Tuesday, 3 December 2013

HS2 phase 2 and Liverpool

1 Purpose
1.1 Economy
1.1.1 The entire history of Liverpool has been driven by transport. In its original form it provided access to the Irish Sea and the sea routes that formed the backbone of mediaeval society, with access inland along the river.
1.1.2 The power that the sea gave Liverpool meant that it was one of the important nodes in the creation both the canal system and the railway system.
1.1.3 With the decline of the United Kingdoms Maritime power and the failure of the port of Liverpool to adapt to the changing modes of transport Liverpool is no longer seen as one of the places that must be at the heart of the UK communication system. This has led to the lack of provision in the plans for HS2.
1.1.4 It would be worth looking at the plans again to see if Liverpool can be placed directly on the system but also try to make sure that we gain the maximum benefit from reduced journey time and bring forward as many benefits to as early in the programme as possible. Whilst freeing up as much capacity as possible on the network for other traffic.
2 HS2
2.1 London
2.1.1 The most widely trumpeted benefit that is the selling point of HS2 is the reduced journey time to London. While it is true that this limit proposal will provide some benefit, it falls far short of a full connection. The benefits of a full connection are in addition to a further reduced journey time direct access to the European continental railway system, without changing trains at London.
2.1.2 The barrier that would stop access is that the classic compatible trains will not be of the minimum length to use the tunnel. There may be several reasons for this the most obvious is the lack of any platforms at Liverpool to handle such long trains.
2.2 Direct Access
2.2.1 For the shortest journey time a spur that followed the line of the current WCML spur to Liverpool would be the fastest, though it would require tunnelling under Runcorn and an additional bridge or tunnel crossing the Mersey, passing through the airport and connecting for a run in at Liverpool south parkway.
2.2.2 A secondary route is for a spur further north that would turn west, somewhere just south of the M62 and follow the M62 west. Another  option would be to reuse the disused Warrington and Altrincham junction railway, this would provide a connection via Warrington and then join the current WCML at Ditton junction.
2.2.3 This line crosses under the M6, though as various references give the closure of this line as 7.7.1985, with the track remaining until 1988 any blockage must have post construction and likely to be removable.
2.2.4 There would be some complication as this line is still in use to provide freight services to Fiddlers Ferry power station and the loading gauge would have to be expanded to take the larger trains, and while this would involve some expense it would not be prohibitive.
2.2.5 There are several road bridges and level crossing on the route, however the line can be worked from either Warrington or Ditton allowing the supply to Fiddlers ferry to be continued through the works.
2.2.6 From Ditton Junction to Edge Hill using the current WCML route is totally Quad rail. Modifying the current express lines to allow the passage of GC trains and for trains adapted to the different platform profile such as the Classical Compatible to use the platform, would allow full access as far as Edge Hill..
2.2.7 According to the Telegraph with regard to Double deck trains, “Network Rail has been told by the Government that all future engineering projects must take them into account.” (David Millward, 30 Dec 2005) which would mean that raising the OHE for GC Gauge would comply with this.
2.2.8 Another submission by the Liverpool Too group has identified an open country run-in to Liverpool connecting with existing lines via a tunnel under Bowring Park rejoining the original Liverpool to Manchester line in the Olive Mount cutting or joining the defunct North Liver Extension Line at Gateacre before a tunnelled connection at Broad Green to the Olive Mount cuttings.
2.2.9 These run-ins could be accessed from Ditton junction via cross country routes of at most 3 miles. This would reduce the complication in adjusting the Gauge from Ditton to Edge Hill as there are few bridges.
2.2.10 All the run-ins eventually converge on Edge Hill and while it may be possible to extend Lime Street to provide the Required 450m Long Platforms to handle European trains, it may not be simple. Providing a new station underground accessed from the Waterloo Tunnel would seem the simplest answer. If at about 90 degrees to the current platform alignment the underground section could also be accessed from Liverpool Central station. The location of the tunnel can be seen from the location of a ventilation shaft in the National Express Bus depot.
2.2.11 If, for some reason, that route is not acceptable a new tunnel could be drive from Edge Hill possible using the entrance to one of the existing tunnels preferably the short Crown Street Freight Tunnel. This would again avoid affecting infrastructure with other possible uses.
2.2.12 Depending on the costs of lowering the floor of the Waterloo Tunnel to accept a double track GC line, a single track tunnel could be run from the Crown Street Tunnel, providing access to a through station beneath Lime Street which could be exited via another Single line using the Waterloo Tunnel and emerging again at Edge Hill. The economics of this would depend up the cost of adaptation versus new bore.
2.3 Europe
2.3.1 One thing that does seem missing is a through station in London. Such a station to the north of Euston would provide direct access to the Channel Tunnel for trains from the north, without the need to change direction at London, this station could be implemented far easier than the total rebuild of Euston and could provide relief during that rebuild.
2.3.2 Such a station should be considered a necessity for HS2, it may bee that Old Oak Common proposals meet such a requirement but the blandness of the name rather than something like London Continental, seem to underplay the possible significance of the station.
2.3.3 The lack of emphasis on the European aspect I think reflects more the London centric nature of this plan, which concentrates on reduced journey times to London.
3 Alternates
3.1 Spurs
3.1.1 Rather than build the High Speed spurs directly into cities like Manchester and Birmingham an alternative would be to build the main line with the final few miles being via existing routes and at existing gauges, with perhaps a process of gradually expanding the gauge on these lines as works permit, to allow full access. In the meantime a Classic compatible that could tilt and had hydro kinetic braking could be developed and used as the main stock.
3.1.2 This would have advantages in that it could provide services on any electrified line in the UK and a large portion of European lines at greater speed. See APT2 below.
4 Standalone if Classic Compatible Only.
4.1 Link
4.1.1 The use of the Warrington and Altrincham line would still be a viable option freeing up capacity on the Crewe-Runcorn line and providing faster working further North. This would be at the cost of the reinstatement of an extra junction and reinstatement of 6 miles of disused rail bed, plus electrification from Warrington Bank Quay to Ditton Junction, together with the rebuilding of Platforms at Warrington.
4.2 Station
4.2.1 A new series of platforms could be created beneath Lime Street station accessed via the Waterloo tunnel, a further compromise would be to use the tunnel itself to provide a platform of sufficient length with connections via moving walkways to Lime Street. This would address some of the problems that will be created by the trains being shorter than the current Virgin services.
4.2.2 The continuation of the tunnel could be used for a Tram connection to Peel Holdings proposed Liverpool Waters and the Cruise Liner terminal at the Pier head.
4.2.3 Train tram system connecting Warrington Bank Quay via Liverpool Airport with Liverpool Lime Street using existing Bank Quay Low Level to Lime Street line, with an addition tram section providing final connection.
4.2.4 Extension of some London to Liverpool services to Edinburgh via Wigan and Glasgow
4.3 TransPennine Mainline
4.3.1 The Electrification of a route between Liverpool and Hull via Manchester, would allow a proper high-speed connection East to West, something which is badly needed. One problem that HS2 will create is that the already abysmal TransPennine journey times will look even worse when compared with north south times.
4.3.2 This would be another line that would befit from APT2 as would any Norwich to Bristol line.
4.4 APT 2
4.4.1 The primary difference between the APT that ran in the early 80s and the Pendolino is the braking system of the APT, this included a hydrokinetic element that allowed the train to brake within the existing block structure of the railway. The titling system used on the Pendolino was acquired from British Rail by Fiat Ferroviaria. This included the Hydro Kinetic system which they did not use.
4.4.2 The addition of such system would allow faster running on virtually all Electrified main lines, if those lines were fitted for in cab signalling, the track side infrastructure that would enable this, is being installed by Network Rail. This could be done at a fraction of the cost of HS2.
4.4.3 If this train was developed in place of the proposed classic compatible it would extend the benefits over a far greater area more at a greater rate. Using the high speed network now in place across Europe as the core and providing higher speeds on existing lines.
4.4.4 An APT2 capable of 250mph on suitable lines and 160 on traditional lines. On certain parts of the TGV network it would be faster than the TGVs due to the tilting especially in southern France.
4.4.5 It may also find usage, with a different gauge on Ireland. It would also provide further enhancement on the Greater Western lines and on any proposed Norwich Bristol rote.
4.4.6 It would be best to develop this as the primary rolling stock rather than a train dedicated to the GC loading gauge. These trains would be useful as soon as developed not dependent on HS2 at all and would bring the benefits forward as far as possible for as many as possible.
4.4.7 While in the early 80s this was state of the art today no part of it is novel, beyond the hydrokinetic brakes and the market stretched far beyond the UK and HS2.
5 Conclusion
5.1.1 It is by no means certain the Liverpool can obtain a direct connection within the current plans, whatever happens we must seek to maximise the potential gain from HST by highlighting where we have common interests with other areas not immediately served and by keeping mind that there are other objectives beyond direct access.
5.1.2 For Liverpool the important things is to secure a direct connection to the European hubs of Paris and Frankfurt, as a European city these are our peers not just London. This requires longer platforms in Liverpool and trains that can traverse the channel tunnel. It additionally requires a through station in London.
5.1.3 A train of the capabilities of the APT 2 outlined could provide that access with only a new station and no HS2, with HS2 the capabilities of the system would grow incrementally as would the benefits for Liverpool. The same would be true for large chunks of the UK and would perhaps be more attractive to EU investment as a Berne gauge High speed train. It is unlikely to be a technology that will fall into disuse before the trains have completed their full life cycle.

See also  Ditton to Lime Street and East of Lymm

HS2 disused line crossing

Illustration 1: Overview

Illustration 2: HS2 to Warrington Bank Quay

Illustration 3: Warrington Bank Quay to Ditton Junction

Illustration 4: Ditton Junction to Edge Hill

Illustration 5: Edge Hill to Lime Street

Illustration 6: Lime Street to River Mersey

Illustration 7: Airport Train Tram options

Illustration 8: Crown Street Cutting and Tunnel Portal

Illustration 9: Waterloo/Victoria Tunnel Portal
Copyright John Bradley 2013

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