Every morning, I catch the train to Liverpool. On the way towards Manchester, I pass the Longsight train maintenance depot where Virgin have their maintenance setup for the Pendolinos. On the other side of the track, is a huge grey maintenance shed known as Manchester International Depot.
It was built to handle the Regional Eurostar services, where the then new Eurostar trains would be planned to come through the Channel Tunnel and go past Waterloo, heading up to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds.
Regional Eurostar never happened for a number of reasons. One of which was that there was no real will for it to happen, but the announcement was a sop to the regions, worried about the usual gravitational pull of London. A Parliamentary Select Committee said in 1999, “the regions have been cheated“.
The Government have announced HS2, the new high speed train link from London to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. Costing £33bn, the first phase will go to Birmingham in 2026 before reaching Manchester and Leeds by 2032.
I’ll bet a body part, possibly going as far as putting my left bollock on the line, that it will never reach Manchester. Call it bitter experience.
As for whether HS2 is a good idea, I refer you to this. (OK, it is from the Graun, but the point is the same. Forget the environmental concerns, what is the business case? I want good public transport and what we could do with £33bn.)