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Even the SDG report accepted that rail capacity shortage was largely confined to the London approach

Meg Munn MP was invited to an event organised by the High Speed Rail Industry Leaders Group to discuss their new Report on HS2 (statement, March 12, 2014).

Britain: connected or not?
Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Meg Munn MP was invited to an event organised by the High Speed Rail Industry Leaders Group to discuss their new Report on HS2 and its impact on the UK economy. Industry experts described the current progress of the project, explained future developments and answered questions from MPs, rail experts, and reporters.

Experts stressed a key element was funding, of agreeing the funds to proceed and then not losing them for other projects that would not have the same long term impact. A representative of Siemens pointed out that even conservative estimates detail a £2 return for every £1 spent. There is no guarantee that funds taken from HS2 would be spent on rail infrastructure or transport at all.

Not building the new rail line leaves the problem of capacity, the main north to south lines are rapidly approaching the point of being unable to take more services. Added to this is the projected rise in the UK population over the next twenty years of around 10 million. HS2 would free up capacity on existing lines for new local and regional services as well as more freight, which would increase the positive economic impact of the project.

During the meeting Meg made the point that connecting airports to HS2 would allow people to use alternative airports in order to travel internationally, so avoiding wasteful trips to London. Meg is a strong supporter of HS2 line, particularly its positive impact for the North’s economy.

Meg commented:

“HS2 is an important project that will not only connect major cities within the UK, but also grow the economy. We are lagging behind in developing our railway infrastructure and HS2 provides us an opportunity to catch up.

This project needs and deserves widespread support and I am certain it will leave an indelible mark on the British economy and transportation system.”

The High Speed Rail Industry Leaders Group report “Great Britain: connected or not?” can be read here:
http://www.siemens.co.uk/pool/news_press/news_archive/2014/great-britain-connected-or-not.pdf

It is disturbing to see an MP parroting misinformation as if it were fact. The reality is:

  1. ‘Capacity pressure’ on the West Coast Main Line is largely confined to the London approach.
  2. Capacity pressure on other North – South main lines is largely confined to the London approach.
  3. Capacity pressure on other South of England main lines is largely confined to the London approach.
  4. The decongestion benefits of HS2 are achievable at much less expense, and more quickly, in other ways.
  5. The monetised airport connectivity benefits of HS2 are minuscule.

To see the fact that ‘capacity pressure’ on the West Coast Main Line is largely confined to the London approach, consider the Rugby to Coventry section, shown as being under ‘High pressure‘ post-2019, in SDG’s substandard report released last week. As can be seen from the 2011 West Midlands and Chiltern Route Utilisation Strategy (below), the passenger traffic is not particularly heavy, and there are no intermediate stations. There is no reason to believe it would be under ‘high capacity pressure’, post 2019.

Coventry corridor standard offpeak passenger service provision (Network Rail West Midlands and Chiltern Route Utilisation Strategy, 2011)

As previously mentioned, there are other problems with the SDG report, such as the representation of capacity between Leeds and Wakefield. The Department for Transport should ask SDG for their money back.

Despite its new rail connections, private transport access mode share at Manchester airport had increased to around 90% by 2009

Despite its new rail connections, private transport access mode share at Manchester airport had increased to around 90% by 2009

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Written by beleben

March 12, 2014 at 1:37 pm

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

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