First, Second and Pleb class for HS2 trains

Today’s Daily Mail has an article saying that HS2 trains might have three classes of carriage when it opens. According to the Mail some rows will only have two seats across the carriage and but third class carriages will have five seat rows.

Meanwhile, we are told that HS2 is needed to increase capacity – and yet if this plan does go ahead, some HS2 carriages will have significantly fewer seats than others.

To look at Virgin’s pendolino trains, the difference in numbers of seats is quite startling, because the first class carriages also have more space between rows of seats. A typical standard class carriage with 4 seats across has 76 seats, but the maximum number in a first class carriage is 46 where there are three seats across the row. This is one of the reasons why swopping out first class carriages is such an easy way to increase capacity.

The other factor is the cost of the journeys. For the first few years of the HS2 plans, it was claimed that there would be no premium pricing for HS2. HS2 trips would cost the same as conventional speed journeys. But this is not the experience of passengers in Kent, where HS1 journeys are around 25% more than conventional alternatives.

The HS2 scheme is now a long way from the days when there were expected to be 18 trains an hour in each direction carrying up to 1,100 passengers per train.

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