HS2 and London Midland punctuality
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
- ‘London Midland commuter trains run on intensively used track, which makes for unreliable service’;
- ‘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.
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).