UK High Speed 2 needs 56km of twin tunnels 30 Jan 2013
Peter Kenyon, TunnelTalk
- A 12km twin-running bored tunnel under the city of Manchester will be the greatest construction challenge of the preferred route for Phase 2 of the UK's £33 billion High Speed 2 rail project.
- On Monday (January 28) the UK Government released details of the two alignments that make up Phase 2; between Birmingham (the end point of Phase 1 from London) and Leeds, and Birmingham and Manchester.
TunnelTalk research of nearly 100 detailed drawings of the route prepared by HS2 Birmingham-Manchester design consultants MSG (Mott Macdonald, Scott Wilson and Grimshaw) and the Birmingham-Leeds design consultant Arup, reveals a total of six twin-tube running tunnels (Fig 1). These include tunnels of:
• 710m, near Madeley;
• 3,820m, under Crewe, north of a new hub station planned for south of the city that will link Liverpool via the
existing West Coast mainline.
• 11,890m (linking the proposed new Manchester Airport Station south of the city with a new city centre station
close to its Manchester Piccadilly Station);
• 1,585m, west of Nottingham, north of a proposed new hub station that will link the East Midlands to HS2 via the
existing East Coast mainline;
• 1,740m, north of another new hub station at Meadowhall, Sheffield; and
• 1,020m near Barnsley.
- That means a total of 20.77km of twin running tunnels, plus another 1,560m of cut-and-cover tunnels, are planned for Phase 2. This is in addition to the 35.2km of twin running tunnels required for the London-Birmingham Phase 1 alignment, and brings the total bored tunnel requirement to nearly 56km, or 10% of the total 561km length.
- To give some comparison, Brazil's planned 530km high speed rail network between Rio-Sao Paolo-Campinas calls for 18% of the route to be tunnelled; Japan's 2,000km high speed network is about 30% in tunnels; the Pusan-Seoul TGV in Korea is 46% tunnelled; Taiwan's TGV is 14% in tunnels; and the French TGV network runs less than 6% in tunnels.
- Meanwhile, the HS2 direct link to Heathrow Airport has been put on hold. It had been expected that further details would be given of a route linking the new Old Oak Common Station in west London (part of Phase 1) to the terminals at Heathrow Airport, a route that is sure to require a heavy element of tunnelling. But the UK Government has chosen to defer an announcement on this until after the Davies Commission on future airport capacity reports back in Summer 2015.
- Once HS2 is completed, dedicated track will allow for speeds of up to 400km/hr, cutting journey times between London and Manchester from 128 to 68 minutes; between London and Manchester Airport from 144 minutes to 59 minutes; between London and Leeds from 132 to 82 minutes; and between London and Birmingham from 84 to 49 minutes.
- Subject to the necessary approvals necessary to get bills through Parliament, it is envisaged that Phase 1 London-Birmingham construction will begin in 2017 and become operational by 2026, with Phase 2 Birmingham-Manchester and Birmingham-Leeds opening for service in 2033.
UK appoints high speed rail Phase 2 consultants - TunnelTalk, January 2013
Extra tunnels seal UK high speed rail approval - TunnelTalk, January 2012
CH2M-HILL selected as UK High Speed 2 development partner - TunnelTalk, January 2012
UK reconsiders High Speed 2 tunnel alignment - TunnelTalk, December 2011
Department of Transport Phase 2 alignment plans
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