Rail plan: new inter-city journey times revealed

The government’s planned rail improvements reported here earlier today will cut journey times between Newcastle and London from a typical 169 minutes to 148 minutes (or 145 minutes non-stop), according to full details in the Integrated Rail Plan.

This compares with 137 minutes which would have resulted from the original plan for High-Speed Rail between Birmingham and Leeds (HS2b) with high-speed trains continuing on conventional track to Darlington, Durham and Newcastle.

Times from Newcastle to Birmingham will be cut from 206 minutes to 167 minutes instead of 117 minutes originally planned; from Newcastle to Manchester from 139 minutes to 117 minutes instead of the originally planned 103 minutes; and from Newcastle to Leeds from 81 minutes to 76 instead of 74.

The IRP says: ‘The East Coast Main Line from King’s Cross has significant potential to further improve line speed increases and seat capacity. We will ensure digital signalling is delivered and also upgrade the power supply to allow longer and more frequent trains, increase maximum speeds up to140mph in some places, improve the capacity of stations, and remove bottlenecks such as flat junctions and crossings.

‘This will reduce journey times from London to York and Darlington by up to 15 minutes and to other parts of the North East and Edinburgh (subject to stopping patterns) by around 25 minutes compared to today, only a little less than the reductions that would have been delivered by HS2. It will reduce journey times from London to Leeds by around 20 minutes’.