Additional direct trains between Lincoln and London made possible by extra capacity released by HS2

Additional direct trains between Lincoln and London made possible by extra capacity released by HS2

Additional direct trains between Lincoln and London made possible by extra capacity released by HS2, research by Midlands Connect reveals

HS2 will free up enough space on the existing railway network to make additional direct services between Lincoln and London Kings Cross possible (bringing it up to an hourly service), technical analysis by Sub-national Transport Body Midlands Connect has revealed for the first time. Currently, just one Lincoln-London service a day is direct (to and from London Kings Cross), with the remainder generally requiring a change at Newark North Gate. This will be increased to one direct service every two hours later in 2019, but only HS2 would allow this to be increased further in the future, to an hourly service. HS2 will transfer long distance journeys between London, Yorkshire and Scotland from the East Coast Main Line to the new high speed network, making more frequent services possible from stations like Lincoln that aren’t currently served. Map of the UK showing train connectivity Grantham also stands to benefit from the extra capacity provided by HS2, through more frequent services to and from Hull, Selby, Lincoln and Nottingham, and crowding relief on services to and from Leeds and London. In total, 13 locations in the East Midlands and 73 nationwide could benefit from HS2’s released capacity, including 54 that won’t be served by HS2 trains. Released capacity works by moving long-distance traffic from our current rail infrastructure onto the new high speed line, creating the extra room needed to improve local and inter-regional services. HS2 trains will also be able to carry 576,000 people per day, reducing overcrowding on the existing network. The benefits of HS2 released capacity have been calculated using the projections outlined in local rail strategies, existing rail models and the Midlands Connect technical programme. It is operationally possible to achieve every single one of the benefits outlined in the analysis through changes to timetabling and services post-HS2. Over the past twelve years, the number of journeys undertaken by train in the UK has more than doubled[1]. Government-sponsored studies suggest alternative upgrades on existing lines such as the East Coast Main Line would require 14 years’ worth of disruptive weekend closures[2], and would prove hugely expensive due to the proximity of existing settlements. HS2 underpins transformational regional rail plans Midlands Engine Rail and Northern Powerhouse Rail, both of which require the released capacity and new infrastructure it provides. Neither would be wholly technically or financially feasible should HS2 be cancelled. Sir John Peace, chair of Midlands Connect and Midlands Engine said: “The benefits of HS2 will be felt by millions of people across the UK, including passengers that never set foot on a high speed train. Regional and local rail services are in desperate need of improvement and it’s time we face facts, without the space and flexibility created by HS2, the transformational change needed is not possible. “It is the capacity released by the line – not just its speed – that will give the whole network a desperately needed overhaul. We haven’t built a new inter-city railway north of London in a century – piecemeal interventions will do no more than paper over the cracks of an overloaded, tired network. Left unchanged, these deficiencies will stifle growth and prosperity for decades to come. Our message to Government is clear; commit to HS2, commit to the regions you serve and give us a transport network fit for the future.” Scott Knowles, Chief Executive at East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire), said: “This analysis from Midlands Connect is welcomed and highlights HS2’s massive potential to unlock significant transformational opportunities for our region and the country as a whole. “Midlands Connect’s findings reinforce our key message – that this much-needed project isn’t just about faster trains, it’s about the positive, tangible economic benefits it will provide for our cities, towns and villages and those who inhabit them. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity and one which must be realised.” Tom Thackray, CBI Director of Infrastructure, said: “The business message on HS2 is clear-cut - back it, build it, benefit from it. The first phase of HS2 has already led to record levels of investment in the West Midlands and created thousands of jobs. “We firmly believe committing to HS2 in full will spur further investment, boost productivity and in turn bring huge benefits to the whole country.” Midlands Connect’s HS2 released capacity research forms part of its submission to the HS2 Oakervee Review, submitted last week. [1] [2]

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