Following the first route announcement, HS2 told us Woodlesford station would be closed for around three years during construction. With the revised tunnelled route, HS2 initially stated that the outage would be just two weeks over a Christmas (or holiday) period.
They have since stated estimates as high as two years, with a total loss of local train services during that period while the tracks are realigned to make space for HS2 tracks.
The truth is that HS2 Ltd haven’t yet worked out how they are going to bring HS2 and the existing local train service side by side between Woodlesford and the M1 motorway bridge. This is evident on their route profile map that don’t clearly show either the HS2 or existing tracks, or how they pass under the motorway.
Around two miles of track is indicated for realignment, most likely taking the existing line closer (or into) the County Park, with the HS2 lines in all likelihood passing under the existing line to end up next to the canal.
The four tracks then have to pass under the M1. The current bridge accommodates two tracks with appropriate safety clearances, and is approximately 21m wide. HS2 alone requires a width of 19m for its two tracks and equipment. There is no indication as to how they plan to address this.
HS2 recently announced plans for a maintenance depot opposite Arla and next to the M1. This will clearly need connectivity to the HS2 tracks and is likely to cause further disruption to local rail services while these connections are made and realignment takes place. There are currently no estimates as to the severity or period of disruption anticipated. A consultation on the proposed depot is currently open and runs until 12 October 2017 – raise your objections and concerns now!