Monday, 21 July 2008

The 2M Group's Heathrow Express Network

The 2M Group is an anti-Heathrow expansion pressure group formed by 19 London Borough Councils, plus a few from outside London. Today they became the latest entity to publish a blueprint for a high speed line to the north.

The intriguing part about this one is the diagram on the right. They want to passengers to be able to transfer from the High Speed Line to Heathrow, and also run feeder services from Cambridge and Portsmouth. The orange bit is Airtrack, the green bit is Crossrail and the purple bits are high speed lines, but what on earth is the route in red?

I emailed them, and their response is on this Google Map (the text is theirs, the route plotting is mine, using nothing but the text included). In short: Heathrow Express tunnels to Hayes & Harlington, new build route up to the Chiltern Main Line, east to Neasden, Dudding Hill Line to Cricklewood, Midland Main Line to Radlett, new build east to Hatfield, segregated as far as is possible, and running at conventional. They reckon trains will take 20 minutes to get from Heathrow to Cricklewood, and that this is comparable to interchange between terminals.

Obviously this isn't a transport project at all and is just meant as a cudgel to beat about the government's collective head, but as the plans have been worked out in some detail by a proper engineer, they're worth a look.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

The website address should be http://www.2mgroup.org.uk/

Anonymous said...

Personally I think that the GCR/GWR joint line is the best route out of London for High Speed 2 because it is straight and under-used. A tunnel could be built from the Great Western Mainline at Old Oak Common to Euston and High Speed One, to complete the link. The Heathrow Express could be replaced by a high speed train service from Paddington or Euston via Heathrow Central, Heathrow T5 and then on extended tracks either onto the Great Western mainline or High Speed Two. The core High Speed Two line would go from London to Newcastle via Birmingham International, with branches joining the WCML and MML. (All trains could stop at Newcastle so there is no immediate need to built a high speed track through or around the town, but this could be done at a later date.) Additional sections of high speed line could then link Newcastle and Edinburgh, Edinburgh and Glasgow, and Birmingham-Manchester.

Heathrow's 'third runway' would thus be at Birmingham, and the two airports could operate as a single entity linked by a frequent 40-minute rail link.

Bods said...

Better rail/airport links are essential. Look at Charles de Gaulle in Paris - right on the TGV Line and on the high speed rail network. Straight in and bosh easy and fast connections to the rest of the country. And absolutely no need to change to a domestic plane to move from the airport to another city (unless, perhaps, you're going to the very south)

The claim is we still need a third runway because of this domestic connection travel - yet over the other side of channel, airlines cut some routes and just started selling tickets on TGV and Thalys instead. With a little thought and investment, so could the UK.

Of course it won't happen...

Mark Boulton said...

Hmmm. Interesting. I actually work in Neasden, often walk to Gladstone Park at lunchtimes and walk across the bridge that spans Dudding Hill Junction and its period-preserved signal box. I've often wondered what its operational status is. It doesn't look like live railway.

Mr Thant (Editor) said...

It is open, it's just there's very little freight traffic that needs to get between the lines it connects together. And ditto for passenger traffic.

Anonymous said...

A local rail worker says that a Heathrow connection over the Dudding Hill line, through Gladstone Park) is not a dead project. However, trains would (to avoid Thameslink trains) only reach West Hampstead, presumably at a new platform edge on the MML freight line.

Anonymous said...

while obviously its not going to happen , and the interactions with the Midlands Mainline and East Coast Main Line are extremely problematic (ie they are already at or near capacity), but anything that delivers the 2nd Welwyn viaduct & tunnel is very welcome (the key bottleneck on the ECML that no one is willing to fund to fix)

Anonymous said...

bods' point is superficially attractive, but in reality the service from Aeroport CDG2 TGV station is pretty poor. Going to Bruxelles? A direct train at 07:40 followed by a gap until 09:44, unless you also want to change at Lille Europe.

It is also worth noting that Air France are so fed up with SNCF's service that they are actively investigating ditching buying space on Thalys and instead hiring their own, dedicated services.

Yes, there is a lot of shinily expensive rail infrastructure across the channel, but remember that the citizens there pay a great deal more in tax than we do. It is disingenuous to claim this only requires "a little thought and investment".

Nancy said...

I am also going to have to disagree with Bode. The reason a third runway is needed is not for domestic flights. Heathrow is simply at capacity and we will need more runways. France, with its existing high speed network, still has more domestic flights than the UK does!

This doesn't mean that I don't think the UK needs more high speed rail, because if obviously does, but a third runway will be needed as well.

GAHoodUK said...

So, that route means at cricklewood they will have relocate the new north london waste transfer station they are about to biuld due to the need to relocateing from south of A406 it for the new brent Cross/cricklewood new township and new brent town station,,,and possible rebiuld the new station as rhe new line will have little room between the A5 and the station

perhaps they are biulding narrow platforms like shepherds bush

http://www.brentcrosscricklewood.com/pages/04indicativelayout/masterplan.html

Bods said...

Nancy - it wasn't me who said we needed the third runway due to domestic capacity - it was on the TV from one of our illustrious politicans.

And Anon, if SNCF aren't providing the service, then what does it matter if Air France have to do it instead? You're still proving the point, and now more so! An airline not running planes, but trains!

Your comment also shows why we have such a poor public transport system in this country - no one ever wants to pay for it. In other parts of the world, its recognised that tax money has to go into these things for the good of the nation. And so be it,

Richard said...

The Midland mainline - ECML link would be problematic in view of the capacity on the line, 'tis true. But that's not stopping a proposed railfreight depot at Radlett...