The High Speed Network Hole

Right from the start, it was obvious that there was one thing missing in the plans for Andrew Adonis’ high speed network – a connection between HS2 and HS1 (which had been called the Channel Tunnel Rail Link until it was renamed by Adonis).

This was not a new hole. One of the arguments in favour of HS1 had been the idea that there could be a link between the new HS1 high speed railway and the West Coast Main Line, but the particular suggestion, using the North London line proved impossible for engineering reasons. When it was again mooted as a possible connection to join HS2 to HS1, it (not surprisingly) proved impossible for very similar reasons.

According to the Independent last week

“HS2 Ltd and Network Rail are looking at several options, including a travelator and splitting the line before it reaches Euston. This would mean trains could connect directly to HS1, but this time on a twin track that would allow trains to go up and down the link at the same time.

…However, a Network Rail director told The Independent on Sunday that a previously mooted travelator between the two stations was the likely “end game”. Rail experts fear that this could be an expensive option and would cause upheaval, because a tunnel would have to be built close to the surface between the two busy stations.”

What’s clear is that when HS2 was first being developed – before the details of the route and the speed were made – some very fundamental flaws were designed in.  No connection to Heathrow, no connection to HS1 – and therefore no connection for trains from Manchester and Birmingham to go to Paris and he Continent.

And with the addition of Andrew Adonis to the HS2 Ltd executive board, no new ideas to resolve the problems.

(Meanwhile, the plans for Euston have gone through numerous iterations, with the next set of Additional Provisions covering Euston planned to be made public (according to HS2 Ltd’s internal timetable we are told) in September. Or possibly later. Maybe sometime.)

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4 comments to “The High Speed Network Hole”
  1. The select committee reinforce the bodge job of HS2 across South Buckinghamshire.

    MPs do not have competencies to assess and change infrastructure. The incompleteness of changes by the Select Committee is making the HS2 more of the bodge job at greater wasteful cost.

    Green tunnels and continuous tunnels with machines in place for the latter more costly and not less and certainly more impacting on surfaces and ground works.

    Suggest the HS2 Route 3 is paused and reassessed fully from London to Birmingham and piece meal bodging by non-specialists stops.

  2. George Osborne wants 40% saving from the transport dept then with a swipe of a pen they could save 50 odd billion by scraping hs2 that no one wants

  3. Lumberjack Osborne is now lost in the woods as the real cuts will lead to drastic loss of GDP per capita as population rises and public funded projects reduced and armed service spending drops. Cameron is adrift with the Conservatives continuing the Blair Brown Balls failing approach and deceiving more of the public. Oh what a state the UK State will be in by 2020. Sinking funding and rising wasteful expenditure on HS2 documents and wages on a proposal the public do not endorse whilst Network Rail/TOC and TFL LUL services both become further degraded and delayed. The Conservative voters must wonder what has gone wrong in the months since the 2015 election. Perhaps as the Greeks have found career politics is leading to less social well being for more and less prosperity for most. So what is Cameron doing packing his bags in the next years tell you he did not do the right thing with HS2.

    George Osborne now orders Whitehall to plan for cuts of 40 per cent
    He has sharpened his axe for unprotected departments to save £20 billion as part of his plan to tackle Britain’s debt mountain and destroy more of the ancient woodlands. It includes slashing a swathe over 200KM long and much too wide through the Counties for a rail service many locals cannot access. Stop this pair from further destruction of the nation. They asked you to let them finish the job. Most fell for the ploy. Time to petition against the Additional Provisions 2 to slow down this lemming group think charge of MPs who continue to charge you for their lackings of governance skills and lack of executive leadership.

  4. Very good article. Long before HS2, Sir Rod Eddington suggested in a Government report that transport was needed to access international gateways (not now included in HS2 plans) but there should be no ‘Grand project’ (HS2 seems to be exactly that). High speed rail is a very high quality mode of travel for long distances where the benefit of high speed makes the journey a sensible choice. We do need high speed rail for journeys where it is strategically necessary. These are – Scotland to London and Birmingham, Scotland, the North and Midlands to near continental Europe via HS1, Northern cities to Heathrow to provide links with long distance air journeys, and Heathrow to Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and their respective airports. These 4 strategic uses of high speed rail cannot be achieved with lower speed trains. If you are against the Chiltern route of HS2, then take a good look at High Speed UK web site. This offers much greater connectivity between the UK cities that HS2 and uses a route this requires considerably less environmental damage than HS2.

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