HS2 ‘released capacity’ deceit
One of HS2’s key benefits is the ‘releasing of capacity for city region rail service expansion on existing lines’, according to Greengauge 21’s Jim Steer.
How plausible is this claim? According to Mr Steer’s Steer Davies Gleave company, for Yorkshire city regions, the “opportunity and scope to remove services from the existing network is ‘limited'”.
For ‘limited’, read ‘almost non-existent’. Another way of looking at the potential for released capacity is to examine what places could be served by a Leeds to London HS2 train.
As is plain to see, HS2 could not provide fast-service connections from Leeds for East Coast Main Line destinations like Wakefield, Doncaster, and Peterborough. It is not much more than a ‘railway to London, and London only’.
If ECML fast trains were withdrawn to “release capacity for new services”, the “new services” would have to be more or less the same as the ‘old’ withdrawn ones. Otherwise, there would be a loss of connectivity.
On the western leg of HS2, the situation would be much the same. Capacity ‘released’ by HS2 on existing lines would have to be ‘unreleased’, by replacing the old discontinued services with new ones, which would be more or less the same – or perhaps a bit slower.