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HS2 load factor

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According to the February 2011 Economic Case

The Y network would deliver reduced journey times of up to an hour between some of the UK’s largest cities. This, combined with greater reliability and capacity (reducing crowding levels on long distance trains across the rail network) leads us to estimate that around 240,000 passengers per day in 2043 (or 85 million passengers per year) would be expected to use the main high speed line into and out of London

and HS2 is supposed to operate 18 trains per hour, between 6am and midnight.

The claimed quotidian one-way passenger volume is 120,000.

So the average number of passengers on a train would be something like 120,000 / (18 * 18) = 370; more than double what Virgin Trains currently achieves.

If 400-metre trains ran, the load factor would be 120,000 / (18 * 18 * 1,100) = 33%. That is disastrously low from an energy efficiency point of view, because HS2 trains would use vast amounts of electricity.

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Written by beleben

February 14, 2014 at 4:35 pm

Posted in HS2

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  1. I assumed that the 18 trains per hour applied only to the peak hour and in the peak direction, but was I right?

    For reference:

    On the railways the one way weekday peak hour passengers typically amount to 25% of the one way weekday total.

    For interest:

    Virgin’s trains, carry an average of 166 passengers. An 11 car Pendolino has 589 seats. If the first class were converted to second and if the kitchen and shop were striped out that would rise to 730 seats.

    The 166 average load follows from ORR’s Key Statistics for Virgin Trains, namely, in the year 2102-13 there were 30.4.million passenger-journeys, 5958.4 million passenger-km and 38.8 million train-km.

    Dividing passenger-km by train-km provides the average number of passenger, namely 166.

    Dividing passenger-km by passenger-journeys provides an average journey length of 196 km or 122 miles. Typically the median or 50th percentile on distance will be 20% less than the mean, suggesting half of all Virgin’s WCML passengers have a journey length of less than 100 miles.

  2. […] the world operates at 100% occupancy, or anything close to that figure. HS2 Economic Case documents suggest a load factor of around […]


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