Connecting Britain

Friday 21 February

The next vlog is on its way and like this will be on a transport theme, but in the meantime I will fill in with an old-fashioned written post. I’m told the website is now taking comments so feel free to post your thoughts. I don’t manage the comments, we don’t censor, but it is a troll free zone.

Connecting Britain is a campaign put together by Councils across the north to fight for HS2 all the way, for this to be wholly integrated with Northern Powerhouse Rail(NPR) ( a new transpennine line from Liverpool to Leeds and beyond via Manchester Airport, Manchester, and Bradford ), and for all the long promised improvements like transpennine electrification and Piccadilly platforms 15&16 required to deliver the existing northern rail franchises in full.

Notwithstanding the name, this is not about speed, but capacity and resilience. The West Coast mainline is full, at peak times the trains are full, and one small failure in any part of the system ripples through the whole lot causing increasingly regular delays and cancellations. HS2 and NPR together would massively increase passenger capacity and make inter-city services far more reliable. Taking these services off the existing network would also create more space for services to intermediate towns, for commuters, and for freight, taking millions of vehicle journeys off the roads.

Recent government announcements on this have been long-awaited but are nonetheless welcome. HS2 is going to be built in full, the northern legs of HS2 are to be integrated with NPR and retitled HSNorth, and government is looking to see if the timetable for completion can be accelerated. Some of those all important shorter term improvements also seem to be on the table as well. But there is no room for complacency and the campaign will continue until the north gets all the infrastructure investment it needs for a fairer, thriving and more sustainable future.

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