According to the Government Response to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee report ‘The economics of HS2′,
[2.40] In 2011 around 42 freight trains per day used the West Coast Main Line. Utilisation of intermodal freight paths is around 85%.
The source given was Network Rail’s Long Term Planning Process. However, on page 75 of the October 2013 LTPP Freight Market Study it was stated that “The Freight Market Study Working Group reviewed the path utilisation factor for intermodal flows and the Freight Market Study has used an 85 per cent figure”.
That does not mean that utilisation of West Coast intermodal freight paths is around 85%.
Table 5 of the Freight Market Study also stated that Channel Tunnel intermodal freight path utilisation was around 85%. But in reality, Channel Tunnel railfreight is a small fraction of the level which was forecast before the tunnel was built.
So, there is a great deal of obfuscation going on.
In a report commissioned by the Department for Transport in 2013, KPMG estimated that HS2 would create £15 billion annually in increased economic output, with phase one accounting for 40 per cent of that benefit (£6 billion per annum).
However, a ‘new mathematical model of human interactions’ predicts that HS2 phase one would create only £3.6 billion annually in increased economic output; less than one per cent of the current output of Birmingham and London.
[HS2 and Crossrail: Scientists predict the economic effect of major rail projects, Simon Levey, Imperial College, 31 July 2015]
[…] Dr [Aaron] Sim carried out the study with Professor Michael Stumpf, also from the Department of Life Sciences, Professor Mauricio Barahona, from the Department of Mathematics, and Professor Sophia Yaliraki, from the Department of Chemistry at Imperial.
They say the findings should be used to help politicians and civic planers to put in place the most efficient, widely beneficial and fairest infrastructure.
The Government Response to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee HS2 report referred to the Rail Usage Drivers Dataset, “a dataset of disaggregate ticket sales data between the years 1994/1995 and 2013/14, for over 20,000 flows and 6 ticket type categories”.
[Department for Transport statement on the Rail Usage Drivers Dataset, July 2015]
This ticket sale information is combined at a disaggregate level with data on possible drivers of rail demand (including population, employment, GVA and households) for the purpose of estimating elasticities using regressions. These elasticities are then used in rail forecasting.
The ticket sales data within RUDD cannot be shared as they are owned by the Train Operating Companies (TOCs) and held by the Department under a duty of confidentiality, in accordance with the National Rail Franchise Terms in place between the Secretary of State and the train operators. The National Rail Franchise Terms can be found published either in or alongside the franchise agreements via the following webpage:
Under section 41 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, information held under such a duty is subject to an absolute exemption from disclosure. […]
The Government Response to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee report contained aggregate data that was sourced from the RUDD database. These data were released with the agreement of the TOCs concerned for the purpose of the Government’s response to this report.
What isn’t clear, is why the government should have the exclusive right to access and use RUDD data in support of its own favoured policies (such as HS2). For example, statistics from RUDD might also clear up exactly how many of the “long distance” trips on Inter City West Coast, actually are long distance.
Greater Birmingham and Solihull local enterprise partnership’s “Getting our people ready for HS2″ report states that the number of HS2 construction jobs is unlikely to greatly exceed 10,000 in any one year.