Northern railways network needs tunelling machines used on HS2 to relieve Leeds-Manchester bottleneck - Yorkshire Post letters

From: Michael J Robinson, Berry Brow, Huddersfield.

Florence - the largest ever tunnel boring machine used on a UK rail project - is unveiled at the HS2 site in West Hyde near Rickmansworth in Hertfordshire. Picture date: Thursday May 13, 2021. PA Photo. Named after nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale, The 558ft (170m) long contraption will dig a 10-mile tunnel under the Chiltern Hills, starting from a site in Buckinghamshire near the M25 motorway. See PA story RAIL HS2. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire.

There was recently (The Yorkshire Post, May 14) a picture of the monster tunnelling machine which is involved in creating the HS2 line to Birmingham.

I remember that when tunnelling was completed on the new London Underground line, the tunnelling machines were simply turned into the side of the tunnel and abandoned there as it was not considered cost effective to dismantle the machines and extract them for re-assembly and re-use.

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Apparently, it would have been cheaper to buy a new machine for subsequent tunnelling elsewhere.

Happily, the report said that these new machines in use on the HS2 line will be employed creating multiple tunnels rather than being single-use operations.

This encourages me to ask if consideration might be given to using these machines on the Northern railway system on conclusion of their work on HS2, particularly at Marsden to relieve the Leeds-Manchester bottleneck, the new project at the Cooper Bridge junction, and on helping to realise the dream of a new Sheffield to Manchester line.

Talk about dreams!

From: Roger Backhouse, Upper Poppleton, York.

LIKE many ideologues Robert Colville, of the Centre for Policy Studies, shows more attention to fantasy than facts (The Yorkshire Post, May 24).

I wonder if he’s travelled on a train recently when he claims Britain’s railways “have improved dramatically since privatisation”?

Trains are not generally faster than nationalised counterparts of 30 years ago. New intercity coaches are less comfortable than British Rail’s HST Mark 3 and Mark 4 carriages; he should try the “ironing board seats” now on Great Western and other main line services.

Railways are certainly more expensive. Roger Ford, of Modern Railways magazine, calculates they now cost the taxpayer four times as much in real terms as in British Rail days.

Fares have increased on average by 45 per cent in the last 10 years, pricing rail travel out of reach for many people.

Rail privatisation was one of John Major’s achievements. How strange that he never mentions it in his autobiography.

At least the present Government is trying to undo the damage done, however haphazardly.