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HS2 and London rail capacity

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'People entering Central London in the morning peak', 1978 to 2011 (TfL)

‘People entering Central London in the morning peak’, 1978 to 2011 (TfL)

According to Transport for London, the number of people entering ‘central London’ in the morning peak did not change all that much from 1978 to 2011, but rail’s share increased, largely at the expense of private cars.

Currently, over the peak, the volume of inbound rail trips into ‘central London’ (National Rail plus London Underground) seems to be something around the 800,000 mark. When ‘Near central London’ is included, a reasonable estimate might be 1,250,000.

By 2026, National Rail and LUL passenger capacity and volume is likely to have increased substantially (e.g. through Crossrail). ‘Near central London’ includes places like Canary Wharf, and Old Oak Common — the site of a proposed interchange between Crossrail 1 and the HS2 railway. HS2 Ltd estimated that about 40% of its London travellers would use Old Oak Common.

It can be seen that if

  1. eighteen trains per hour ran on HS2 trunk,
  2. all trains were full-length, with 1,100 seats
  3. all of them went to Old Oak and / or Euston (i.e., none went to Heathrow),
  4. and every seat in every train were occupied,

HS2 could deliver 60,000 people into the capital, across the three-hour peak. In practice, as with the existing railways, the actual number is likely to be much lower than the nominal figure. Even in the three hour peak, capacity utilisation is well below 100% overall, even though individual trains may have passengers in excess of capacity.

London rail capacity uplift achievable by HS2: howlarge could it be?

Theoretical rail capacity uplift from HS2, alongside current National Rail and LUL passenger volume into London. The comparison is between 2011 am peak volume (much less than actual capacity) on existing rail, and uplift from an idealised, 100%-utilised, HS2 (2033)

If one uses realistic assumptions, what is the uplift from HS2 on London passenger rail capacity? The answer seems to be somewhere around the 1% mark.

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Written by beleben

January 17, 2014 at 1:13 pm

One Response

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  1. […] 119,000 trips each day into London in the three hour peak, by 2018 / 2019. But, as mentioned in part one, the maximum theoretical London capacity uplift from the £50 billion Y network (2033) would be […]


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