Manchester high speed link by 2028?



Europe High Speed Railways, V > 124 mph (200km/h),
Map by Bernese Media

(Click to see enlarged map in original context with details of licensing on Wikipedia.)

The Times reports that transport minister, Lord Adonis, believes that there is a strong case for building a £20 billion 200 mph (320 kph) high-speed line that would cut journey times from London to Manchester, one of Britain’s most congested routes, from 127 minutes to just 80.

Adonis’s comments preceed a report, being prepared for the government’s National Networks Strategy Group, on the case for a high-speed rail network in Britain. Group members include senior officials from Network Rail and the Treasury and they are due to receive the report in Q1 2009. After a trip by Adonis to Japan, The Times quotes him as saying, “Britain has a lot to learn from Japan about high-speed rail… . In Japan it has been a powerful force for economic regeneration and national pride. It could be the same in Britain.”

While there are some similarities between the South of England and Japan because of relatively small distances between conurbations Adonis need not have travelled right around the globe to have studied the role that high speed rail can play in a country’s transport infrastructure. He could have looked at high speed railways in France, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain and Italy.

Japan introduced the Shinkansen, which ran at 130 mph (210 km/h), in 1964. Today the network has grown to 989 miles (1, 583 km), connects 10 cities and carries up to 1,600 passengers per train at speeds which reach 135 mph (220 km/h) and has carried over 6 billion passengers.

France introduced the Train à Grande Vitesse in 1981. Over the next 30 years a 996 mile (1,545 km) network of high speed lines, Les lignes à grande vitesse, were constructed. Originally designed to accommodate train speeds of up to 131 mph (210 km/h), most LGVs now have a maximum speed of 200 mph (320 km/h). The LGV Est européenne, France’s latest LGV line, was designed for service trains running at 224 mph (360 km/h), a specially modified train established a world record for a wheeled train of 357.2 mph (574.8 km/h) on 3 April 2007.

With demand for rail transport outstripping the capacity of Britain’s much cut down railway network, Lord Adonis’s proposal that Britain builds its first domestic high speed line – a 200 mph, 250 mile long HS2 from London to Manchester – within the next 20 years is cautious to the nth degree.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s