It is easy to forget that the primary motivation for high-speed rail – including for HS2 –  is to add capacity to the established rail network.

Following the Government’s Integrated Rail Plan of last year, the full HS2 plan has been cut back, but a (shorter) eastern branch remains. This is designed to allow HS2 London services to reach Sheffield as previously envisaged, but it also will add Derby and Nottingham to the list of cities HS2 will serve directly.

But the eastern branch could do much more than carry these London-Derby-Sheffield and London-Nottingham trains – which might only amount to 2 trains/hour. And so Government intends to look at 5 options to take HS2 onwards to Leeds.

One of these options extends HS2’s eastern branch to Nottingham city centre and onwards to Newark where it would meet the East Coast Main Line. Our latest report sets out how extending high-speed services onwards from Nottingham towards Newark would:

  • Create a new, fast, cross country route connecting seven of the eight largest major cities outside London;
  • Relieve capacity pressure on the southern part of the East Coast Main Line and
  • Build the case for high-speed rail to be built in the East Coast Corridor in due course to serve Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh.

The report spells out how to make this happen – and how to save unnecessary capital expense in creating the eastern arm to Nottingham. You can read the full report here: East Coast High Speed

Published in RAIL Magazine Sept 22