Examining HS2’s Passenger Forecasts

Richard Lloyd, from the Heart of England High Speed Railway Action Group recently had the following graph published in the Solihull Observer.


The blue line shows the actual annual totals of passenger-miles over the last few decades, copied from Government statistics.

The green curve is an estimate for the future, based on smoothing out the bumps and dips in the blue line over the last 30 years.

So what’s the red line?  It’s the projected growth in demand for rail travel that the government are using as the basis for the case for the proposed high speed rail link.

HS2 Ltd’s expected growth in demand for passenger numbers underpins the entire case for building HS2.  This is much higher then other forecasts, such as Network Rail’s predictions.

(To be fair, HS2 Ltd’s CEO, Alison Munro told the Transport Select Committee that HS2 Ltd weren’t taking the most optimistic possible case, because  they “have assumed that there is a point in the future where demand doesn’t continue to grow” – it’s just that point is  a very long time in the future.)

The case for HS1 in Kent was also based on a large expected growth in passenger demand.  However, as the following graph shows, the actual passenger numbers are a fraction of the original projections.

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7 comments to “Examining HS2’s Passenger Forecasts”
  1. YOU SAY THE GOVERNMENT THINKS HS2 IS IN NATIONAL INTEREST .ARE THEY ALWAYS RIGHT? YOU MUST BE VERY YOUNG IF YOU THINK THAT.THIS WILL BE THE RUIN OF THIS COUNTRY AND IT CAN NEVER BE REPAIRED IF IT GOES AHEAD.JUST PUT YOURSELF IN THE SHOES OF THOSE, ABOUT TO LOOSE EVERYTHING.(DONT THINK MONEY CAN COMPENSATE)THOSE CHILDREN WHO USE HILLINGDON
    ACTIVITY CENTRE IT GIVES THEM SOME FREEDOM. SPECIAL NEEDS AND AUTISTIC ,SCHOOLS, GUIDES.
    ALL THESE AND SO MANY MORE,LIVES UPSET.HOW DO KOW THAT FIGURES GIVEN TO THE GOVERNMENT ARE NOT GIVEN BY SOMEONE WHO CAN MAKE MONEY FROM IT.OR DO YOU WORK FOR THEM?

    • i am not very young but thanks for the compliment ! i dont believe everything the government tells me i dont think anybody would. but because my opinion is different from yours then you say i am young you say i am brainwashed and you say i work for hs2 ! I could easily level similar accusations at you. how do you know you are right ? do you believe everything that stop hs2 and hs2 critics tell you ?

      you are against hs2 as things that you hold dear and are important to you will be affected by hs2. I admire you for that. there will be public hearings soon so that you can put your case there. the activity centre you speak of is obviously important to the local community. maybe the route can be amended so it doesnt have to be lost or presumably the centre could be relocated.

      but what i notice is that some hs2 critics seem to mispresent the facts of hs2. for example the primary purpose is to provide extra capacity not to just speed so called fat cats around. also the time savings are about 40 mins on the birmingham leg alone not a few minutes or 10 minutes or 20 minutes as is sometimes claimed. nor at this stage do we know what fare levels will be.

      on another blog on this site out of date graphs have been used to show that the growth rate of hs2 is supposedly flawed or that hs1 has very low levels of ridership. i am not claiming that the figures have been achieved but they are certainly more then anyone looking at those graphs might be !!

  2. also on the first graph, what happens if you base the growth over the last ten years rather then since the 1960’s when we closed half the network. just a thought……………….

  3. current figures are eurostar 9.5 million and domestic 6.5 million total 16 million. your graph is out of date. nice try ! numbers will increase when deusche bahn and eurostar run further services likely in 2012. numbers will further increase on both domestic and inernational services once hs2 and its connection to hs1 opens.

  4. did it occur to you that the government thinks that hs2 is in the national interest based on all the reports that have been done ?

  5. Makes you wonder why the gov are determine to ‘hard’ sell HS2?….honesty has no place in Politics?….who has promised what to who and for how much?…..

    Will there be another public outcry when public confidence and trust is once again eroded by Westminster?…….another ‘Chilcott’??…..has the Coalition learned nothing from Labour?…..mess with us (the people) and we will get really cheesed off – Iraq war/MP’s expenses???

    Angry person!!

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