A small number of major cities (Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds) get significant medium term (2026/2033) benefits from HS2. But many more towns and cities will see no improvements to their train services in the meantime, with many having worse services when frequencies are cut and additional stops added when major city to city flows are transferred to HS2. Also, some cities which are to have HS2 services (York, Newcastle) will see no increase in capacity, as frequencies with HS2 will not be increased and train capacity will be at best no greater – yet the Government claims both that passenger numbers will treble with HS2, and that capacity is the critical issue!
There are also disbenefits on other routes not obviously affected, particularly the routes from Paddington to South Wales and the West of England, as journey times will be extended by about 5 minutes as all trains will stop at the new Old Oak Common station.
The source for this information is material published by the Government:
• The “Service specification assumptions for the Y network”, as set out in the “Economic Case for HS2: Updated Appraisal” report.
• The December 2009 “Day 1 train Service Assumptions for Demand Modelling” which sets out the assumptions on remaining services on the existing West Coast Main Line after HS2 Phase 1 has opened.
The latter document has not been updated, almost certainly because of its sensitivity. But the latest HS2 business case shows a saving of £5.1billion (Net Present Value) as a result of service reductions on the existing network.