Welcome to Manchester Confidential
Reset Password
The Confidential websites will be undergoing routine updates. This may cause the sites to go offline. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience.

You are here: Manchester ConfidentialNews.

HS3 Before HS2: Parties Should Get North On Track First

Jonathan Schofield on how George Osborne has allowed Labour in

Written by . Published on June 24th 2014.


HS3 Before HS2: Parties Should Get North On Track First
 

ON MONDAY George Osborne, Tatton MP and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, outlined an ambition to create a northern 'supercity' to rival London as a global hub by building HS3, a high speed rail link between Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool.*

By making the North the priority it would show that the commitment to bridging the North/South divide is real. You have to admire the cunning of Osborne in putting the Conservatives ahead of Labour on this.

He was speaking, appropriately enough, at the Museum of Science & Industry, the site in Manchester of the world's oldest passenger railway station. This dates from 1830 and was the eastern terminus of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway - the first inter-city line.

The Chancellor described how he wanted to channel long-term investment into links between northern English cities, which have a combined population of nine million, similar to that of London.

"We need a Northern powerhouse," he said. "Not one city, but a collection of cities - sufficiently close to each other that combined they can take on the world."

Excellent. Lovely. Sadly there was no mention of budget or timescales. 

Cynics have said the HS3 idea is beguiling, foxy almost, but is calculated to gain support for the Conservatives before next year's election. 

Who cares?

What the Chancellor has done is opened the idea up to other parties. It's up to them to seize this opportunity.

Manchester to Leeds line. Can we get this beyond 30mph please? We are going downhill after all.Manchester to Leeds line. Can we get this beyond 30mph please? We are going downhill after all.

Labour, an opposition which seems mealy-mouthed and low on ambition, obsessed with their 'weird' leader and equally obsessed with emptily mouthing the words 'social justice', could be on to something here.

They could grab this 'big idea' and run with it. Leap aboard so to speak.

They've cravenly dithered over committing to HS2, so maybe this is the party's chance to chuck their weight behind HS3 as the next high speed step.

Ed Miliband could announce that Labour want to reverse the timetable and put HS2 behind giving Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds the fast link and all the prestige and opportunities that would bring. Of course this would entail making a forthright and clear policy decision which Ed seems to generally avoid. 

The advantages are clear.

By making the North the priority it would show that the commitment to bridging the North/South divide is real. You have to admire the cunning of Osborne in putting the Conservatives ahead of Labour on this.

Labour would also gain brownie points in three traditional metropolitan heartlands linking, as Osborne stated, nine million people. It would be good politics for them.

Another element would be to silence the whinging of NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard) in the rural bits between London and Birmingham and Birmingham and Manchester. That could be left for another day. 

A route from Liverpool to Leeds via Manchester would almost certainly be less controversial and more likely to be universally acclaimed - aside from Green cranks and a few Northern NIMBYs.

The engineering needed to cross the Pennines would mean building long-lasting landmarks associated with a transport system pioneered here - maybe something as beautiful as Norman Foster's Millau viaduct in France. Dreams maybe but who knows?

 Millau viaduct

 

Millau viaduct

 

The works would certainly employ thousands. 

Then after HS3 we could link Manchester with Birmingham and then Birmingham to London. 

In fact, maybe the Conservatives should continue taking the initiative and suggest substituting HS3 for HS2 as the first stage.

Where the national Labour Party sits in this debate is hard to fathom at present. We know the local authority administrations up here in Northland are behind high speed links, but it'd be nice to know where Ed Miliband stood. 

He's got an opportunity here to make a grand gesture. He needs one. 

*Oddly George Osborne mentioned linking Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool on Monday morning on Radio 4 but apparently concentrated on the Manchester-Leeds connection at the MOSI speech. The latter must have been an oversight as the inclusion of Liverpool would be vital to any such line. 

Main illustration at the top of the page from Paul Rogers at Paul Rogers Studio. Click here for the link to the website.

You can follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter @JonathSchofield or connect via Google+ 

Like what you see? Enter your email to sign up for our newsletters which are chock-a-block with more great reviews, news, deals and savings.

51 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousJune 24th 2014.

I really hope HS2 & HS3 get built. The sooner the better. We can't turn away this type of investment. For far too long all the big infrastructure projects have been in London and the south east. What Manchester gets in one year in terms of investment in infrastructure, London get the same amount in 2 days. That's not right of fair.

5 Responses: Reply To This...
espoirJune 25th 2014.

I really hope they do not go ahead especially run by Virgin for £1000 per ticket. I'd prefer the money was spent on Manchester instead such as by giving us a great city with world class attractions such as a modern art gallery, new parks, more tree lined roads instead of lined by industrial units, a botanic garden,,, and more electric transport. We hardly have a single coherent cycle lane and we won't ever get them if we spend £40bn on HS2. We need to make Manchester a great place to be, with world class attractions. People judge this city by what they see when they get here.

AnonymousJune 25th 2014.

Yes Espoir.. there are clear world business benefits to Manchester of better cycle lanes....

Teras KaviJune 25th 2014.

Are you the same person who always argues that a modern art gallery should be built in Manchester before anything else? Change the frigging record will you, you've clearly no idea how the real world works.

AnonymousJune 26th 2014.

@Anon [2nd one] Spoken like a true car owner/driver.

AnonymousJune 26th 2014.

Yeah, because if they don't build HS2, the money is definitely going to be spent on a modern art gallery and a botanic garden. Get real.

AnonymousJune 24th 2014.

I think we all know that Miliband won't get behind the idea, purely because it's been proposed by the Tories.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 24th 2014.

Well more fool him. If the Tories are serious about getting this built and helping close the north south divide, then a lot of the 9m people in the regions who will be benefit from this will hopefully vote accordingly.

AnonymousJune 24th 2014.

I do the Manchester to Leeds rail commute every weekday and it is painfully slow. I'm all for HS3 and would happily vote for the Tories if there is a clear commitment to this.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 24th 2014.

Me too. And my partner has to take 3,4,5 trains to to to various places in southern England so I'm all for HS2 as well. I just hope the sheep that blindly follow and vote labour regardless of what they do are big enough to vote for the party that's investing billions in upgrading the Victorian train services we have.

AnonymousJune 24th 2014.

Seems that Labour governments are very reluctant to invest in transport infrastructure projects "up Norf" Jonathan? Remember how all our road schemes were immediately cancelled by Prescott back in 1997? (Prescott & Strang even tried to scupper the completion of the M60, which was already under construction for heavens sake.) Given the chance, Prescott would have scuppered Manchester's 2nd runway back then too I believe. Then there was Alistair Darling - remember how he fought so hard to stop Metrolink expansion? And now we have Ed Balls to look forward to. He'll probably scrap HS2 and divert funding into Crossrail 2, eh?

AnonymousJune 24th 2014.

How fast do you need to get to these places? Even if they're in place, it'll never be fast enough. I'd wait for teleportation to become real. It'll be much cheaper than this.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 24th 2014.

HS2 isn't about speed it's about capacity.

AnonymousJune 24th 2014.

I commute. The trains are regular and never full unless there's a cancellation.

AnonymousJune 24th 2014.

Well if you are still commuting in 20/30 years time you'll be very happy we bit the bullet and pressed ahead with this scheme. HS2 has to be built despite what the nimbys say.

Ray O'donnellJune 24th 2014.

£50 billion cost and disruption, to save 20 minutes on the London to Birmingham HS2 line when at present peak periods only 62% full while the £50 Billion could be spentconnecting the northern oil/gas/wind farms/airports/shipping ports/Edinburgh/Glasgow/Newcastle/Manchester/Liverpool etc are not connected. On ya bike Boris. Build another cross London rail, airport extension, bridge, sewer, or M26/7/8.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 24th 2014.

It's not about speed. Capacity is what it's about. 62% full now, but what's it going to be in 10 years, 20 years? HS2 can carry what a 12 lane motorway can carry yet it takes up nowhere near that much space. And if and when it's full it has the option to run double decker trains. It's much needed and everyone should be pushing for it. No one is questioning what crossrail costs are they?

Duke FameJune 24th 2014.

I don't think there is an appetite for linking Edinburgh until after the referendum. I like HS3, with the ECML improvements and Leeds to York electrification, it should give a high speed link from Newcastle to Manchester

John CameronJune 24th 2014.

UK long distance travel of all kinds has plateaued, it's pretty obvious why. Technology, in case the Govt. has conveniently forgotten. HS2 is old technology and not due to be completed until 2033, in 19 years' time. Short distance commuting is a real problem, now. HS3 should be welcomed, and HS2 scrapped.

5 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 24th 2014.

Well when I'm at Piccadilly picking up friends and family the trains from London look pretty packed to me? And how's freight going to be transported in the future? HS2 is perfect for that and will take thousands of vehicles off the road.

AnonymousJune 24th 2014.

All those disused railway lines and the Woodhead tunnel! Those thousands of vehicles you mention shouldn't have been on the road in the first place.

AnonymousJune 24th 2014.

We shouldn't have had decades where 80% of the countries infrastructure budget was spent in the south east. We shouldn't have got to the point where more is spent on cycling in London than is spent on the entire budget that Greater Manchester has for public transport. Why anyone in northern England would spurn the huge investment and the first south/north railway line in over 100 years is baffling? Get it built.

AnonymousJune 24th 2014.

There are already several north-south railway lines in place. Upgrade the lines and the rolling stock. Londoners will never be in a rush to travel to Manchester. They have everything they need down there.

AnonymousJune 24th 2014.

Total non starter. We'd have to knock down and rebuild every bridge and tunnel along the route to allow bigger trains. The number of people plus the amount of freight using this in 20/30 years time justifies it being built.

Poster BoyJune 24th 2014.

Credit to Osborne for adding to the UK growth debate with his 'Northern Powerhouse' concept but the speech is just part of the drip feed in advance of the recommendations of 'his' City Growth Commission later in the year. Of greater interest is the response of the leaders of the northern councils. The leaders should grasp the hand that is being extended to them. Having 'lost' the North, Osborne may be a supporter of greater devolved powers and government as envisaged by the English Core Cities. It may all be to play for in the next Parliament, providing the Conservatives get in...

Duke FameJune 24th 2014.

i think you are right, the economy has improved and Labour don;t have a coherent message on anything with the Ed's relationship looking like their old master's with Blair. The tories should be able to press on with this with Lib dems still in coalition.

National CommuterJune 24th 2014.

I travel around the country regularly with work, by train where possible and by road where not. When I go to London, I drive to Man Picc, 3 miles away yet thanks to the absurd road layout on Chapel Street, that takes me 40 mins - my train to London only takes 2 hours! When travelling to Leeds I have a choice of either risking the M62 (1-2 hours to drive 50 miles) or the 40 min journey to the station, an hour on the train then 20 mins to the office at the other end. To get to Newcastle office it's the same 40 min drive then almost 3 hours on the train. We don't need better speed times to London, they're fantastic already (though we need to bring the £150 single peak fare down). We need to look at reversing our daft single lane traffic flows to the city centre, and improving train times to all our Northern cities.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Teras KaviJune 24th 2014.

Have you tried NOT driving down Chapel Street to get to the other side of town? That was the point of the 'ridiculous layout', after all. Other roads are available.

AnonymousJune 24th 2014.

Try the Mancunian Way to get to the train station.

Duke FameJune 24th 2014.

National T makes a very good point, If thre is to be a Northern Hub, the northern cities need to access it. 3 hours to Newcastle is daft when London can be reached from Manchester in 2 hours and from Newcastle in under 3.

National CommuterJune 24th 2014.

Other roads are just a gridlocked, esp getting onto the Mancunian Way, have found that can take much longer. TK, one lane on a major route into the city for those of us living in Salford (and paying our council tax) is ridiculous. Just trying to get to work....

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 25th 2014.

There's these things with wheels, that actually can hold a 100 people, called a bus. Much better use of road space they are

AnonymousJune 26th 2014.

@National Commuter You drive into the city from Salford? How fancy.

rinkydinkJune 24th 2014.

How anyone can be against HS2 or HS3 is beyond me. Have you seen how much is spent on infrastructure in London? 10 billion on Crossrail alone - just to get from East to West London quicker. 10 billion! And Crossrail 2 is on the cards to link North and South London at no doubt a similar cost. So that's 20 billion on a few underground trains to get people around London more quickly. Just London. So how can you complain at a 40 billion price tag on a system running for hundreds of miles linking different cities? If the money is on the table it should be grabbed with both hands - this never happens

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 25th 2014.

I know what you mean RinkyDink. There was no mass hysteria over the cost of Crossrail, HS1 the Olympics, the Channel Tunnel or Wembley. Numerous National media outlets are trying to rubbish this scheme and are quoting ridiculous sums of money all for the sake of getting to Birmingham 20 minutes quicker. Non of this rubbish came out on any of the schemes that took place in and around London. It was all needed, whatever it cost was value for money, just so southerners could get the train to France in stead of flying. Funny that! It's high time 80% of the countries infrastructure budget was spent outside of the South East in stead of in it.

Ghostly TomJune 24th 2014.

If it does get built it should start at Liverpool and end at Hull. Mr Osborne indicated it could go on the exiting route but might that be too bendy in places for fast trains? I'm not a civil engineer though so I may be wrong. Good to hear a local MP actually supporting his part of the country.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
rinkydinkJune 24th 2014.

...in the run up to an election

Ghostly TomJune 25th 2014.

He's the only one I've heard of in a run up to an election, you know of anymore?

Geoffrey EntwistleJune 25th 2014.

Another railway scheme of great economic benefit to the North would be to create a freight route from the enlarged Liverpool docks to Manchester, through a re-opened Woodhead tunnel, Sheffield and the South, connecting with the Channel Tunnel. Liverpool would then be in a position to take some of the traffic from Rotterdam.

Geoffrey EntwistleJune 25th 2014.

I don't know why northern political and business leaders haven't picked up this proposal.

AnonymousJune 25th 2014.

Could there be a problem cutting a huge swathe through a national park or a mega tunnel to rival that under the channel? More pertinent may be the granting of greater autonomy, giving London city state status and improving digital communication between the centres. Plus Manchester airport needs to be upgraded to compete with Heathrow.

AnonymousJune 25th 2014.

Any company that's future savvy should be investing in comm's, not requiring its staff to travel to other cities or countries for business purposes. Businesses should be actively looking to employ local staff and investing in them.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 25th 2014.

And how do we move freight all around the country in the next 20/30 years? You can't email it, so do we clog up the roads with thousands of articulated vehicles? HS2 is the equivalent of a 12 lane motorway. Huge capacity to move freight and people quickly. This will be used for the next 100 years and has the capacity to cope for that amount of time too.

AnonymousJune 25th 2014.

I was talking about people, not freight. Either way it'll all in in tears for the unborn children of this world.

AnonymousJune 25th 2014.

Will someone please tell me who these people are that will require a much faster rail connection between Manchester and London? Commuters, business people or tourists?

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 25th 2014.

Capacity. Capacity. Capacity. Capacity. Capacity. Capacity. Capacity. Capacity.

AnonymousJune 25th 2014.

That didn't answer the question!

MichaelJune 27th 2014.

Very good Jonathan. I thought it was quite a remarkable speech, but not about "HS3" but challenging cities to have a bit of vision and build on what they've achieved. Here's my blog on it, if you don't mind. www.downtowninbusiness.com/…/…

Kevin PeelJune 27th 2014.

There are plenty of us in the Labour Party making exactly these sorts of arguments loudly and often so it's great to see those outside helping the case. I'd like to see funding committed now to HS2+, taking the line through the North West and North East and into Scotland, HS3 from Liverpool through to Hull and HS4 from Manchester up to Newcastle. Then Manchester would truly be right at the centre of an expansive high speed network, putting us under 2 hours from virtually every major city in the UK. Furthermore, the economic growth and jobs this would stimulate would provide a massive boost to the ailing economy.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Ghostly TomJune 27th 2014.

Agreed with all except for the 'ailing economy' bit. The UK is doing well compared with many places and Manchester is doing better than most atm. Please don't talk down the strength of the local economy. Many down south think we are an economic backwater on our last legs without local politicians talking us down.

espoirJuly 4th 2014.

the one thing that could really bring a benefit and prestige would be through trains to Paris, this has been ruled out without any public discussion whatsoever, so much for democracy, it's nice to be asked. Plans do exist for the London link and have been costed. The reason: this is a londoncentric project with all roads leading to London. They don't see the need for us with our flat caps and whippets to go to Paris and connect to the European rail network. n'est pas? So I really hope HS2 gets stopped, a vast amount of money just to go to London, it's ridiculous and only MP's will be able to afford the Virgin tickets anyway. I hope the railways get nationalised.

To post this comment, you need to login.Please complete your login information.
OR CREATE AN ACCOUNT HERE..
Or you can login using Facebook.

Latest Rants

Anonymous

Repeating,without any evidence the same point that socialism = public services is hardly…

 Read more
Anonymous

You absolutely right,I hate all these bloody nimbys stopping development and progress.Of course if…

 Read more
Anonymous

Manchester's size and climate isn't dissimilar to Rotterdam or Dusseldorf but the city is held back…

 Read more
Anonymous

Straying off the point again David, which is that investing in public services is socialist but as…

 Read more

Explore The Site

© Mark Garner t/a Confidential Direct 2017

Privacy | Careers | Website by: Planet Code | SEO by The eWord