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Too much capacity and not enough capacity (at the same time)

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With growing demand for travel on Britain’s existing conventional-speed railway, there is not enough capacity, so a new railway is needed (according to HS2 Ltd).

But if a new ‘conventional’ line were built, it would attract fewer passengers. So it would not be commercially rational to offer so many services which would result in less new capacity being introduced, unless the new railway was very high speed (according to HS2 Ltd).

So the expected future demand is ‘too much’, and ‘not enough’ – at the same time.

This contradictory gobbledygook appeared in a November 2016 letter supposedly written by HS2 then-chief executive Simon Kirby, aimed at explaining away misinformation given to parliamentary committees and a railway magazine.

[Extract from letter by HS2 CEO Simon Kirby dated 24 November 2016, but not sent out until February 2017]

The rationale for the quotes by David Higgins and myself is established in the report ‘HS2 Strategic Alternatives’ published in October 2013. This report shows that a conventional speed line would attract significantly fewer passengers from existing services and from alternative modes. Unlike HS2, a conventional speed line would not lead to the release of significant additional capacity on existing lines. A conventional speed line would also generate less demand from new growth and so fail to achieve the strategic purpose of HS2 which is to rebalance Britain. Because it would attract fewer passengers it would not be commercially rational to offer so many services which would result in less new capacity being introduced.

Letter from HS2 CEO Simon Kirby dated 24 Nov 2016, about the 'context' for misleading capacity claims

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Written by beleben

March 29, 2017 at 10:45 am

Posted in HS2, Politics

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  1. […] the blog Too much capacity and not enough capacity (at the same time), Beleben website, […]

  2. […] the blog Too much capacity and not enough capacity (at the same time), Beleben website, […]


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