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To maximise rail capacity, do not build HS2

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A survey of more than 2,000 people published today found that only 12 per cent believe HS2 represents “good value for taxpayers’ money” (The Times reported on 11 February).

[Cost of HS2 never properly analysed, warns rail expert, The Times, 11 February 2019][…]

The government defended the scheme, which is already being built by about 7,000 employees working on the line. It said that more capacity was needed on the main north-south rail route in England and insisted that HS2 would drive economic growth.

HS2 is not needed to provide ‘more capacity on the main north-south rail route’, nor is there any evidence that it is a good way to ‘drive economic growth’.

The most cost-effective and environmentally-friendly way to increase intercity and commuter capacity on the West Coast main line, is to use higher capacity trains.

Comparison of Class 700 and Class 350/2 Standard train capacities (240-metre train)

For example, using 12-car trains similar to the Class 700 running out of St Pancras would increase Standard passenger capacity on Euston’s commuter services by ~65% (assuming Euston’s existing commuter services are 12-car Class 350 trains).

In fact, many Euston commuter services in the peak are not ‘full length’ 12 cars, so the potential capacity increase from this measure alone would be more than 65%.

As has been pointed out on the Beleben blog, space-efficient trains could also meet all foreseeable requirements for intercity capacity on the West Coast route. The £56+ billion freed up by not building HS2 could be redirected to numerous better projects, such as creating S-Bahn systems in Leeds and Manchester, and a ‘Northern counties rail’ network across the North of England.

Quicksilver media HS2 poll, Feb 2019

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Written by beleben

February 11, 2019 at 2:26 pm

Posted in HS2, Politics, Railways

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