Sunday, July 31, 2011

Oxenholme to Heathrow in half the time?

This week on the drive home I managed to catch the last part of Lakeland Radio's news bulletin which mentioned the possibility of travelling from Oxenholme to Heathrow in half the currently time that being in just two hours.  I thought this very strange, why Heathrow, is there a need to travel there when we have airports closer at Manchester, Liverpool, Blackpool, and don't you have to travel into London first then back out to Heathrow.

Back home I did a search of the web to see if I'd heard things right and was only able to find two media outlets in the North West reporting this story, one of them being this news report by Lakeland Radio and the other from the Blackpool Gazette.

From reading these two online reports it became clear that they were probable mostly copy n pasted from a Department for Transport press release that is trying garner support for the proposed High Speed Rail link (HS2) and seems to make out that it's be possible to travel from any North West station to Heathrow in two hours - the press release must be written by someone who thinks England doesn't pass the bounds of the M25

Does this two hour claim stack up?  I've tend to do the train journey into London from Oxenholme once or twice a year and it's possible to get down to London Euston from Oxenholme in 2 hours 45 mins, just enough time to settle down and watch a movie.  If you want to then goto Paddington then the train times allow you 1 hours to get on the tube to Paddington then it's a 15 minutes train to Heathrow.

Keeping the Euston to Heathrow times the same that would mean the journey between Oxenholme and Euston would need to be done in 45 minutes to meet the 2 hour claim - so is this possible with HS2.

Short answer is No.  Well HS2 could have a speed of around 240MPH and London is around 250 miles away so at best the journey would be over 1 hour into London.  Now the HS2 proposed will only get as far north as Birmingham although the release implies that it's go as far as Manchester as uses this as the basis for the 2 hour claim.  So lets say HS2 was to get as far as Manchester, could that help, I don't think so - all trains from Oxenholme tend to stop at other North Western stations which take up to a hour of the journey, I can't the number of stops reducing, so I can't see any time savings.

Conclusion is I think the report is pie in the sky, at best I think it would reduce journey times by upto 30 minutes but that will be lost if you have to change trains on route to London.

I wonder why more of the local media hasn't report this, is it obvious it's not a going or is it bad timing publication wise.

1 comment:

PhilT said...

Won't HS2 have an interchange near Heathrow (Reading, etc) so you wouldn't need to go to Euston and back out again ?