HS2 is for getting to London
The British government’s March 2010 High Speed Rail Command Paper (7827) stated that
“The wider economic benefits of a UK high speed rail network might be most substantial in the major city regions of the North and the Midlands.
But it also said that
HS2 Ltd’s modelling indicates that by far the largest market for High Speed Two would be for travellers to and from London, who would comprise more than 80 per cent of High Speed Two’s passengers.
In the whole North West region, the new-build HS2 Y network would only directly serve one city — Manchester.
And in the entire West Midlands region, the Y network would only directly serve one city — Birmingham.
Command 7827 showed two cities in Yorkshire and the Humber as having direct service — Leeds, and Sheffield. But in later HS2 Ltd documents, references to ‘Sheffield’ were replaced by ‘South Yorkshire’.
On the details available, the HS2 Y network would connect three provincial city centres with London. But it is not designed to connect provincial cities with each other.
In the French TGV high speed network, Paris is by far the most common destination.
Paris-Rhône-Alps route illustrates this point, as flight and train journeys to Paris increased by 144%, while journeys in the inverse direction only experienced a 54% increase due to the HST connection. This means that round trips originating in Paris increased much less than round trips originating at the other end of the city-to-city connection.
A similarly asymmetric travel pattern, favouring the capital, is to be expected with the HS2 concept.