Friday, 18 October 2013

A Pan Northern Railway

Over recent years many studies, produced by a variety of organisations, have put forward plans for the development of the rail network in the north of England. Those plans have a considerable amount in common but have never been unified into a single plan. I consider it likely that a plan that combined all of the various schemes would produce a benefit greater than the sum of the parts.
The majority of the Northern Hub plan is either beneficial or neutral as far as the Liverpool City region is considered, however it does concentrate on Manchester and in doing so produces problems for the overall network and does not maximise the benefits of the enhancements being made,
In the 20th Century, Great Britain has lost 1 main line and had another curtailed. This has reduced the redundancy in the network to an unsustainable level.

Pan Northern Line

Presenting the improvement of east, west links as a new mainline would allow easier comprehension. Such a route would have a primary alignment from Liverpool-Manchester-Leeds-York-Hull. With the upgrades announced in the Network Rail document it would seem that the Chat Moss line would be the best candidate for the western part of the route and would benefit from a quad line throughout as would the rest of the route.
A route is operational and would only need to be modified for the performance required for Main Line operations and possibly being converted to Quad line.
A more direct route could use the York to Beverley Line though a direction change would be required at York or the building of a new curve allowing from the south.
The East Riding of Yorkshire Council's Local Development Framework Transport Development Plan for 2006 projects a cost of £239 million to reopen the line and the Council's Core Strategy Document in 2008 maintains this commitment.
The North Wales coast mainline from Chester could also be included as a Branch, providing a fast link from the ferry port at Holy Head to the port of Hull, in addition to the connection to the port of Liverpool, that the main route would provide, providing a valuable link in Ireland's connect to the European mainland.
Such a TransPennine Main Line would connect the existing WCML and ECML and any extended Midland Mainline, providing redundancy on routes out of London. It would perhaps also provide a link to the occasionally mentioned One Wales line.
The possibility of an addition east-west Main Line from Norwich via Birmingham to Bristol and South Wales would seem reasonable

Midland Main Line

The proposal to improve the connection between Derby and Manchester, using the Manchester, Buxton, Matlock and Midland Junction Railway line could be seen as the reinstatement of the portion of the Midland Mainline route that was closed in the 1960's, though the route actually used could that of the Great Central Railway, which closed at the same time. Either way, it would be easier to explain to the public if it was presented as the extension of the Midland Mainline. Unless there are constraints imposed by declaring something a Mainline, the only reason for not phrasing the proposal this way would be the tacit admission that some of the previous closures were a mistake.


The development of a train as outlined as APT2 would enhance all of the 125mph mainlines on Great Britain, providing benefits with no additional infrastructure improvements beyond those already proposed.

More rail docs here.

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