idea.

But did they use sensible assumptions in considering a conventional new line?

You can read the ones they used in the “Economic Case for HS2”, p45.

“Apart from speed we used the same specification as for the high speed line, for example the service levels and station stops, to assess this alternative.”

HS2 has no intermediate stations, between London and Birmingham, and so HS2 Ltd’s conventional railway has no possibility of stops between London and Birmingham. Unlike HS1, which has three intermediate stations, at Stratford, Ebbsfleet and Ashford, in a 109km railway, HS2 Ltd’s view of a conventional railway has zero stations in a much longer stretch of track.

At the Transport Seleect Committee earlier this month, HS2 Ltd were asked whether they had considered an “imaginative use of intermediate stations” on HS2.¬† It seems that not only had they rejected them on their high speed line, they hadn’t even considered a one or two intermediate stations if they built¬† a conventional railway line.

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One comment to “HS2 Ltd’s idea of a conventional speed line”
  1. the point is that the existing lines and stations will remain open when hs2 is built. hs2 is an express service between the major cities in england and hopefully scotland one day which will release capacity on the existing lines. i dont see any point in building a brand new line then retaining normal speeds.it is barely cheaper and has the disadvantage that you would not then get as much modal transfer as with faster trains. yes hs2 enerates more emissions then slower rail,if that slower rail didnt stop en route that is but it genreates less then do road and air.

    having said that, i have always believed that at the very least coventry should be linked in to hs2. this could be done relatively cheaply and easily. it would require a junction from hs2 to the kenilworth line which would need doubling and electrifying on this short stretch and also would include a new kenilworth station to be used by local trains. a further junction could be placed where hs2 will cross the existing coventry birmingham line. coventry could then become a hs2 hub with trains to london birmingham and points north.

    i also cant see any reason why hs2 cannot have a link or interchange with the east west line which has such a strong case that it really must be expected to go ahead. it would be very strange if this line were not electrified.
    if the chiltern main line were also electrified, javelin like services as on hs1 could then serve say banbury and bicester and also from oxford.

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