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Misinformation feeds HS2 misunderstanding, part two

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Even today, parts of the West Coast Mainline are full, and unable to carry any more trains, according to a post on the tumblr blog ‘hs2northsouthrailline’ carrying the name of transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin.

[25 November 2013]

[…] After both the Commons and the Lords gave overwhelming cross party support for the HS2 Paving Act recently, the high speed rail programme has taken another huge step forward today with the publication of the phase one hybrid bill. This is effectively the government’s planning application for HS2, to give us powers to build and run the railway between London and Birmingham. It is a significant milestone for the project, and one which moves the focus of the HS2 debate from ambition to reality, and from concept to delivery.

Once Royal Assent has been given, we expect to start construction in 2017. That date cannot come too soon because we are already in urgent need of the extra capacity that HS2 will provide.
[…]
But I also want opponents of HS2 to consider what we would do as an alternative. We face a very real capacity crisis in this country, and any further short term measures to patch up the current railway would only delay the need for a bigger commitment by a few years, costing us even more in the long run.

Unsurprisingly enough, the hs2northsouthrailline blogpost didn’t identify which parts of the West Coast Main Line are currently ‘full’. Certainly, the Euston — Milton Keynes section is not full (otherwise the forthcoming London Midland Project 110 path increase could not happen). The idea that HS2 provides rail capacity when and where it is most needed, or avoids ‘patching up’ the current railway, has no basis in reality. According to a spokesman for rail industry body the Rail Delivery Group,

[‘HS2 Bill: Parliament gets first glimpse of high speed rail ‘planning application’ as MPs are warned to keep costs down’, Adam Withnall, The Independent, 25 Nov 2013]

“There are a million more services and half a billion more passengers on the railway this year than there were a decade ago. By 2020, a further 400 million journeys will be made annually.

HS2 cannot enable 400 million more journeys to be accommodated on the rail network by 2020. It wouldn’t open until 2026, and in any case, most of those extra journeys would be short distance, and not on lines supposedly relieved by HS2. The whole project is based on misunderstanding and misinformation, and is being driven forward by special interests.

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Written by beleben

November 25, 2013 at 9:36 pm

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

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2 Responses

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  1. Virgin West Coast trains carry and average of only 160 passengers, calculated by dividing passenger-km by train-Km.
    If demand exceeds supply a normal business would raise the price, particularly if it were making losses in the billions, as do the railways.
    Stand easy seats, as at the ends of underground carriages, if installed through out a carriage may increase its capacity by 50%, let alone adding carriages.

    Paul Withrington
    Transport Watch

    transportwatch

    November 29, 2013 at 10:41 am


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