Friday capacity to spare
Page 29 of the Department for Transport’s November 2015 Demand and Capacity Pressures on the West Coast Main Line report included a representation of intercity passenger volumes in the evening peak (‘Figure 9’), which was intended to bolster the capacity case for HS2.
On Friday evenings, people have to stand on some Euston intercity departures. But as can be seen, that must be a result of inefficient planning and operations management, rather than capacity shortage.
That is because eleven 589-seat Pendolinos, in their current configuration, would provide 6,479 seats each hour – well above the highest (Friday 19:00-20:00) passenger number in DfT’s Figure 9.
But further capacity can be provided, at very low cost compared to HS2 (and no on-track disruption). For example, converting one Pendolino carriage in each train to Standard class would raise hourly capacity, with 11 trains, to 6,787.
Using 10-car IEP trains (715-seats) instead of Pendolinos would raise eleven-train hourly capacity to 7,865, which is twice as large as peak Friday demand. (A 10-car IEP does not require longer platforms than an 11-car Pendolino.)
Because evening commuter demand tends to subside earlier, it would also be possible to re-assign (unused) London Midland paths to run more intercity trains between 7pm and 8pm.
So there is plenty of unused capacity — and considerable opportunity to increase it further — without even resorting to platform lengthening, or resignalling.