Liverpool’s “high speed rail link plans quietly dropped”

Two articles in last Thursday’s Liverpool Daily Post (2 Feb 2011) should be sobering reading for anyone interested in Liverpool.

One article, by Liverpool Daily Post journalist Rob Merrick – Liverpool high speed rail link plans quietly dropped to save money – says

“But The Liverpool Post can reveal that the trains will now switch to standard speed around 50 miles further south, at a point just north of Birmingham.

“The move would make journeys from Liverpool to London a full 38 minutes slower than Manchester to London.

“Last night, the department for transport (Dft) – which kept the change under wraps – was accused of a “sneaky move” that would leave Liverpool passengers in the slow lane.

“Furthermore, the economic consequences could be devastating, ministers were warned – because the new plans will hand a huge advantage to Manchester in the battle for investment and jobs.”

Maria Eagle, told the Liverpool Post:

“I will be writing to ministers, to demand an explanation for this sneaky move.

“They clearly see getting to Manchester as more important than getting to Liverpool, yet are failing to be upfront and honest about a slower journey time than in the original plans.

And Louise Ellman, chair of the Transport Select Committee said

“We must not lose out to Manchester – we must have comparable journey times to London.”

Meanwhile – in “Liverpool will be ‘collateral damage’ as Manchester becomes economic powerhouse in high-speed railway war” – Professor John Tomaney, of Newcastle University, warned

“It’s quite possible that there will be collateral damage for nearby cities – that’s almost accepted in the framework of these plans.”

These ‘new’ timings have been conformed by HS2 Ltd, who quietly tweeted a link to their “key facts” page following publication of the Liverpool Post’s articles.

From HS2’s Key Facts Journey times table

Current average journey time

2026 average journey time HS2 London to W Mids (economic case modelling)

2033 average journey time HS2 Y network (economic case modelling)

2033 fastest possible journey time for HS2 Y network stopping at Old Oak Common only

London – Manchester

2hr 08min

1hr 41min

1hr 13min

1hr 08min

London – Liverpool

2hr 10min

1hr 50min

1hr 48min

1hr 39min

We have revised our assumed service specification for the Y network (see the Economic Case for HS2: Updated appraisal of transport user benefits and wider economic benefits). Our updated journey times for the Y network are based on the most direct services available according to this service specification.

Liverpool is a great city.

At the Labour Party Conference last year, it was clear that the area round the Albert Docks was thriving and had a lot to offer. But as I travelled round the city, there were areas of social deprivation which could really benefit from projects that would make a difference now.

It makes me personally very angry that the Coalition government has claimed that HS2 will reduce the “north south divide”, but are considering putting cities which are in genuine need of good intercity transport links into the slow-lane once HS2 is built.

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One comment to “Liverpool’s “high speed rail link plans quietly dropped””
  1. Many Liverpool people have depended on government jobs in recent years. They are really getting a double whammy with recent cuts. The poor unemployed will need local transport to spread their search for new jobs. Someone I have spoken to recently said it took her 2 hours just to get across the Wirrel to central Liverpool by public transport.

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