HS2 versus do-minimum, part three
With all Pendolinos reconfigured to have extra Standard class accommodation, in the ‘Higher Growth Scenario’, passenger load on the London to Birmingham rail service ‘could‘ reach 124% on Friday evenings. In, er, 2033/2034. According to the Department for Transport.
For London to Manchester, the figure ‘could’ be 105% (etc).
But what ‘could’ be the load factor, if
(i) all available paths were used, and
(ii) high capacity rolling stock replaced the existing trains?
As can be seen from the bar chart above, a Hitachi Class 800 IEP train can offer around a third more Standard class seats than current Class 390 Pendolinos (of the same length).
If all available paths were used, and operated by 260-metre IEPs, the indications are that load factors would be well below 100% on all intercity West Coast services, on Friday evenings, in the ‘Higher Growth’ scenario. Neither HS2, nor the Atkins Strategic Alternative, are required to meet foreseeable intercity demand.