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The shifty case for HS2

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In one respect, HS2’s shifty economic case might be said not to be ‘shifty’ enough. With the Oct 2013 economic case revision, only 5% of HS2 passengers are expected to have shifted from air or car, wrote Stop HS2’s Penny Gaines.

[‘Stop HS2’ website, 7 Jan 2014]

Previous mode Classic rail New Trips Air Car
2010 Economic case 57% 27% 8% 8%
2011 Economic case 65% 22% 6% 7%
2012 Economic case 65% 24% 3% 8%
2013 Economic case 69% 26% 1% 4%

Percentages all taken from HS2 documents: latest modal shift figures from Economic Case for HS2, October 2013, Department for Transport.

Written by beleben

January 7, 2014 at 3:04 pm

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

2 Responses

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  1. Manchester Evening News (21.12.2013, p.21) highlighted Heathrow as the local airport’s top destination with nearly 750,000 passengers in the year from a total close to 21mn (about 3.6% of the total but still over 2000 passengers or about 10 full flights per day). The Heathrow destination also makes up about one third of total Domestic numbers.
    HS2 proposes a rather basic new Manchester Airport HS2 station on a patch of green belt off airport and with “people-mover” access to the airport akin to that proposed for Bickerhill and at least 200m from the station concourse – though, in Manchester’s case, they do not know where it will terminate. The “visualisation” of July 2013 is clearly totally unworkable in terms of layout and land needs but it is after all just an outline visualisation. As HS2 states, the station “would” offer the opportunity for ‘sensitive, high quality development’. Who would expect anything less on high quality green belt?
    To have the airport station built, however, the owners of Manchester Airport (MAG) must pay for it as it is not included in the £42.6bn, even as a contingency.
    The proposition of losing the revenue from 750,000 passengers (out- and inbound) along with the privilege of paying for it must have great appeal for MAG. Still, it might open up some slots for international routes, avoiding the need to transit Heathrow, or they could nick some from Birmingham Airport which itself is trying to grow direct international connections. Heathrow will doubtless remain an important hub but there are many alternative possibilities from the North (Manchester / Edinburgh) to Europe and Middle/Far East (not yet so many to USA) which can require similar travel times and be cheaper. The alternatives to Heathrow will grow whatever Heathrow does in its future expansion. It should have better rail connections than it currently has but HS2 clearly does not consider it important to link up to it.
    In its Jan 2013 Command Paper, DfT quoted:
    2.3 “Rail travel is a vital part of the Government’s vision for transport. It enables fast and efficient journeys between productive urban centres and supports the efficient functioning of labour markets. Over recent years rail travel has been experiencing remarkable levels of demand growth in almost every sector. In 2011/12 passengers made around 1.5 billion journeys on the rail network, a figure which has almost doubled since 1994/95, and travelled over 35 billion miles. 125 million long distance journeys were made in 2011/12, more than double the 54 million made in 1994/95, and despite the recent recession, demand for long distance rail travel continues to grow year-on-year – a trend which shows no sign of changing”.

    Amazing! intercity grew at a faster rate than journeys overall. So total journeys grew by around 700 million while intercity grew by 71 million. Put another way: long distance Intercity grew by 71mn but commuter (which could be ‘intercity’ eg Liverpool-Manchester) grew by approximately 630mn. The document also pointed out that 75/80% of London bound passengers from Derby/Nottingham would switch to HS2 Toton. HS2 currently claims it could be carrying 300,000 journeys per day which equates to 110 million / year (nearly 90% of the above total for intercity). This projection is to be expected from HS2 as it (HS2) clearly expects to carry the majority of intercity traffic down West and East coast paths. Many minor towns and cities now benefitting from the regular fast intercity trains will, with HS2, have to make do with slower stopping services – which will not be so frequent – or find a way to an HS2 station, for example, Stockport back to Manchester before heading (back) south to London.


    January 8, 2014 at 1:39 pm

  2. […] HS2 would carry around 90 million passengers per annum, and its 2013 Economic Case suggested that 69% of the new line’s ridership would be made up of people ‘transferring from existing […]

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