The wrong infrastructure in the wrong place
As can be seen from the Steer Davies Gleave diagram below, rail journeys into London from the South and East are over eight times as numerous as the combined total from the North of England, the Midlands and Scotland. Network Rail is planning for passenger demand on the network to double by the year 2030.
If passenger demand doubled from the 2007 level, the number of annual journeys from the South and East into London would reach 596 million, compared with just 68 million from the North, the Midlands, and Scotland combined.
But Network Rail have never said that new lines are needed to accommodate 298 million extra passengers into London from the South and East. They claim a new line – HS2 – is only needed to accommodate the comparatively trivial volumes of passengers from the Midlands and North. Obviously, this claim makes no sense.
Why then, do they make the claim? Network Rail is funded by government grants and subsidies, and is part of the public sector. When the secretary of state for transport says, “Jump!”, Network Rail responds “How high?”.
Growth forecasts suggest that population, and therefore rail demand, will increase faster in the South East, than in the Midlands and North. So HS2 would be a £55+ billion investment in the wrong kind of infrastructure, in the wrong place.