The west coast route, which is the busiest railway in Britain ‘could benefit from faster, more frequent trains, less crowding and better connections if the first phase of the proposed high speed rail line between London and Birmingham goes ahead as planned’.
Network Rail and Passenger Focus have concluded today that the extra capacity on HS2 could significantly improve the experience for West Coast Passengers, releasing extra capacity on the 125 mph trains that currently service this route. Locations not served by HS2 such as Northampton, Milton Keynes, Watford Junction and London, would benefit from the extra capacity. Meeting forecast future demand from these areas, with twelve trains per hour serving these important cities.
In addition freight could also be significantly improved through the Trent Valley and destinations between London and the West Midlands.
Anthony Smith, Passenger Focus chief executive said:
“Passengers know that with more people using the West Coast Main Line it is only a matter of time before capacity runs out. If a new line was to free up this much-needed route passengers, especially commuters, have signalled they want to be able to get seat as well as more direct services.”
Passengers clearly stated first and foremost they want to be able get a seat. Direct services were also high up the list of priorities for both current passenger and non-users. In the additional comments section punctuality and reliability also featured.
Paul Plummer, Network Rail group strategy director, said:
“The West Coast Main Line is Britain’s busiest and most economically vital rail artery – but by 2024 it will be full, with no more space to accommodate the continued predicted growth in demand.
“HS2 would not only transform travel between our major cities, it is also the best way to solve the capacity crunch facing passengers and businesses on the West Coast Main Line.
“This joint study with Passenger Focus means we now know what commuters, business and leisure travellers and freight companies want from their railway, so we can work with our customers and government to help plan for a future West Coast Main Line which best meets the their needs and supports rather than stifles economic growth.”
In the majority of cases Network Rail has concluded that the outputs identified in the study could be delivered when the proposed new line between London and Birmingham opens.
The second stage of this study will ‘develop a more detailed understanding of any trade-offs between outputs in order to provide the best overall level service on the West Coast Main Line in the future’.
Parallel Project Training are dedicated to supporting organisations develop and deliver complex projects such as HS2, with a wide range of training and development options.