Passing the roundhouse
The most intensively used sections of the West Coast, Midland, and East Coast Main Lines are on the London approach. According to the Department for Transport, on a typical 2013 working day, around 3,200 passengers arrived at Euston in the morning high peak hour on Virgin Trains, and 32,000 over the course of the day.
But there were another 10,000 high peak hour and 41,700 all-day arrivals on London Midland and Overground suburban trains. So, at the busiest time of the morning, three of every four rail travellers passing Camden roundhouse are on suburban trains.
On the Midland Main Line, the proportion of peak ‘suburban’ travel into St Pancras is higher still. Much of the custom of ‘long distance’ East Midlands Trains is effectively outer suburban travel, to and from points which are not in the East Midlands.
In essence, the figures indicate that investing huge amounts of cash in new-build high speed rail trackage is neither cost-effective nor justifiable on capacity grounds. The money would be much better spent on other projects.