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Feasibility study already taking place into path linking London with Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester

Boris Johnson has added his voice to calls for a cycle route to be built alongside the proposed HS2 high-speed train line from London to Birmingham and, ultimately, Leeds and Manchester. A feasibility study is currently under way on the viability of such a route to be put in place alongside much of the railway line.

That study was ordered last year by the Department for Transport (DfT) and is due to be completed later this year, although according to comments made by Mr Johnson at yesterday’s announcement of ‘Mini-Holland’ boroughs, the Mayor of London seems unaware the issue is already being considered.

Mr Johnson, quoted in The Times, said: “We should turn Britain into a great, great cycling country and we should be investing. Is there a cycle track up the side of HS2? If not, why not?

“If we’re going to have this thing, let’s at least have a beautiful new cycling superhighway all the way up from London to Birmingham.

“Why not do it? I think there should be a national network of major cycle routes,” he added. There is, of course, an existing National Cycling Network, developed and maintained by Sustrans.

The feasibility study was announced in August last year, with the DfT saying:

To help meet our ambition for cycling, we will conduct a feasibility study into the creation of a new cycling and walking route broadly following the High Speed 2 (HS2) corridor.

This would seek to improve links between communities and conventional rail stations and provide enhanced access to landscape, heritage and other sites of interest.

By focusing on the HS2 corridor, we can bring benefits to communities alongside the route as well as support the cycling ambitions of several major cities.

Phase One of HS2, from London to Birmingham, is currently scheduled to be built between 2017 and 2026 with Phase Two, which will see the route extend north via two lines running respectively to Leeds and Manchester may follow by 2032-3.

That may depend on the outcome of the next general election, however, with Labour reported in recent months to be having second thoughts about the £50 billion project, raising the prospect it may be cancelled if the party wins next year’s general election.

For now, however, the feasibility study regarding the potential cycle route is continuing. One of the transport planners involved in it, Phil Jones, told The Times that current thinking was for a mainly traffic-free facility that would link towns lying three miles to each side of the railway line.

“If we get the route right and it links lots of towns together, it would bring health benefits, economic benefits, tourism, and people could travel to stations without having to pay for car parking,” he explained.

He said only parts of it would be immediately adjacent to HS2 and there was “a lot of support” for the project, with consultation workshops having taken place in Manchester and London and set others set to follow in places such as Aylesbury, Crewe, Leamington Spa, Stafford and Stoke-on-Trent.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

21 comments

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mrmo [2093 posts] 2 years ago
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Quote:

To help meet our ambition for cycling, we will conduct a feasibility study into the creation of a new cycling and walking route broadly following the High Speed 2 (HS2) corridor.

hmm, does this mean a proper path, or somewhere within 10miles and using back roads, gravel bridleways, etc etc.

If your going to do it, do it PROPERLY!

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antonio [1134 posts] 2 years ago
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Wow! Bungee straps at the ready!

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james-o [235 posts] 2 years ago
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"people could travel to stations without having to pay for car parking,"
That really depends on how affordable the HS2 line is. When a ticket on London-Midland now is often more than the equivalent journey's fuel costs why would anyone but a regular commuter leave a car behind to take the train? I expect HS2 will be a high-cost business travel line anyway, I don't see it adding to local village life..
Hugely in favour of rail networks here in theory, but they can't get it right with the ones we have when it comes to cost and cycle use.

"the HS2 train line will destroy huge areas of ancient woodland and habitats in areas of outstanding natural beauty" Unfortunately this is true.

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Goldfever4 [225 posts] 2 years ago
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Quote:

“Why not do it? I think there should be a national network of major cycle routes,” he added. There is, of course, an existing National Cycling Network, developed and maintained by Sustrans.

D'oh

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joncrel [9 posts] 2 years ago
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Personally I think the UK needs more offroad 'intercity' cycle routes (like the lovely Bath<->Bristol), so I can see a lot to commend this idea. Railway lines usually have the gentle gradients that make long distance cycling much easier. Worried it might turn into a bus lane too tho...

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sean1 [177 posts] 2 years ago
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HS2 is not needed so scrap it and spend the money on cycling infrastructure across the country. £45 billion, or whatever the HS2 cost is, would go a long way.....

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Reane_Machine [1 post] 2 years ago
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If we are going to have HS2 though, it makes sense to put a cycle route alongside.

There is a bigger picture though, if everytime a new rail or road route is built cycling is taken into consideration then that's a massive step forward, so this is a chance to blaze a trail and make something that's not too good a little better.

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P3t3 [316 posts] 2 years ago
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This could be absolutely fantastic - but only if they did it properly. If it is sustrans style "blue signposts and FA else" then why bother.

On the other hand - if you could cycle from London to Brum without interacting with cars then it could be fantastic.

There is a huge demand for lesure cycling and with the right facilities it could become a huge industry/opportunity. If it was car free then it would be possible to take children on the route.

Just the other day I was in the Chilterns on the first sunny day of the year, the number of cyclists out was huge (group ever hundred metres or so). Shame that the pleasure cyclists were on the more major road when there are so many nice back roads, and the traffic was heavier due to a closed road... and by tragic coincidence there was a TT event, result: mayehem!

There is a real demand for proper lesure cycling facilities, if they did this properly it could be combined into segregated commuter facilities nearer towns during the week.

Shame they will balls it up though....

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MKultra [396 posts] 2 years ago
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They are going to have to build a service road anyway to get all the site traffic to HS2 as they build it, left in place it could be a full width metaled road purely for cyclists running the full length of the west coast line. What they don't want to do is get Sustrans involved as the half arsed approach to cycle routes they implement is neither use nor ornament. But then again that's 50 percent of charities, lots of well meaning people working for them for free while a few leftie managers take home a nice fat salary. The Ho Chi Minh trail is easier to ride down than the sodding Sustrans network.

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northstar [1108 posts] 2 years ago
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More bullshit, HS2 will never get built, neither will this, just pie in sky rubbish.

If you think any decent quality cycle paths will ever be built in the "uk" you are kidding yourself.

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STATO [514 posts] 2 years ago
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seanbolton wrote:

HS2 is not needed so scrap it and spend the money on cycling infrastructure across the country.

HS2 gets some passengers of the existing west coast line, so more freight can be taken off the roads. If you dont spend the money on HS2 you'll just have to spend it on making the roads bigger to take the increasing freight. More people might cycle if there were paths but your still looking at gridlock on the roads.

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Northernbike [229 posts] 2 years ago
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I can picture the first day of operation of HS2 and you go to Leeds to buy a ticket to London - first class ticket and you get a seat at the front of the train, buy a second class and you get a seat at the back, third class and they give you a bike

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northstar [1108 posts] 2 years ago
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You can't picture it because it won't happen.

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zanf [869 posts] 2 years ago
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northstar wrote:

More bullshit, HS2 will never get built, neither will this, just pie in sky rubbish.

If you think any decent quality cycle paths will ever be built in the "uk" you are kidding yourself.

As much as I would like to disagree, I cant.

Those in positions of controlling new infrastructure builds have absolutely no fucking idea what they are doing and they are being enabled by cycling bodies that are just really desperate to have a seat at the table, and in the process sign off on the most shitty designs ever (see Bedfords 'turbo' roundabout & CTC, for example).

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northstar [1108 posts] 2 years ago
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But they do have a clue what they are doing when it comes to anything other than "motoring", sweet fuck all.

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Trackal [16 posts] 2 years ago
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And it will come with a prize for staying on your bike whilst a 800m train blasts past you at 300kph

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mrmo [2093 posts] 2 years ago
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Trackal wrote:

And it will come with a prize for staying on your bike whilst a 800m train blasts past you at 300kph

All you need to do is lay some boards down the middle of the track, find a suitable bike, and think of the tow. Take slipstreaming to a new level. no more faffing chasing mopeds, or tractors,  19

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kie7077 [887 posts] 2 years ago
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I wish I could photoshop, but I can imagine the artists impression;

Train track then 6 inches of chevrons then a 2 foot cycle track, fence, with spikes.

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bikebot [2149 posts] 2 years ago
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kie7077 wrote:

I wish I could photoshop, but I can imagine the artists impression;

Train track then 6 inches of chevrons then a 2 foot cycle track, fence, with spikes.

That's just silly. You've got one track going north and another going south, the obvious place to put the bicycle lane is in the otherwise wasted space between them.

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kie7077 [887 posts] 2 years ago
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'Artist''s impression

Happy Cycling

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PhilRuss [390 posts] 2 years ago
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[[[[[ Er...see paragraph 7. "a new cycling and walking route" What fun, with pedestrian hikers dodging bikers, and bikers swerving to avoid walkers (and their dogs)....sounds just like yer local park, dunnit?
P.R.