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Lord Berkeley – Briefing paper on alternatives to HS2 Quick wins and less intrusive construction! ‘Shovel ready’ HS2 claims to be ‘shovel ready’ but there are severe doubts about the time it will take to resolve the main civils contracts which, at present, appear to be heading towards a ‘cost plus’ arrangement, putting most risk on Government. In addition, there appears to be no design and construction solutions to either London Euston or Old Oak Common stations within or without any budget, so the project is devoid of a southern terminus and therefore not ‘shovel ready’. This paper expands on the Dissenting Report issued by Lord Berkeley on 5 January 2020. Financially HS2 is not incremental and self-funding HS2 is neither shovel ready nor is it funding-friendly, it will require very large sums to be spend before the taxpayer can expect any financial return. The smaller alternative schemes can provide ‘quick wins’ and a far quicker return on capital invested. Quick wins can deliver more quickly on the alternatives! If HS2 were cancelled and a commitment made to upgrade existing regional lines instead, what could be done to bring passengers better, more frequent and more reliable services in the next five years, the start of a 20-year rolling programme? Many of these are delayed due to lack of funding. The Northern Powerhouse and Midland Connect areas, centred on Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield have the greatest percentage of services with standing passengers in rush hours1, so the need for urgent improvements is clear. Unfortunately, HS2 does little for these commuters and will take 10 or 20 years to be delivered. Quick wins as alternatives to HS2 could include: Quick wins – to be complete or substantially started within 5 years -


Rolling programme of electrification, starting with the schemes ‘paused’ by ministers in the last five years. This would also allow the reuse of the considerable amount of relatively modern electric stock currently stored and out of use. Order new rolling stock for longer trains, to benefit from electrification etc. Build longer platforms where possible – otherwise use trains with selective door opening.

Midlands: -


Wolverhampton to Walsall – 5 new stations and services by 2022. Rebuild Kings Norton Station with more platforms for more frequent services.




Camp Hill chords to allow extra trains into Moor Street Station from Kings Norton and Water Orton; new tracks to Moor Street and Sutton Park lines, making Moor Street/Snow Hill a second through rail route parallel to Birmingham New Street. Upgrade Leamington station and improve NUCKLE (Nuneaton-Coventry-KenilworthLeamington to allow more frequent trains. 4-track Dorridge to Moor St to allow more frequent trains and fast to overtake slow ones. Start construction of new tram network in the Birmingham area to remove any possibility of performance reductions on the Cross Country lines via Landor Street and Kings Norton. Start electrification and upgrade of Chiltern Mainline (CML) to create an alternative faster route between Birmingham and London. This would make use of the areas cleared by HS2 Ltd at London Euston for new platforms connected to the Chiltern line via tunnels and Old Oak Common to complete a new route to the West Midlands; thereby replacing the need for HS2 Phase One.

Yorkshire/Cross Country -

Leeds four-track to Mickelfield towards York. Lengthen platforms at Leeds station. Electrification – rolling programme York-Leeds, Midland Mainline (MML), Cross Country Leeds-Sheffield- Derby then Birmingham and on to Bristol. Electrify Didcot to Aynho Junction to link up with the new route to the West Midlands.

North West: -

Manchester Transpennine - Standedge to Leeds: Start work on capacity improvements. 4-track Manchester Piccadilly station through lines, which currently awaits DfT Transport and Works Act Approval and unlock the worst capacity bottleneck in the area. Turnback sidings east of Manchester Victoria to allow trains to wait and turn round clear lf platforms. Grade separation at Ordsall Lane in Manchester to allow more frequent trains. Extra platform at the existing Manchester Airport Station to increase capacity. Four-track loops and line speed improvements on Hope Valley line (Manchester Sheffield). line for more frequent and faster service Manchester to Sheffield. Upgrade the Copy Pit and Calder Valley line for W12 gauge freight use. Prepare for reopening Buxton to Matlock line to free up capacity on Hope Valley and provide new passenger service.

Disruption to rail and road during construction Disruption to the major and local road networks would be minimal compared to HS2, since the above works would be carried out within the existing railway corridor with limited need for excavation and enabling material transportation by rail rather than by road as HS2 would require. Disruption to rail services would therefore be similar to Network Rail’s current arrangements.

Disruption to road and rail users during HS2 construction Contrary to what has been claimed in recent days, the construction of HS2 will result in disruption to the existing railway network, and considerably more disruption to the motorway, major and local road network than upgrading existing lines. HS2 has quoted 223 weekend possessions and no allowance for the very major works at Euston, OOC and Manchester Piccadilly. More realistic figures for rail and road delays etc during construction would be:

Disruption to classic railway from HS2 Phases 1, 2a and 2b (West) HS2 interacts with the existing classic railway in 52 locations, with the WCML subject to works at 12 locations alone between Euston and Manchester/Golborne. It is therefore incorrect to say that it is only the alternative schemes that will lead to disruption on the railways. The existing city stations will also be subject to major impacts: For example • • •

Euston station: Capacity reduced to 50% of trains 24/7 for 5 years which is what happened between 1959 and 1966 when it was last rebuilt. Old Oak Common: Great Western Mainline (GWML) reduced to 50% of trains 24/7 for 2 to 3 years. Manchester Piccadilly: Reduced to 50% of trains 24/7 over 2 years.

Phase 1, 2a and 2b West Coast Main Line (WCML) and other lines between OOC, Preston and Manchester Piccadilly: 530 full weekend possessions; over 15 years. Disruption on motorways: These generally mean lane closures down to two lanes per direction, and/or diversion of lanes or complete motorways. They are usually done for long periods on a 24/7 basis. Phase One • •

M25 between J16 and 17. M42 in 4 locations east of Birmingham, i.e. J6-7 and 3 points at the J8 interchange with the M6. • M6 in 2 locations between J4-5 and J5-6. Since all seven locations are in very close proximity and HS2 also will badly affect the alternatives in this location, i.e. A452 and A45 between M42 J6 and J7, severe disruption is inevitable. It is also important to note that M42 J6 is the main junction to serve Birmingham Airport and the National Exhibition Centre. Phase 2a • • •

M6 between J14 and J15 at the M6 Meaford viaduct In addition, HS2 is proposing to build a new junction with the M6 just south of the M6 Meaford viaduct Although HS2 will be using many motorway interchanges for its construction traffic, it has grossly underestimated its construction traffic with inevitable very dire consequences for M6 J15 at Stoke-on-Trent South.

Phase 2b (West) • •

M6 is crossed between J19 and 20. M56 is crossed in 3 locations, i.e. between J8 and J9 for the Golborne link, J7 and J6 and then at J3A, which is a very busy interchange with the A560/A5103 and where the M56 effectively connects to both directions of the M60 Manchester orbital motorway. • M60 between J4 and J5 near to J3A of the M56 • M62 (Golborne link section) between J11 and J12 Phase 2b therefore crosses six sections of motorway, with the M56 around Manchester Airport most adversely affected. Since the HS2 Manchester Airport station is located next to the M56 at the main airport access (M6 J5), it is inevitable that access to Manchester Airport will be significantly affected during construction.

Phase 2b (East) For Rail 500 weekend possession on MML and approaches to Sheffield and Leeds plus 2 years disruption to and around Sheffield station. For Road •

• •

M42 between the M6 Toll at J9 and the M1 J23a will be crossed twice between J9 and J10 and again between J10 and 11.With the M42 to be severely impacted immediately south of this location during Phase One, the impacts on commuters and other users of this very important link motorway between Birmingham and the East Midlands will be significant and last for many years. M1: HS2 runs parallel to the M1 from its junction with the M42 at J23a and 24 and then from just north of J25 to J32, where it has its junction with the M18. HS2 also crosses the M1 twice between J25 and 26, twice between J28 and J29 and once each between J29 and 29a and J29 and J30, before crossing again at the J32 interchange with the M18. HS2 then crosses the M1 link between J44 and J45 to the west of Leeds. M18 J32 also involves the HS2 line crossing the northern connection between the M18 and the M1 and running parallel to the M18 through to J1. M62 is crossed between J30 and J31 southeast of Leeds.

At this time there is no HS2 assessment of the impacts for Phase 2b or detailed drawings. However, given experience elsewhere and the number of crossing points on the M1, especially between Sheffield and Nottingham, the impacts on M1 commuters and users between J32 and 25 (a section of approximately 51 km or 32 miles) will be considerable. Delays on other roads has not been quantified, but will be significant, particularly when millions of tonnes of construction materials are being transported. For example, HS2 has serious problems with supplying granular fill to its sites in Phase 2a and is claiming that sand and gravel from six borrow pits will solve the shortfall, when it will not. It is also claiming it can move bulk material to/from its major cuttings and borrow pits using its railway corridor, but impenetrable barriers lie along the route that will prevent this from being achieved. Because of this, it is estimated that HS2 is understating the number of HGV movements for the construction of Phase 2a by between 700,000 and 1.47 million.

Tony Berkeley House of Lords berkeleyafg@parliament.uk 07710341542 28 January 2020

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Lord Berkeley – Briefing paper on alternatives to HS2 - Quick wins and less intrusive construction!  

Lord Berkeley's views on alternatives to HS2, 28 January 2020

Lord Berkeley – Briefing paper on alternatives to HS2 - Quick wins and less intrusive construction!  

Lord Berkeley's views on alternatives to HS2, 28 January 2020