Tuesday 3 March 2020

HS2 Could Use Alternative Manchester to Leeds Route

Expedition Engineering has presented revised HS2 North proposals to the National Infrastructure Commission and the Department for Transport, but so far the government has not commented or announced plans to alter the current route.

Mr Lenczner director at Expedition Engineering described HS2 North as an 'unsolicited proposal' which Expedition Engineering is 'putting it out for people to discuss'.

 Current HS2 line (left) and line proposed as part of HS2 North (right)
Under the new proposals London services would use the proposed new link under the Pennines between Manchester, Bradford and Leeds.

Alistair Lenczner, director at Expedition Engineering, said the 250mph HS2 trains would complete their journeys to Leeds "in similar times" on the new route.

In 2019, consultants at Expedition Engineering have suggested that the high-speed line should be re-routed, so trains travelling from the south arrive at Leeds via Manchester.

Their plans include a trans-Pennine high-speed rail tunnel, that could be used by HS2 trains and services running on Transport for the North's (TfN) Northern Powerhouse Rail - a proposed rail network linking the northern towns and cities which has been dubbed 'HS3'.

Under the current HS2 plans, the high-speed railway line links London and the Midlands, where it forks and one line runs to Manchester Piccadilly while the other runs to Leeds station.

Last month, the government confirmed it will go ahead with HS2, after an independent review prompted speculation about the future of the project, which could now cost the taxpayer up to £106 billion.

The first stage of Europe's largest infrastructure project, linking London and the Midlands, is now due to be completed in 2026, and the line is expected to reach Leeds at some point between 2035 and 2040.

He added: “There is no technical reason why HS2 shouldn’t reach Leeds via Manchester.

Northern politicians believe HS2 will create 850,000 jobs, boost the economy by £97 billion, relieve pressure on the UK's creaking rail network and improve productivity by enhancing the north’s connectivity with the rest of the UK.

The Woodhead tunnel after closure to all rail traffic before track lifting.
The original twin bore tunnels were to the left of the 'new' tunnel
Ironically, in the past rail tunnels did exist under the Pennines. The Woodhead line between Woodhouse Junction and Manchester was the very first line in the UK to be electrified by overhead wires in 1954 at just 1500 volts DC.

  Ex Woodhead EM1 Bo-Bo 26020 is seen here at the National Railway Museum in York. When this EM1 electric was displayed at the 1951 Festival of Britain, steam engines were still being built in their hundreds. 26020 was chosen for preservation as it was the locomotive which pulled the train on the opening of the Woodhead Tunnel.
It was withdrawn from traffic in 1977.

The 1500v DC supply soon became outdated however, as the preferred system would turn out to be the 25Kv system as used today.

It would have cost £44 million to upgrade the line so the decision was taken to close it a mere 27 years after the initial electrification and building of the new tunnel.