The Taxpayers Alliance published a report today showing that HS2 will lead to fewer seats – even for passengers using HS2.
They’ve carefully analysed the details of the HS2 reports, looking at such things as service frequency that HS2 suggest, and the length of HS2 trains beyond Birmingham.
The Government has committed to upping the numbers of carriages on WCML trains from 2012, increasing the number of seats to 589 on routes like Manchester to London.
However, the HS2 documentation shows that for trains beyond Birmingham, there will only be 550 seats on each HS2 train: that’s fewer seats then the classic services they will replace. However HS2 are also predicting that three times as many people will be using the Manchester to Euston service.
It gets worse – the Department for Transport argue that to have more then three trains per hour between Euston and Manchester, £1.6 billion would need to be spent on improvements to the network north of Lichfield, currently the end of the proposed HS2 line. This money is not included in the HS2 budgets: it’s an extra amount of money needed for improvements. But unless this money being spent, even after HS2 is built, the DfT say there will still only be three trains an hour to Manchester.
So, in the HS2 world, at the end of the £17 billion spend on phase 1 of HS2, you have the same number of trains to Manchester as in 2012, but with fewer seats!
How does this help the people in Manchester?
The report can be downloaded here.
The report assumes that platforms won’t be made longer and forgets that many passenges on the London-Manchester route are travelling to destinations such as Soke-on-Trent and Milton Keynes who may transfer to other services. You cannot deny that HS2 will provide additional capacity on the network even if it goes no further north than Birmingham.
What services to MK? HS2 Ltd say that if their proposed railway is built, there will be fewer Pendolinos on the WCML, meaning that services like the existing fast trains from Milton Keynes to Manchester will be reduced.
Some confusion here. It is the train sets that will have 550 seats; not the train. As is the case on High Speed services on the European mainland, two train sets will be coupled together to make a train. Each train will then have 1,100 seats.
No, no confusion in the Taxpayers Alliance report.
The consultation document, p74, states “Shorter “classic compatible” trains, also capable of highspeed running, would serve cities off the high-speed network.”
Manchester will not be part of the HS2 network, unless the second phase is built. So when the first phase is built, the HS2 compatible trains that go on to Manchester will be one of these shorter ones – just like the TPA report said.