HS2: NETWORK RAIL INVESTMENT CONFIRMS CAPACITY ISSUE IS WITH COMMUTERS, NOT LONG DISTANCE.

HS2 ACTION ALLIANCE

NEWS

 

March 31, 2014.

 

HS2: NETWORK RAIL INVESTMENT CONFIRMS CAPACITY ISSUE IS WITH COMMUTERS, NOT LONG DISTANCE.

 

Richard Houghton of HS2 opposition group HS2 Action Alliance (HS2AA), commenting on Network Rail’s £38 billion investment, said:

 

“The increase in rail journeys in London and the South East alone in 2013 versus 2012  – 49 million more – exceeds the total number of 30 million long-distance journeys made on Virgin Rail in a year.

 

“By confirming a £38 billion investment in what is essentially and primarily local and commuter rail improvements, Network Rail – the people who really understand the rail system – is confirming the real need is for massive improvements in local transport, not for high speed rail.

 

“But the investment is chasing the problem – not leapfrogging it. Diverting a fraction of the cost of HS2 into more common-sense and real-world local rail projects would mean more of the country benefits.

 

“More than 90% of rail journeys are less than 30 miles, therefore more than 90% of rail users in areas subject to investment and development stand to benefit from that investment. When Mark Carne of Network Rail spoke about increased demand for rail, he was referring to the 5% annual rise in commuter rail travel. Long distance rail travel is at best flat-lining, and in some cases declining.

 

“HS2, on the other hand, is irrelevant; there is a great deal of nonsense spoken about overcrowding being a reason for HS2. The route it could replace – the West Coast Main Line – operates at 52% of its capacity during peak times.

 

“It is notable that Network Rail makes no reference to fast or long-distance issues in announcing its investment, but does say it plans to enhance the network so that it is able to operate 700 more trains a day between major northern cities, introduce a 20% increase in the capacity of London’s commuter trains – 100,000 London commuters stand every day into work – electrify 850 miles of track, and drive an east-west rail project connecting Oxford and Milton Keynes. It also mentions upgrades for stations including Birmingham New Street and ManchesterVictoria which are genuinely falling massively short of their potential both in terms of capacity and basic passenger comfort.”

 

Ends

 

Further information:

 

North:

Iain Macauley

im@pressrelations.co.uk

07788 978800

 

Midlands:

John Read

john.read@readdillon.com

07774 476391

 

South:

Peter Chegwyn

chegwyn@talk21.com

07931 177940

 

http://www.hs2actionalliance.org/