Rail (UK) - - High Speed 2 - Ian Al­sop, Brighton

The HS2 re­port of Novem­ber 2015 gave sound rea­sons why di­rect high-speed trains from the North to ma­jor Euro­pean cities made lit­tle eco­nomic or op­er­a­tional sense.

There is no point in du­pli­cat­ing Eurostar’s ser­vices to an in­creas­ing num­ber of Euro­pean des­ti­na­tions. Trains car­ry­ing both com­muters and pas­sen­gers who have passed through Cus­toms and Im­mi­gra­tion would be im­prac­ti­ca­ble. How­ever, there is an ex­cel­lent case for ser­vices re­quir­ing a sin­gle con­ve­nient change - this only needs an HS2-HS1 rail link. With such a link in place, a range of op­tions is avail­able:

1. HS2 trains timetabled to meet de­part­ing and ar­riv­ing Eurostar trains would ter­mi­nate at St Pan­cras in­stead of Eus­ton.

2. HS2 trains util­is­ing HS1 could pro­vide ser­vices to Strat­ford for Dock­lands, and Ebb­s­fleet In­ter­na­tional to con­nect with Eurostar and Javelin trains into Kent.

3. The pro­vi­sions of a fur­ther tun­nelled link be­tween HS2 Old Oak Com­mon sta­tion and a por­tal at Ac­ton sid­ings would al­low Great Western Main Line ser­vices to use the HS2HS1 link through to Ebb­s­fleet. The HS2 sec­tion be­tween OOC and Birm­ing­ham lim­its the num­ber of trains per hour be­tween the North and Lon­don be­cause of the long stopping dis­tance from speeds of 360kph (224mph). The sec­tion be­tween OOC and Eus­ton, with a max­i­mum speed of 230kph (143mph), of­fers sig­nif­i­cantly higher ca­pac­ity.

A tech­ni­cal note HS2-HS1 Link; the So­lu­tion was sent to HS2 in April 2016. The so­lu­tion com­prises twin shafts in the rail­way land south of Ade­laide Road, to fa­cil­i­tate the con­struc­tion of bi­fur­ca­tion cham­bers sim­i­lar to those on Cross­rail at Step­ney.

These cham­bers would be linked to an exit por­tal be­tween the North Lon­don Line and Barker Drive by twin tun­nels pass­ing un­der the North­ern Line and Fleet sewer and re­lief tun­nel.

The es­ti­mated cost us­ing HS2 rates is £300 mil­lion to £350m. The pro­vi­sions of a con­nec­tion from Old Oak Com­mon to Ac­ton sid­ings and im­proved sig­nalling on HS1 to Ebb­s­fleet would bring the to­tal cost to £1 bil­lion - a very small price to pay for a high­speed route across Lon­don.

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