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Trusting HS2 numbers is foolhardy

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The numbers in HS2 Ltd’s online Economic Documents are contradictory and implausible in a number of ways. For example, Figure 9 of the October 2013 HS2 Strategic Case purported to give a visualisation of the claimed Euston peak hour capacity uplift which would arise from building HS2. It would certainly be possible to redistribute classic capacity from intercity to Commuter Fast (or indeed freight), but the quanta and value of such changes are highly uncertain.

HS2 Strategic Case Oct 2013, Figure 9

HS2 Strategic Case Oct 2013, Figure 9

In the Strategic Case, no explanation was given as to how the capacity numbers were calculated. The Euston HSR phase 2 capacity figure of “19,800” is obviously 18 * 1,100, so the assumptions being made are:

1. Running 18 full length trains per hour is feasible.
2. The HS2 – HS1 and the Heathrow connections are not built.

But the classic capacity figures are much more difficult to comprehend. For example, in HS2 phase one, West Coast long distance hourly seats are shown as falling from 5,800 to 1,800 (to allow more Fast Commuter trains to run).

1,800 intercity seats would approximate to three current classic trainloads, but Figure 6.3 of the PFM V4.3: Assumptions Report, also published in October 2013, indicated that seven ‘long distance’ peak trains would operate on West Coast with HS2 phase one in operation.

WCML long distance services assumed in HS2 phase one (HS2 Ltd, October 2013)

Equally obscure is the process by which HS2 would enable Slow lines Commuter capacity to increase from 3,900 to 6,500.

Written by beleben

November 17, 2014 at 2:55 pm

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

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