New high speed rail lines are essential to provide the capacity and connectivity between Britain’s major cities required to deliver environmentally sustainable economic growth over the next 100 years.
Railfuture has always maintained that HS2 must be designed to maximise the capacity of the rail network and be integrated into regional transport networks in order to maximise regional economic benefits.
Ian Brown, Railfuture’s Policy Director, explains the purpose of the HS2 Review commissioned by the new government, and Railfuture’s position.
High Speed 2Maps of the planned route and previous public consultation documents can be downloaded from the HS2 website. Railfuture’s consultation responses are here.
Although Railfuture strongly supports integrated city centre stations, we recognise that this is impossible at Birmingham New Street. Railfuture therefore strongly welcomes and supports the West Midlands Curzon Street Masterplan to integrate the HS2 Birmingham station into the city transport network, including light rail extensions.
Improvements to connectivity in the East Midlands to Nottingham and Derby are essential. This has at last been recognised by the National Infrastructure Commission's Rail Needs Assessment for the Midlands and North which has taken the first genuinely strategic view of rail, and has identified connectivity between regional cities as higher priority than connectivity with London.
We are in favour of the concept of the Crewe Hub, which will bring benefit to the North earlier, provided thatthe HS2 platforms are adjacent to the existing station for east connections, and that both north and south facing connections are available so that classic-compatible HS2 services can be extended north to Preston/Lancaster/Penrith and south to Stafford/Stoke/Macclesfield.
HS2 should link with a high-speed Northern Powerhouse Rail via an underground through station at Manchester Piccadilly, enabling through high speed services from HS2 to Leeds.
We also urge Government to press ahead in parallel with Phase 3 to connect Scotland as strongly advocated by the Scottish Government.
HS2 – HS1 linkWe agree with the judgement of the 2018 Higgins report that the previous HS1 - HS2 link proposal was suboptimal, but recommend that passive provision be made within the tunnels from Old Oak Common for an HS1 - HS2 link to better integrate HS2 with the existing network in the longer term. When HS2 has been extended to the North and Scotland, and there is an identified need to connect to HS1 to provide through services to the South East and the continent, a new east-west connection to HS1 could be built, linking Old Oak Common in west London and Stratford International in East London, possibly via Euston Cross - a double-ended underground station between Euston and Kings Cross alongside the proposed Crossrail 2 station.
To achieve a viable business case, HS1 Javelin services would be extended to Milton Keynes and Northampton and HS2 services to serve Stratford International, Ebbsfleet and Ashford so providing links to Kent and direct International Eurostar connections from HS2 to Paris and Brussels without additional security and customs and immigration locations in central London.
High Speed 1Britain's first high-speed rail line has proved a great success since opening to London St Pancras in November 2007. High Speed 1 is now used by Eurostar from France, Belgium and the Netherlands and Southeastern Javelins from Kent. Railfuture looks forward to regular direct through services to Koln and Frankfurt, and extension of domestic services to Hastings and Eastbourne.
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