die belebende Bedenkung

HS2 and rail crowding

with one comment

On 9 September the Department for Transport released its list of the top ten most crowded trains and rail passenger numbers in England and Wales for 2014.

[BBC, 9 Sep 2015]

The DfT warns that there are problems with the reliability of the [‘top ten’] figures, in particular that standard class passengers were counted on a single day that is not necessarily representative.

Also, the passengers are counted by somebody on the train, which means human error is possible, especially on particularly crowded trains.

Top 10 most crowded trains 2014

04:22 Glasgow Central to Manchester Airport
16:00 Manchester Airport to Edinburgh
06:31 Reading to London Paddington
07:57 London Heathrow to London Paddington
07:02 Reading to London Paddington
06:35 Caterham to Victoria
07:24 Brighton to Bedford
18:00 Manchester Airport to Edinburgh
07:32 Woking to London Waterloo
07:02 Woking to London Waterloo

As part of its HS2 evangelism, in July 2015 the government stated that “London Midland services regularly feature in the top 10 most crowded in the country”.

Yet no Euston services featured in the 2014 ‘top ten’. Why might that be? Perhaps because London Midland welcomed “a £62 million DfT-funded fleet of new electric trains into service from October 2014 […] providing extra carriages on some of the busiest morning and evening services to and from London Euston”.

Longtime readers of the Beleben blog will be aware that London Midland crowding has been mostly caused by shortages in rolling stock.


Written by beleben

September 10, 2015 at 9:10 am

Posted in HS2

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One Response

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  1. There are many other questions to be asked of DfT besides the London Midland no-show which they continually say is “full”. Claiming a “snap-shot” of the network is of course totally ludicrous, a snap-shot giving a highly accurate picture in the frame but DfT uses monitors, of which there must have been thousands on the day checking all the other trains which might have been in the top ten.
    It must be a great job as a monitor on the star performer in first place from Glasgow to Manchester Airport with just four carriages to peruse over a 4-hour leisurely trip. Pity the poor monitors on the two Woking to Waterloo runs with 12 carriages to squeeze through (I’m sure they were popular) and over 1000 to count in under an hour.
    DfT gives some explanation of causes and remedial actions but does not point out that, when HS2 arrives, the direct Manchester Airport – Scotland services will disappear.
    DfT does not explain that the routes into Paddington would be massively less loaded if they would only build a direct link from the West into Heathrow or that Crossrail will reduce the mainline pressure even sooner.
    As the Woking information shows (what DfT confirms elsewhere) the vast majority of rail travel is simple commuter in-out morning-evening to/from the cities and not long distance.
    With this quality of ‘scientific’ analysis, can there be any hope that DfT will do a better job with HS2?
    No issue with this answer – “No”.


    September 13, 2015 at 7:22 pm

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