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The ‘Greens4HS2’ misinformation campaign, part two

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The Greens4HS2 campaign is all about misinformation and greenwashing, as is demonstrated by the Twitter feed of group members such as Pete Johnson (@pedrojuk) and Adam Turner (@AdamWJT). Today (23 October 2021) Mr Turner tweeted that ‘apparently every intercity train moved across to HS2 would free up space for *two* new local services and/or more freight by rail’.

But actual evidence for HS2 allowing two ‘local’ stopping services to run in the place of ‘one intercity train moved to HS2’, is nowhere to be found.

Consider for example, the case of the two-track Birmingham to Coventry line, which is used by intercity trains to and from London Euston, and on which capacity is supposed to be freed up by HS2.

In the ‘scenarios’ put forward in the official West Midlands Rail Investment Strategy published in 2019 (when HS2 phase one was expected to open in 2026), it can be seen that it is not possible to double the stopping service. (It is possible to tweak the service level of individual stations, but of course such tweaking could be done now, and does not require the construction of HS2.)

Irrespective of HS2, there has to be a fast service between Birmingham New Street, Birmingham International, and Coventry, meaning in practice that it is not possible to double the stopping service.

If all fast passenger trains were removed from the line, it would be possible to run a frequent stopping service, but this would cause modal shift to car, and a reduction in passengers carried. That is because the fastest train journeys from Birmingham to Coventry would become much slower, while the new frequent stopping services would run largely empty. The housing density around stations on the Coventry line is too low to support a metro-style frequency.

These observations would also apply to other stretches of line supposedly freed up by HS2, such as Doncaster to Leeds, and Stoke-on-Trent to Manchester. The official forecasting models do not support the claim that HS2 would enable ‘one stopping train to be replaced by two or more stopping services’ on existing the rail network, which is presumably why Gareth Dennis and Greens4HS2 make no reference to PFM.

WMRIS, indicative Coventry rail paths with and without HS2

Written by beleben

October 23, 2021 at 3:13 pm

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