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Turning West Coast Fast tracks to mixed-traffic means fewer trains, not more

with 2 comments

In the blurb for its video posted on Youtube on 8 October, HS2 Ltd claimed that the High Speed Two railway “will improve your journey, even if you don’t use our trains. Building HS2 frees up a massive amount of space on the existing railway by placing high speed services on their own pair of tracks. Once HS2 is operating, services can run much closer together, there will be space for future growth in passenger numbers and more freight can travel by rail.”

HS2 Ltd Youtube video, posted 08 Oct 2019

Of course, HS2 is irrelevant to the needs of everyday travellers. The best way to improve rail journeys from Croydon to London, Rainford to Liverpool, Helensburgh to Glasgow, or Merthyr to Cardiff, would be to move funds away from HS2, to the existing network.

Outdated and uncompetitive rail transport in the North: Kirkby station, Merseyside, by Raymond Knapman (Creative Commons)

The claim that HS2 would place high speed services on their ‘own pair of tracks, allowing other services to run much closer together’, has no factual basis.

orr-wcs-uptofive

High speed services from Euston already have their own pair of tracks, known as the Fast lines. The HS2 plan for these Fast lines is to turn them into a mixed-traffic railway, where fewer – not more – trains could run.

DfT confirmation of fewer (not more) trains on WCML South in the modelled HS2 scenarios

DfT confirmation of fewer (not more) trains on WCML South in the modelled HS2 scenarios

Written by beleben

October 9, 2019 at 11:52 am

Posted in HS2, Politics

2 Responses

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  1. The response of the DfT is interesting regarding the number of trains expected to run after the Virgin svcs have been transferred to HS2.I cannot help being underwhelmed by the prospect of fewer trains on the West Coast although I do understand the impact of a mixed traffic railway on capacity.They might be able to offer the prospect of even interval frequencies but the DfT response raises a lot of questions
    I can see that HS2 could improve some journeys for local passengers.It all depends on geography and the flows that you mention in Croydon,Glasgow,Cardiff,and Liverpool will require a separate solution
    Flows such as Lincoln to Nottingham.Bawtry to Doncaster,Sheffield to Hull,Manchester to Grimsby could potentially benefit from Inter city traffic being diverted away from the mainline
    It is a complex issue which deserves more study and analysis and costs so that we can make informed decisions.

    David Gaule

    October 9, 2019 at 1:42 pm

  2. […] No evidence is offered by Mr Smyth for the claim that HS2 would provide ‘the same capacity as a ten-lane motorway in normal use’ or ‘deliver more efficient use of three of the UK’s main railway lines’. He has not explained what the terms “in normal use” and “more efficient use” are supposed to mean. The Department for Transport has confirmed that the modelled post-HS2 use of the West Coast Main Line South involves fewer (not more) trains operating. This is an inevitable consequence of the HS2 idea of turning the WCML fast lines into a mixed-traffic railway. […]


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