2017 will be the year high-speed rail takes a great step forward in Britain

16 January, 2017

Whatever 2017 brings it will be a tremendous year for HS2, with Royal Assent to Phase 1; a start to preparatory works with over £9bn construction contracts to be let and 14,400 jobs committed in a boost to the UK economy; the National College for High Speed Rail opening in September; and the bill for powers to build Phase 2A submitted before Parliament in 2017 as well. Read on »

Phase 2b route largely confirmed, but questions remain

21 December, 2016

The latest command paper on HS2 saw the welcome confirmation of the majority of the Government’s preferred route for Phase 2b – the completion of the two legs of the Y-shaped route, from Crewe to Manchester to the west, and the West Midlands to Leeds in the east, with junctions onwards to the existing network.

The command paper marks a welcome shift in emphasis from new infrastructure to what can be achieved with it. The separate announcement of the ‘West Coast Partnership’ – the new franchise for the west coast to be let from 2019 – is also highly significant. Read on »

Lessons from HS1

28 November, 2016

How often do we hear that we should learn from projects already implemented? In the case of HS2 of course, HS1 comes to mind.

The patient and wise might suggest that it is still too early to be definitive.  If the Paramount leisure park proceeds at Ebbsfleet, what currently looks a pretty dismal response to HS1 in regeneration terms might look rather different (as did Stratford before and after the decision to host the hugely successful 2012 Olympics there).

One clear lesson is to hand, however. We learned this key HS1 lesson from Jeremy Candfield – who has just retired after a distinguished career at DfT, then at Union Railways working on what became HS1, and then as head of the Railway Industry Association (RIA). When we asked Read on »

Greengauge 21 heralds a further step forward by HS2 Ltd

9 November, 2016

Published on 31st October, Changing Britain: HS2 Taking Root shows the imaginative steps being taken by nine cities and towns across the north of England to ensure that they can realise the full benefits of HS2.

The cities concerned lie beyond the new HS2 infrastructure but HS2 services will be extended over the existing rail network to reach them. The report spells out the transformed connections in terms of improved journey times to Birmingham and London these places will enjoy. Read on »

Greengauge 21 says that expanding Heathrow must be accompanied by an expanded rail network west of London

27 October, 2016

Greengauge 21 welcomes the ending of uncertainty on Government’s preference for where additional runway capacity should be located. In opting for the third runway at Heathrow, it has stressed how this airport is better placed than Gatwick to deliver benefits across the nation as a whole, and not just for the south east. This is true, but not by virtue of the plan to use the additional capacity created to operate more domestic air services – these could just as easily be added to an expanded Gatwick.

What’s been missed is the unique opportunity at Heathrow to use existing and planned rail links to provide a wide set of direct rail services to the airport from across a much wider catchment.

We know from the success of direct rail services to Manchester Airport (from widespread locations such as Scotland, the Northeast, Yorkshire, the whole of the North West – and soon from North Wales too) that these services have huge appeal and are a commercial success. And looking at Heathrow’s international competitors we also see the success of direct rail services (including high-speed rail) from widespread locations to world hub airports such as Amsterdam’s Schiphol, CDG Paris and Frankfurt. Read on »