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Fewer seats on most HS2 trains

with 6 comments

The majority of trains operating on the proposed HS2 railway between London and the West Midlands ‘in 2026’ would have fewer seats than the current service (West Coast 11-carriage Pendolinos), according to HS2 Ltd information analysed by the Beleben blog.

HS2 Ltd: GB high speed rail, trainset requirement
(does not include maintenance spares, etc)
HS2 London West Midlands Off-
London – Birmingham, Captive 7 14
London – Manchester, Classic Compatible (CC) 13 13
London – Liverpool, CC 10 10
London – Preston, CC 4 4
London – Glasgow, CC 10 10
Y network     
London – Birmingham,
7 14
London – Manchester,
10 19
London – Liverpool, CC 9 9
London – Preston, CC 5 5
London – Glasgow /
Edinburgh, CC
36 36
London – Leeds, Captive 8 14
London – Leeds, CC 4 4
London – York, CC 4 4
London – Newcastle, CC 11 11
Heathrow – Manchester,
Captive *
4 4
Heathrow – Leeds, Captive * 4 4
Birmingham – Manchester,
4 4
Birmingham – Glasgow /
Edinburgh, CC
8 8
Birmingham – Leeds, Captive 5 5
Birmingham – Newcastle, CC 5 5
* = Plans for the HS2 Heathrow spur now appear to be permanently ‘paused’

But what would be the situation ‘in 2033’, with the Y network to Leeds and Manchester in place?

As can be seen from the table above, HS2 anticipate that the vast majority of Y network services would be provided by ‘half length’ 200-metre trains. In other words, the ‘additional capacity’ provided by HS2 at enormous cost, is mostly unnecessary and / or unusable.

Written by beleben

September 7, 2015 at 9:49 am

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

6 Responses

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  1. They would’t need to have the same capacity as existing trains because they are serving far fewer stations and would therefore not be usable for journeys between many station pairs.

    Anglo-Scottish trains.

    The Claims (Strategic Case for HS2 2013 para 4.8.3 HS2 Ltd )
    “Scotland will benefit from high speed services from Edinburgh and Glasgow as soon as Phase One of HS2 opens. Phase Two is expected to reduce journey times by up to an hour without the need to change trains.”

    In a typical weekday 37 trains depart from Glasgow and 52 from Edinburgh towards England. London is served by two routes: East Coast and West Coast. Trains also run from both cities to Manchester Airport. Birmingham is served via direct trains from Glasgow and also Cross-Country trains from Edinburgh via Newcastle, Leeds and Derby. The latter also serve many more destinations in SW England. In total the southbound trains make around 930 separate station calls each day.

    Current Pendolinos between Glasgow and London typically take around 4h30 and call at 6 or more stations. Over the course of a typical weekday the 15 trains on this service serve 120 stations. The fastest East Coast train takes 4 hours to reach London, with only one call at Newcastle. Most of the other 21 East Coast trains have 6 or 8 stops and take around 4h30. They call at 158 stations each day.

    The initial HS2 offering after Phase One opens is one train each hour from Glasgow to London calling only at Preston. As this train will not have the tilt capability of Pendolinos it will travel slower on the WCML north of Lichfield. Although the train will be faster than a Pendolino between Euston and Lichfield it is debatable whether the overall journey time will be quicker than a Pendolino calling only at Preston. It could be argued that Old Oak Common and Euston should not be treated as separate destinations as they are in such close proximity. If they are not counted separately, then the 16 HS2 trains will provide only 32 calls per day.

    So how many seats are required on an hourly Glasgow – London train that only stops at Preston?


    September 8, 2015 at 12:03 pm

  2. Can you explain what the table represents – it’s not made clear.

    Andrew Morris

    November 16, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    • HS2 Ltd: GB high speed rail, trainset requirement
      (does not include maintenance spares, etc)


      November 17, 2015 at 1:33 pm

      • Thanks – I missed the “trainset”.

        At first glance the figures don’t seem to make sense, like Liverpool’s trainsets dropping, but I assume that’s because the journey time drops when phase 2 opens. But that doesn’t also happen for Preston, which gets an extra train set. Where do the Liverpool and Preston those figures come from?

        Andrew Morris

        November 17, 2015 at 2:03 pm

      • All the figures are from HS2 Ltd.


        November 18, 2015 at 1:01 pm

  3. […] Leeds — London, Birmingham — London, and Manchester — London services would require 47 captive sets (according to HS2 […]

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