die belebende Bedenkung

HS2 and London rail capacity, part two

with 4 comments

Patrick McLoughlin: Nothing gives the capacity, or frees up other railway services, like HS2 (26 Nov 2013)

According to transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin, “Nothing gives the capacity, or frees up other railway services, like HS2”. As might be expected, the reality is somewhat different.

Capacity planning, London, Control Period 5

Capacity planning, Control Period 5: Euston accounted for just ~4.5% of London’s estimated National Rail peak travel for 2013 / 2014

Network Rail’s “Control Period 5” capacity planning is based around an additional 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 59,400. In practice, the achievable capacity peak uplift from HS2 in 2033 would be considerably lower than 59,400, for reasons which have been discussed on the Beleben blog.


  • the vast majority of future increased National Rail capacity is being provided by upgrading and modernising the classic network
  • the cost per unit of capacity-added-via-upgrades, is far lower.

Is a 1 or 2 per cent uplift of London rail capacity, worth £50,000,000,000?

Additional investment on the legacy network could be used to increase capacity quicker, and far more cost-effectively, than with HS2.

As far as Euston traffic is concerned, Network Rail’s planning is to increase three-hour-peak capacity by around 10% in the period to 2018 / 2019, but much larger uplifts are feasible, if needed.

Written by beleben

January 18, 2014 at 10:41 am

Posted in HS2, Planning, Politics, Railways

4 Responses

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  1. The table also demonstrates that the flow of (overland rail) passengers into the ex-Southern Railway stations (Victoria, London Bridge, Waterloo & Blackfriars (via E&C)) is much larger than that into the northern, western & eastern London stations.

    This is in some part due to LUL lines covering much of the northern, western & eastern London suburbs, but not the southern ones.

    If the government want to spend money on improving rail journeys for London commuters, it would be much more sensible to “dust off” the proposals of 1943, 1946, 1949, 1968, 1974, 1980, 1989 and 2000 as a starting point rather than the Adonis “back of the envelope” plan which has become HS2.

    Much as many of these proposal sound very “London centric”, if they were operated as “Thameslinks” rather than “Crossrails”, they could connect up the Midlands to the South Coast. For example, if Victoria & Euston were connected (as per the 1980 proposal), a high frequency direct Wolverhampton – Birmingham – London – Gatwick – Brighton service would be possible.


    January 18, 2014 at 1:20 pm

  2. Pursuing Richie’s thread, an EastLink rail tunnel connector to interchanges at Canary Wharf and Stratford from an interchange with the south London lines at Lewisham would relieve the considerable congestion approaching London Bridge station where south London, Kent and East Sussex commuters to Canary Wharf interchange onto the eastbound Jubilee Line.

    The same connector would also bring commuters southbound into Canary Wharf from the Lea Valley line, Harlow, Bishops Stortford, Stansted and Cambridge; lessening interchange pressures on Stratford and Liverpool Street.

    The link was proposed in the BML2 scheme which favours a Gatwick-Canary-Stratford-Stansted route.
    I’ve incorporated it in my full-scheme alternative to HS2, HS2 Plan B, which would run-through to the Southern network (and Crossrail) via the Thameslink platforms at St Pancras. Links:



    January 19, 2014 at 9:22 am

  3. […] such as Rail Package 6. In summary, HS2′s railfreight capacity benefits look as meagre as its commuter capacity […]

  4. […] Part two […]

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