die belebende Bedenkung

HS2 and rail passenger growth

with 6 comments

Although it bears the name of “wizard superhero” David Higgins, a large part of the HS2 Plus report consists of previously-heard stock phrases, non sequiturs, and generalisations.

[HS2 Plus]

In the past twenty years the number of journeys made on Britain’s rail network has doubled. In the past decade, that growth rate has averaged over five per cent per year, even through the economic downturn. Passenger and freight demand is forecast to increase by over 30% over the next decade.

'HS2 Plus' GB rail passenger growth diagram

‘HS2 Plus’ GB rail passenger growth diagram


This level of growth has put pressure on all our existing major rail networks, and the West Coast Main Line in particular. The upgrade completed in 2008 simply revealed the true extent of the latent demand. […] The reality is that key sections of the existing main line are full and, despite the efforts of some of the best brains in the business, the whole line is feeling the strain.

In fact, rail passenger growth is much more of a problem for London commuter railways, than for the West Coast Main Line. There is nothing particularly special about WCML passenger traffic, and the line is certainly not “full”. Following electrification in the late 1960s, London Euston to Birmingham / Manchester passenger rail volumes increased substantially, but growth tailed off within a few years.

Because of its very low volume, intercity West Coast passenger traffic would not even show up on Mr Higgins’ map. The modified version (below) provides a better understanding.

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‘HS2 Plus’ rail passenger growth diagram re-worked to include All long distance and WCML long distance journeys

Written by beleben

March 21, 2014 at 12:12 pm

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

6 Responses

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  1. We might use that graph if that’s OK

    Joe Rukin

    March 22, 2014 at 2:30 pm

  2. […] Diagrams from Beleben. […]

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