NR want High Speed 2 to Leeds

Network Rail is starting a two-year study into the best way to bring High Speed 2 services into Leeds, Rail Minister Huw Merriman announced on July 17. 

Publishing the study’s terms of reference almost two years after first announcing the work in the Integrated Rail Plan (RAIL 945), which axed HS2’s plan for Leeds, Merriman said: “The work in the study will consider a range of options and take account of value for money, affordability, deliverability and timescales, economic development, disruption to passengers and local views and evidence.”

However, the terms of reference set no overall aim for the work. For example, it doesn’t say whether the study should concentrate on capacity, speed or wider links into the rest of the rail network for connectivity. 

The terms merely say that the study will “look at the most effective way to run HS2 trains to Leeds” and that it will “make a holistic assessment of future rail capacity needs at Leeds station”. 

They come one year after Transport Committee MPs called on Government to urgently conduct its study into bringing HS2 services to Leeds and publish a timetable by September 2022 that included a date for the final report. This led the Railway Industry Association’s Northern Chairman, Justin Moss, to comment: “It is clearly disappointing that it has taken so long for this thinking to be shared - more than two years and we respectfully urge the Government to be more open with its communications on rail schemes in the future, providing more visibility on the progress of these important investments.” 

The Department for Transport’s announcement lays out five route options for NR to examine, although DfT says that this does not limit NR’s examination. They are running via: 

■ Newark, extending HS2 Nottingham trains through Newark and the East Coast Main Line. 

■ Sheffield, extending HS2 services from Sheffield. 

■ Manchester, with the assumption that HS2 builds its Western Leg to a new station at Manchester Piccadilly and that Northern Powerhouse Rail infrastructure is in place. 

■ Erewash, upgrading and electrifying the line via Erewash and Barrow Hill (Old Road). 

The fifth option is to revisit the full Eastern Leg option as originally proposed by government in 2013, but dropped when it published its Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) in November 2021. 

Read this article in full in RAIL issue 988 here

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  • Tom Scott - 30/07/2023 07:17

    Again another pointless review into this shambolic project. The continual push towards bringing more HS2 on to existing mainline services will lead to service degradation as digital signalling is not being widely expanded. Engineering success aside, this programme is appalling.

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  • David wrottesley - 30/07/2023 22:46

    Why is NRail doing it and not DFT?

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