Evidence for NIC’s Rail Needs Assessment
20 Miles More submitted evidence to the National Infrastructure Committee (NIC’s) Rail Needs Assessment of the North and Midlands. Our submission presented the opportunity for a comprehensive review of Phase 2b takes place with the remit to serve all the major population centres of the North West.
We believe that an alternative routing for Phase 2b that achieves this objective, and which
will be both less expensive and more environmentally sensitive, is a practical proposition.
Moreover, it will release capacity for vital freight services from the Port of Liverpool, which
is critically important for UK trade in the post-Brexit era.
We present our proposal for such a routing. We stress that it is indicative only but believe
that it addresses the aim of the NIC to deliver a modern, high speed and high capacity
rail network for the North West.
The submission is available here: 20 Miles More Response to NIC Call for Evidence
Transport for the North Backs 20 Miles More Concept
In 2014 20 Miles More showed why it made great business sense to connect the Liverpool City Region to High Speed 2, the UK’s high-speed rail spine. With just “20 Miles more” high-speed track, not only would London and Birmingham be connected to Liverpool, but the first stage of a west to east high-speed rail line linking the cities of the North would also be built.
Yesterday it emerged that Transport for the North, the official body for northern transport, is backing the 20 Miles More concept.
In 1830 Liverpool invented intercity rail, heralding the modern age. We call upon the Government to rebuild that spirit of enterprise in the North in 2030’s with 20 Miles More.
Liverpool’s Steaming Ahead
Virgin Trains recently announced record numbers of passengers travelling between London and Liverpool, with 1.77 million journeys in 2016-17 proving HS2’s projections wildly off the mark. HS2’s plans didn’t expect Liverpool to reach this target for another ten years, meaning Liverpool’s services won’t be able to take the strain.
In its 20th year of operating the West Coast Mainline, Virgin released passenger figures showing an unprecedented 11.2% annual growth for trips between the capital and Liverpool. This is spectacular growth, especially considering Liverpool has been allocated just one train per hour from London, the lowest frequency of any Core City. Manchester needed three trains per hour before it achieved what Liverpool has managed with one.
When 20 Miles More investigated HS2 passenger projections, we found that HS2 expected Liverpool to have the lowest growth of any major city. Yet when we looked at the actual passenger growth figures we found the opposite, Liverpool was growing faster than all comparators, with ten times the growth of Leeds between 2008 and 2010. 20 Miles More submitted this evidence to the Department for Transport in January 2014 in our formal consultation response as evidence that HS2 had fundamentally underestimated Liverpool and the service it required.
Plotting the trend of Liverpool’s actual growth against HS2 estimates the shortfall of expectations is stark. By 2037 the trend forecasts 3.8m passengers, but HS2 have planned for just 2.2m, that’s just over half of what could be expected.
Even with HS2’s low growth estimates, HS2 still expect Liverpool’s trains to be the most crowded on the network. Virgin’s latest announcement adds further evidence that the Department for Transport needs to work with HS2 and Transport for the North to re-plan how to serve Liverpool. This leaves no doubt that a dedicated high-speed rail link to HS2 is needed so more trains, with shorter journey times, greater reliability and more seats can serve the basic needs of Liverpool and other Core Cities. This would link not just London to Liverpool but also Birmingham’s and Manchester’s city centres and airports.
Andrew Morris, Chair of 20 Miles More
Campaigning to give Liverpool a dedicated high-speed rail link to HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail & beyond
20 Miles More Challenge HM Gov & Transport for the North to Commit to Building Liverpool’s High-Speed Link In Parallel With HS2
20 Miles More has eagerly awaited the publication of the Government’s response to the consultation into Phase 2b of HS2. Now we’ve seen it, it’s clear that the route hasn’t changed substantially – at least not in a way favorable to the Liverpool City Region.
20 Miles More has consistently supported Phase 1 of HS2 – physical work on which should start next year. We believe that the enhanced speed and capacity provided will be beneficial to the main cities of the North, including Liverpool. We also welcome the decision to bring forward Phase 2a, which will extend HS2 as far as Crewe to the benefit of the whole North West.
It is Phase 2b that has always been the most contentious as it will extend the route directly into the city centres of Manchester and Leeds but provide no enhancements to the Liverpool service. This disparity in transport investment will result in uncompetitive journey times to our city region and, as our trains will be restricted to 200m long classic compatibles rather than 400m captives, much lower capacity.
We have evidence that this decision is already harming business investment decisions in our city region.
Fortunately, there is a solution. The potential to build a new 20 mile high-speed track from the HS2 main line to serve Liverpool as the first phase of a high-speed rail route linking Liverpool to Manchester Airport, central Manchester and beyond to Leeds and Sheffield was recognised in the 20 Miles More consultation response report. More recently, it has formed the basis of the Northern Powerhouse Rail proposal – a high capacity rail route linking the main cities of the North of England.
Consequently, we are very encouraged that the Government response to the HS2 consultation recognises the benefits of providing passive provision into the design of the route to allow the Liverpool spur to be constructed. This provision will ensure that a junction can be constructed with minimum disruption to the HS2 service. We consider that this is a significant victory for the Liverpool link campaign of which 20 Miles More forms a part.
We strongly believe that the construction of a link from Liverpool city center to the main HS2 route should form the first phase of the proposed route. It will be relatively cheap to construct and achieve the double whammy of a direct Liverpool spur to HS2 and a modern, fast link between the two cities that pioneered the railway age. It will allow the expensive Manchester spur tunnel to be more fully utilised and give Liverpool fast access to the medium and long haul flights from Manchester Airport. There will be the added benefit of freeing up capacity on the existing West Coast Main Line for new inter-city services and freight traffic serving the developing Liverpool2 SuperPort and Scotland.
As significant engineering work will be required on the approaches to Manchester and at Piccadilly Station, we believe that it makes sense for Phase 1 of Northern Powerhouse Rail and Phase 2b of HS2 to proceed at the same time.
We, therefore, present this challenge to national Government, the Liverpool City Region, Merseytravel, Transport for the North and HS2 – to construct the first phase of Northern Powerhouse Rail and Phase 2b of High-speed 2 concurrently so that both open on the same date in 2033.
We have 17 years in which to plan, consult, design and build these two projects. All that is necessary is the political will to see them through.
£15bn of benefit from just 20 miles more of high-speed track to Liverpool
HS2’s latest report Changing Britain: HS2 Taking Root is released today, 31st of October 2016. It previews how HS2 will serve those places not directly on the HS2 line, such as Liverpool. In tandem, research by Merseytravel, confirms findings made by 20 Miles More in their January 2014 submission to the HS2 Phase 2 consultation:
20 miles of new high-speed train track between Liverpool and Manchester, connecting to the planned HS2 network, has the potential to deliver:
1. £15 billion GVA boost to economic growth
2. 20,000 new jobs
3. 10,000 new homes
4. 2.9 million extra visitors per year
5. 150 million less HGV freight miles a year
6. 21 minute Liverpool-Manchester journey time
7. 16 minute Liverpool-Manchester Airport journey time
8. 1 hour 14 minute Liverpool-London journey time