Leeds Bradford Airport may be affected by high-speed rail

11.8.2010 (Book FHR)

Flights from Leeds Bradford Airport and Manchester Airport are likely to be affected if a high-speed rail link is introduced, according
to the transport secretary Phillip Hammond.

Leeds Bradford Airport may be affected by high-speed rail

In a question and answer session with the transport committee Mr Hammond said
that trains that travel at 250 mph are likely to reduce the need for domestic

He added that a connection through the Channel Tunnel could also reduce the number
of services to Amsterdam from regional airports.

According to the secretary, such changes would have a transformational effect
on the UK economy.

Tony Hallwood, commercial director of Leeds Bradford Airport, told the Yorkshire
Post that the comments do not change the airport’s plans for development.

“We will expect to grow our business, grow our passenger numbers and our choice
of airlines. There is a whole range of domestic flights where Leeds, in the centre
of the UK, becomes a mini-hub,” he added.

Last month Ryanair said that Leeds Bradford Airport was likely to be one of only
two hubs not affected by the reduced capacity on its UK winter flight schedule.    

link to article



see also

HC 359 The Secretary of State’s priorities for transport


House of COMMONS


(relevant excerpts …)


Q35 Iain Stewart: You have stated your support for the principle of High Speed 2 linking London,
the Midlands, the north east, the North West and eventually to Scotland. What
I am not clear about is how flexible your view is on the route and some of the
broad considerations that HS2 looked at. For example, the possibility of intermediate
stops. I know the whole concept of HS2 is a fast, major city to major city. If
you look at High Speed 1 and some of the French TGV routes, they do have provisions
for intermediate stops and the stations are modelled in a way that some trains
can thunder straight through while others pull off and stop. In reconsidering
HS2, are you going to re-examine concepts like that?

Mr Hammond: I have asked HS2 Limited to look again at the case for the two principal routes
north from the West Midlands, the so-called inverted S route, Manchester to Leeds
via the Pennines, as opposed to the so-called Y route, where there would be a
separate line through the East Midlands, South Yorkshire to Leeds that way; and
also to look at the possibility of intermediate stops. As you will know, there
is a vociferous lobby in South Yorkshire for a stop in South Yorkshire and similarly
in the East Midlands for a stop in the East Midlands. You will appreciate of course
– you clearly do appreciate from your question – that the whole point of High
Speed Rail is that it is not for ever slowing down, stopping and then gathering
momentum again. Stops will be at a huge premium. They introduce a significant
time penalty and every stop significantly erodes the business case for the service.
I think it is worth observing that the proposed running speed of HS2 will be considerably
faster than the French TGV system and therefore the time penalty from a stop will
be considerably greater. When you have trains travelling at 250 miles an hour,
clearly slowing them down, stopping them and then starting them up again introduces
quite a significant challenge, possibly an engineering challenge as well. You
may even need separate stretches of deceleration and acceleration lines, so these
will not be decisions that can be taken lightly. Clearly, that will be part of
the analysis of the overall project going forward. May I just say something else
about Milton Keynes? A light bulb has just gone on in my mind that says “Milton
Keynes.” One of the key things about HS2 is that it is going to address the problems
of capacity on the existing West Coast Main Line and the route to Birmingham.
I know one of the issues felt very acutely in places like Watford, Milton Keynes
and Nuneaton is the lack of stopping services on the current West Coast Main Line.
Clearly, if you have a high speed, dedicated line which is getting you that critical
London to Birmingham/London to Manchester, city to city time, then the opportunity
to have more what you might call semi-fast – but they could still be pretty fast
– services stopping at some of these intermediate stations on the existing West
Coast Main Line will be much greater. I think what we envisage is that the two
separate lines will create a much greater flexibility in the way the railway can
operate with what we would today call high speed services, offering stops at places
where frankly they cannot stop today without reducing the line capacity in an
unacceptable way.


Q44 Paul Maynard: Returning to High Speed 2, which segment of the proposed routing do you think
would be the most economically transformational? How will that interact with the
stated goal of reducing demand for domestic aviation, particularly in the light
of Lord Mawhinney’s recommendations?

Mr Hammond: That is an interesting question. To start to see a truly transformational effect
will come when we go north of the West Midlands because, once we go to Manchester
and up to Leeds, we will start to see a significant shift from domestic aviation
and hopefully the intention is capturing some of the aviation traffic that currently
goes for example to Schipol from places like Manchester and indeed from Leeds
Bradford. That is when we will start to see the truly transformational aspect
of the high speed railway.

Q45 Paul Maynard: Does that not therefore suggest that building from Birmingham to Manchester and/or
Leeds, be it by Y or S, should be of equal importance to constructing the section
from London to Birmingham in the first place, given there will be no Heathrow