After a rare three day break back at home I’m on the move again with this week’s activities firmly focussed on rail investment in the existing network (that’s the stuff the anti Hs2 mob constantly call for, then ignore when it’s happening because it destroys their argument). I’m currently relaxing on Grand Central’s 1038 to Kings Cross from Halifax. For folks like me in West Yorkshire, Grand Centrals trains are a godsend as they provide fast, direct access to London, and from there – the rest of the South-East. The only problem is the lack of paths on the east coast main line to develop the service further. I’m looking forward to the day Hs2 will help solve those capacity constraints. At the moment the 2018 East Coast timetable is a bunfight with competing interests between the VTEC franchise & existing open access operators, plus Alliance Rail and First Group.
Once in London I’ll be heading out to Kent on HS1 domestic services which will allow me to make the Journey to Rochester in just 36 mins. When I lived in London & had to take the train from Charing Cross it took an absolute age in comparison. The benefits Hs1 has brought to both London & Kent are undeniable – as is the further investment going into the Kent coast line. I’m visiting Rochester because the town is getting a brand new station costing £26m. Not only will this be closer to the centre of the town by 500m – it’ll also allow the operation of 12 car trains. Rochester is only one part of the east Kent resignalling scheme – a £145m investment that also encompasses work at Rainham & Strood stations.
On Wednesday I’ll be in Staffordshire to look at an even more ambitious project, the £250m Staffordshire area improvement programme (SAIP). The irony of this scheme is that it’s building a new railway through Staffs – just as Hs2 will, but protests have been minimal. Yet there’s little difference (apart from the line speed) between the two. Work that one out…
Thursday sees me back in London to catch upon developments in the capital, plus meet up with an old friend from Irish Railways (& probably a few other chums too).
On Friday it looks like I’ll be in Derby to have a look at another new project, so there’ll be plenty of new pictures for you to have a look at this week.