What HS2 means for Milton Keynes

Alison Munro, CEO of HS2 Ltd, was interviewed by 3 Counties Radio this morning. A couple of things she said are worth noting.

(Stop HS2 was interviewed as well, but we had to be at their studio at 7am: she wasn’t on until 8.30.)

She was asked why HS2 Ltd wanted to build another railway line between Euston and Birmingham, when one already exists.

Her answer was that by the time HS2 opens (in about 2026) the West Coast Main Line would be full.  And  a brand new line, she said, was better then incremental solutions.

So what is she really saying?

She is really saying that for 15 years, she thinks the railway is going to get more and more crowded.  Meanwhile, the Government is going to spend £2 billion every year, for years.

Under this scheme, there will be no improvement to anyone’s journey until 2026.  And she thinks that’s better then making a number of smaller changes, which could start improving people’s journeys straight away?

She also said talked about faster journeys and better connectivity.  But Milton Keynes station already has fast long-distance trains and excellent connectivity.  But HS2 would have a damaging effect on that.

When HS2 is operational, the fast long distance trains that currently stop at Milton Keynes would be moved to the HS2 route.  Given the experience of HS1 in Kent, trains using the WCML would be slowed down.

HS2 means Milton Keynes would have slow trains and worse connectivity.

18 comments to “What HS2 means for Milton Keynes”
  1. Gary, HS2 are pointing out the POTENTIAL for extra trains services only – they are not saying there will be extra services from MK. This was confirmed in a conversation with HS2 people at MK station on Friday.

    I’d be very sceptical about “new services” due to HS2. We heard this and the “reduced costs due to competition” arguement with HS1.

    The problem is economics. As Christian Wolmar has pointed out, increased numbers of trains invariably means increased subsidies per train – and less money for investment.

  2. Her answer was that by the time HS2 opens (in about 2026) the West Coast Main Line would be full. And a brand new line, she said, was better then incremental solutions.

    So what is she really saying?

    She’s saying that by the time HS2 opens (in about 2026) the West Coast Main Line will be full. And a brand new line is better then incremental solutions.

    Hope this clears up any confusion.

    But surely it will rip through lovely unspoiled countryside? And can we really afford to cover the land with enough concrete to bury the City of London and carve a track three times as wide as as a main line railway?
    Great heavens, that must be at least as wide as the Wembly football pitch!
    Anyway, it’s mainly the “better off” who can afford to go rushing around the countryside,in their motor cars, what with petrol costing nearly five shillings a gallon, especially with the likes of Col. Nasser threatening to block our supplies through the Canal. Should we be encouraging all this unnecessary travel which must create fumes and a constant noise in the hitherto unpolluted heart of the country.

    IReally I believe that this will prove to be a costly “white elephant”, an expensive” vanity project”, for the benefit of the few, but paid for by us all.

  4. http://www.hs2.org.uk/assets/x/77791

    Just to put Penny straight…..Milton Keynes gets twice as many trains to London as it does now once HS2 is built.

    WCML line speeds will be the same as they are now……ie max 125mph. Rolling stock which isnt able to reach that speed is transfered to slow lines to allow faster trains to overtake if required. Virgin trains approached Network Rail not so long back and applied for permission to run Pendolinos at 140mph on certain sections of the WCML. This was refused as the safety case would ( in NRs opinion ) be breached. Currently Milton Keynes to London Euston has 2 operators….London Midland and Virgin. The difference in timings is on average 7 minutes as the London Midland service stops at Watford Junction. Once HS2 is built , I would expect that the 100% increase in services from Milton Keynes would be a mixture of non stop/1 stop services achieving the same times as they do now.

    As far as changes now to make improvements before HS2 is even built……the new WCML franchise for which there are 4 TOCs shortlisted has been designed with greater flexibilty to allow TOCs more freedom to improve service. Path rights exist for the West Coast winner to increase Manchester to London services to 4 per hour. The current fleet of pendolinos are getting an extra 2 standard carriages per set in the next 12 months …..these are being fitted at a specially built ” factory ” in Edge Hill Liverpool when the current fleet comes in for its half life renewal one set at a time.

    Network Rail have a number of ongoing projects designed to improve capacity and line speed on the WCML in the next few years……..one I have linked below. In a nutshell, a flying junction is being built. As this is north of Lichfield, this will also aid HS2 rolling stock until the route for the extension is finally built.


    So Penny ……..you were saying???????????????

      • While removing the fast long distance trains which currently stop at MK, which disbenefits those who live there.

        • “Network Rail projects that the West Coast Main Line (WCML) will reach full capacity by 2024 and the first phase of HS2, from London to the West Midlands, would free up space for a significant increase in commuter, regional and freight services.

          HS2 would also lead to the number of typical daily direct services to London Euston from Milton Keynes potentially rising from its current level of 82 trains up to 172, and from Northampton from 35 trains up to 51. Train services between towns in the regions would also be increased.”

          • Instead of relying on predictions of what might happen in 13 years’ time (about as accurate as the long-term weather forecast),wouldn’t it be more sensible to apply incremental improvements now to relieve the beleaguered commuters who have to stand every day on their way to work?Are they somehow less important than long-distance travellers?They certainly pay enough for the experience. As to freight,I was informed earlier,and had it confirmed by an ARUP engineer at Shepherd’s Bush roadshow,that it could not be mixed with HS.Yet,in today’s Rail Magazine plans are afoot to do just that on HS1. One would like to see justification for HS2 based on precedent from HS1,rather than arguments on the surmised benefits.

            • Peter …….incremental improvements are happening NOW!!! You obviously choose not to acknowledge this……do the research.

  5. The present rail network was designed back in the 18th Century and even with the last set of upgrades, the maximum speed to just 120mph. Which only increased the capacity by a very small amount, do the people at Stop HS2 disbelieve that the population is increasing and the demand on the present network will also increase. I agree that most of the high speed trains stop at Milton Keynes but removing most of the long distance trains onto the new HS2 will increase the capacity on the present system. The HS2 line is mainly to improve the connections between the Midlands and London. If you feel that strongly about increasing the connection times between Milton Keynes I suggest you lobby your MP for a station at Milton Keynes for HS2 or even a HS3 from London to Milton Keynes.

    • Can you tell me who,in the 18th century,designed our railway network?As I recall, Stephenson’s first locomotive was introduced in a colliery 1n 1814.

      • Peter, you must surely understand by now, never let mere facts get in the way of a good story.
        Now remember, when it comes to any progress with HS1, never mind HS2,-

        * ” NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS” *

        ** “GOOD NEWS IS BAD NEWS” **

        *** “BAD NEWS IS GOOD NEWS”***

        If you remember that you won’t get confused. ( if you’re not sure, then just ask Penny. She’ll confirm it’s the case, I’m certain)

        Actually, if you do want to see an interesting article about HSR generally and the French experience with TGV network, an objective article which looks at at both the Plus and Minus aspects, “Life on the Fast Track: Thirty Years of theTGV”, in today’s ‘Independent’ newspaper.(Saturday,9th April.) is worth a look.
        For a longer consideration ,the current edition of ‘Modern Railways’ contains a lengthy feature “Why we need HS2”. Food for thought.

        • Thankyou ,John.I was applying Socratic irony,and I notice it hasn’t drawn a response.I could have gone on to say that nobody designed the present rail network.It grew from private companies who wanted to get to the metropolis,or anywhere that would make a profit for their shareholders.Companies didn’t want to share lines or termini.Hence the magnificent St Pancras Station amongst others to make a statement of their success and prosperity.Later,other lines had to be built to link up,and so it goes on.In the present shambles,there is no real,overall control of the whole system.What is now happening is an attempt to reverse the mistakes and neglect that have gone on since Beeching.Too late,the cry went up.The North Main Line(the last to be built)from Paddington to Snow Hill was never a commercial success,and nor will HS2 be.

Comments are closed.

2010-2023 © STOP HS2 – The national campaign against High Speed Rail 2