“Empty seats from Euston, full trains in London”

John Redwood, Conservative MP for Workingham is a notable opponent of HS2 and has been challenging the Department for Transport on the rationale for building it.

Recently he wrote on his blog

One day after the essential vote on the principles of the HS2 Bill I received a reply to questions I had posed to the Transport Department. I asked about how full or empty trains are out of Euston in the morning peaks. I have long argued from my own experience that there is no capacity problem to the north for business people wanting to go at prime time.

The Ministry has confirmed that in the first hour trains out of Euston have 82.1% of their seats empty. In the second hour they have 62.6% of their seats empty, and in the third hour taking us up to 8.59 am they have 54.8% of their seats empty. I rest my case. A shortage of seats to get to the Northern cities to do a day’s work and boost the northern economy is not a problem.

I have also looked up where most of the travellers are, in the light of arguments that London and the South East has enjoyed too much of the investment money in the railways in recent years. I have discovered that 72.7% of the journeys undertaken on the entire British network are in London, the South East and Eastern region bordering London. All journeys in regions without a border with London account for just 27% of the total. Within this Wales has 1.7% of total national journeys, Scotland 5.3%, and the North East 0.8%.

Similarly, in the evenings, long distance trains from Euston are half full. In figures released for the judicial review, the DfT admitted that during the three hour peak period, long distance trains out of Euston have an average loading factor of 52.2%.

The data supplied to John Redword can be downloaded here.

See also John Redwood’s posts Would you invest your money in HS2? and Cheap train tickets again.

One comment to ““Empty seats from Euston, full trains in London””
  1. Luckily for him he can get a Judicial Review, when us up North can’t even get one to overturn illegal judgements made by lazy and incompetent judges.

    Of course one of the reasons the seats are empty outside of London is that people can’t afford to travel by trains, like they used to. So why don;t they spend all this proposed money for HS2 on renewing the whole Network Rail and bringing in ‘Double Decker Trains’ like we see on TV, all over the world?

    The biggest costs for doing this would be raising the height of bridges over the railways, and there are bridges in Birmingham that are already falling down, yet no ones probably checked them for years.

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