beleben

die belebende Bedenkung

HS2 and commuting in the regions

with 3 comments

According to Railnews’ Sim Harris, HS2 would “absorb most (not all) intercity traffic between London, Birmingham, Manchester and Yorkshire, leaving a lot of spare capacity on the West Coast Main Line (in particular)”.

[‘Astonishing ignorance’, Railnews blog, 13 Dec 2013]

What can we do with this capacity? Well, we can run more trains of a non-intercity type, including commuter trains as well as freight.

That’s the deal. More commuter trains. Fewer cramped, miserable journeys. Easy, really.

Neither the government nor HS2 Ltd have provided any quantification of commuter benefits from HS2 for regional cities. However, they could be charitably described as meagre.

Commuter capacity release in West Midlands

Looking at HS2 potential commuter capacity release in

Looking at HS2 potential commuter capacity release in the West Midlands

If intercity trains between London and the North West were transferred to HS2, there would be capacity release on the West Coast trunk through Nuneaton and Lichfield. The quantum would depend on how many fast trains continued to operate. The government will not say.

In any event, there is very little local demand on the WCML trunk in the West Midlands Region.

There is a lot more commuting demand within the West Midlands county. But there, the only corridor potentially relieved by ‘HS2 London — West Midlands’ would be the Birmingham — Coventry one.

If the classic New Street — Coventry — Euston service were cut from three to two trains per hour, one fast path would be freed. The overall effect on West Midlands commuting capacity (and crowding) from HS2 would be minimal.

Commuter capacity release in Greater Manchester

Looking at HS2 potential commuter capacity release in Greater Manchester

Looking at HS2 potential commuter capacity release in Greater Manchester

In Manchester, HS2 stage two (‘LMH’) could remove one or two fast Stoke / London trains from the Stockport corridor. Presumably, to avoid connectivity losses for Macclesfield and Stoke, there would have to be some kind of additional ‘local fast’ service put in place.

Again, there are no official details available. It is safe to say that HS2’s overall effect on Greater Manchester commuting capacity, and crowding, would be minimal.

Commuter capacity release in West Yorkshire

Looking at HS2 potential commuter capacity release in West Yorkshire

Looking at HS2 potential commuter capacity release in West Yorkshire

Rail capacity utilisation in West Yorkshire was the subject of a freedom of information request to its Passenger Transport Executive, but apparently, ‘no information is held’ on the topic.

Most of the population centres in West Yorkshire are west of Leeds, so for those towns, there is no possibility of HS2 providing commuter capacity release.

Between Leeds, Wakefield, Doncaster, and Sheffield, there are duplicate railway routes (some not shown on the WYPTE map), so shortage of classic capacity is unlikely to be a problem.

Advertisements

Written by beleben

December 20, 2013 at 12:33 pm

3 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. The Trent Valley line was built as a “Birmingham by-pass” (in the 1840s) for Euston to Liverpool & Manchester trains – so hardly surprising that it isn’t much use as a Birmingham commuter line.

    richie40

    December 20, 2013 at 2:15 pm

  2. Beleben, I agree with the thrust of your arguments entirely. However there is indicative information supplied by the DfT on the likely train services post HS2. May I point you to the PFM Assumptions Report published as part of the business case at the end of October 2013? You can see the do nothing scenario in chapter 5 and the HS2 scenario in chapter 6. I have analysed the train services on 11 commuter routes into Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield using all possible TOCs on each of the routes. None of the 11 example commuter routes showed an overall increase in services post HS2 and two of them showed a reduction in overall services. So the official evidence supports your views.

    Andrew Bodman

    December 20, 2013 at 3:40 pm

  3. […] the Beleben blog has pointed out on several occasions, HS2 ‘released capacity’ claims are mostly […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: