HS2 and rail decongestion
SKM Colin Buchanan’s August 2012 ‘Assessment of capacity allocation and utilisation on capacity constrained parts of the GB rail network’ noted that network and industry efficiency are not the same thing. ‘It may be the case that track capacity is not efficiently allocated because of the structure of the industry’.
[SKM Colin Buchanan]
[…] The [McNulty RVfM] assessment highlighted inefficient allocation of capacity on the network, measured as passenger kilometres per train-kilometre (train capacity) or train kilometres per track kilometre (track capacity), as a constraint on the industry’s ability to accommodate extra traffic and concluded that these inefficiencies may lead to infrastructure-based solutions to the problem being preferred when other means are available which would represent better value for money.
McNulty RVfM concluded that ‘demand during the peak is heavily concentrated during a high peak hour and there is more scope for accommodating demand outside of this period’.
In the case of London Midland’s Euston commuter services, it must be possible to both redistribute demand and increase capacity in the 3-hour peak, with minimal infrastructure spend.
Currently, the national rail network records around 1600 million single leg journeys per year but less than 10% are classified as ‘long distance’. Industry forecasts suggest that
- by 2020, there could be 2000 million journeys on national rail, and by 2030, ‘up to 3000’ million,
- and by 2026, Inter City West Coast could account for 50 million journeys (up from ~34 million now).
So, if government and industry forecasts are correct, (0.69 * 90 =) 62 million classic rail trips would be transferred to HS2, and
- if the year 2020 national rail forecast of 2000 million journeys is used, HS2 would ‘remove’ about 3% of passengers from the classic network (so, less than 2 years’ growth)
- if the year 2030 national rail forecast of ~3000 million journeys is used, HS2 would remove about 2% of passengers from the classic network.
The notion that HS2 would be ‘transformative’ for national rail capacity, does not stand up to scrutiny.