Rail Passenger Growth

A diagram which HS2 Ltd seems particularly fond of shows rail passenger growth, which they claim shows the need for a new high speed rail line.

Here’s the version as it appeared in the David Higgins’ HS2 Plus report:

‘HS2 Plus’ GB rail passenger growth diagram

A favourite HS2 Ltd diagram



But this is misleading as the passenger numbers do not start at 0. In addition it is all rail passengers, not just the passengers who use long-distance travel on the West Coast Main Line.

The picture is very different when one includes the data for long distance passengers, especially on the West Coast Main Line.

HS2 Plus’ rail passenger growth diagram re-worked to include All long distance and WCML long distance journeys

HS2 Plus’ rail passenger growth diagram re-worked to include All long distance and WCML long distance journeys



Diagrams from Beleben.

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2 comments on “Rail Passenger Growth
  1. It is wiser to dissemble such global statistics as these are driven by population and migration aggregation from the past 50 years which if that continues will reduce the wages and property prices. There are also the more women commuters into urban area. The collective growth curve would not be the approach to detailed link planning.

    There are social and over population issues which have to be used to offset some of the densities of location and commuting. Better to put forward the red, amber and green areas than to respond only in terms of more peak capacities.

  2. I do not have a problem with the graph itself but with the HS2 spin around it.
    The standard glibberish is that ‘all rail travel’ has risen by over 100% over the period while intercity has risen by an even higher % (from ca 55m(?) to ca127m).
    They fail to point out that the truly meaningful figures are:
    intercity has risen by ca72m passenger journeys while
    non-intercity has risen by ca695m passenger journeys (1502 – 127) – (735 – 55).
    How they would crow if the non-intercity growth of 623m (nearly 9 times) more than that of intercity helped DfT’s spurious argument.

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