beleben

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Very Important Persons (standing)

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David Cameron: HS2 needed for the thousands of countrymen who stand everyday

Prime minister David Cameron says that Britain needs to build a new West Coast mainline to cater to the ‘thousands of countrymen who stand everyday’ during their commute, the Guardian reported (4 November 2013).

DfT, peak arrivals and departures by rail, by station, London zone 1, 2012

One thing HS2 would not do is “cater” for the vast majority of everyday crowding on Britain’s trains. In fact, investing in HS2 is just about the least effective way of reducing rail crowding that could be devised.

Thousands of people stand on Britain’s buses, trains, and the London Underground every day.
As the charts indicate, the number of people standing on railways relieved by the HS2 project is a very small proportion of the total (that also applies to commuting in Manchester, Birmingham, and Leeds). Between them, in 2012, the rail routes into London Bridge, Vauxhall, Victoria and Liverpool Street accounted for over two thirds of all morning peak arrivals and afternoon peak departures in London (source: DfT).

DfT, passengers in excess of capacity in the peaks, London & South East, by train operating company, 2012

The main commuter flow relieved by HS2 would be the Euston Outer Suburban services currently operated by London Midland. Implicit in the HS2 ‘capacity’ argument is the assumption that a minute spent standing on London Midland is a problem “worth” a large multiple of a standing minute spent on public transport anywhere else.

So all commuters are not equal; London Midland commuters are ‘Very Important Persons’ requiring ~£50 billion of scarce resources to solve a (relatively mild) standing problem. However, VIP status would only apply from the year 2026, and of course, not on any TfL service.

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Written by beleben

November 6, 2013 at 10:49 pm

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

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One Response

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  1. Reblogged this on Musings of Butotoro and commented:
    Putting the West Coast Mainline issue in perspective

    butotoro

    November 7, 2013 at 12:58 pm


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