die belebende Bedenkung

HS2 and London Midland punctuality

with 2 comments

According to the Department for Transport’s November 2015 Supplement to the October 2013 Strategic Case for HS2, commuter trains on the West Coast Main Line are less punctual than on other routes, partly because of the intensity of operation.

[Supplement to the October 2013 Strategic Case, Executive summary, DfT, 2015]

Recent London Midland punctuality was 83.2 per cent compared to 88.7 per cent for the wider London commuter network.

The claims that

  1. ‘London Midland commuter trains run on intensively used track, which makes for unreliable service’;
  2. ‘HS2 would reduce the intensity of use of the existing track, thereby making the remaining services more reliable’;

are not particularly convincing. Most Euston commuter trains do not run on the ‘intensively-used’ Fast lines; they use the Relief (‘Slow’) lines. In the peak, there are just eight London Midland trains per hour on the Slow lines, which is not particularly intensive.

Eight London Midland trains per hour on the WCML Slow lines in the peak, is that 'intensive'?

Eight London Midland trains per hour on the WCML Slow lines in the peak, is that ‘intensive’?

Anyone who thinks ‘HS2 would allow a more punctual classic service by reducing the number of trains on the Relief lines’, might need to study the ‘before’ and ‘after’ service pattern in Professor Andrew McNaughton’s February 2015 presentation (below).

Prof Andrew McNaughton, West Coast Main Line 'Released capacity' slide, February 2015

Written by beleben

December 4, 2015 at 11:46 am

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

2 Responses

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  1. Maybe I should take more pictures of the arrivals display when I come in to Euston on the overnight train – often 30 minutes early. Consistently around 40-50% of the trains shown arriving are showing early arrivals against the official times, the rest are nearly all arriving as scheduled.

    A real disappointment for the current blockades between Rugby and Milton Keynes, is that there is no use made of the route Bletchley-Bedford-Wigston-Nuneaton, with an enhanced (221 122 micro Voyager used to supplement the 1-coach DMU) service Nuneaton-Coventry for connections, easily faster than the coach transfers and potentially provided simply by running the Holyhead services this way. Unfortunately, when the other part of East-West Rail opens, all the ‘escape’ routes face the wrong way, so a reversal at Oxford or a set back at Bicester would be required to get round. Now a real (and rapid) strategy might be to restore or fit in these key connections, as they can remove some of the freight movements which clog up capacity on lines close in to London, where it is needed for commuter paths, and provide the diversionary routes that allow longer and more efficient blockades and associated work.

    Dave H (@BCCletts)

    December 4, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    • The Coventry Nuneaton route has suffered from ‘indifference’ and when it ran through to Leicester, made a range of journeys simpler.


      December 27, 2015 at 8:36 am

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