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Written Question
High Speed 2 Railway Line: Freight
13 Jan 2020

Questioner: Joy Morrissey (CON - Beaconsfield)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential implications for his policies on High Speed Two of the National Infrastructure Commission’s Report entitled Better Delivery: the challenge for freight, published in April 2019; whether High Speed Two will deliver the required additional capacity for future growth in freight; and what costed alternatives to High Speed Two his Department assessed to deliver similar future freight capacity.

Answered by Paul Maynard

Government is considering the recommendations of the National Infrastructure Commission’s study on the future of freight (Better Delivery: The Challenge for Freight, April 2019) and will respond in due course.

By replacing long distance passenger trains that currently run on the existing railway, HS2 will release spare capacity, particularly on the southern part of the West Coast Main Line. Subject to the outcome of the Oakervee Review and decisions by Government on whether and how to proceed with HS2, DfT expects to publish a Full Business Case which includes an assessment of the implications of HS2 for the freight industry.


Written Question
High Speed 2 Railway Line
7 Jul 2014

Questioner: Crispin Blunt (CON - Reigate)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential of (a) Elon Musk's hyperloop trains and (b) Bombardier's double-deck trains as an alternative to High Speed 2 in increasing capacity on the railways.

Answered by Robert Goodwill

The Government believes that high speed rail offers the most suitable approach to promoting economic growth and providing the long-term transport capacity our country needs. It utilises proven technologies, while untested systems such as Hyperloop risk delay to delivery, which would mean a delay to much needed capacity increases between London and Birmingham, and cost overruns.

We have considered a wide range of alternative options to a high speed railway including the use of alternative modes, a conventional speed line and upgrades to the existing rail network. Alternatives, such as the use of double deck trains on the West Coast Main Line, do not release capacity for commuter and freight services, fail to offer a robust solution to the problem of poor performance and would significantly disrupt services as upgrade work is carried out to rebuild the tunnels, bridges and other railway infrastructure that would be needed to accommodate these trains.


Written Question

Question Link

31 Mar 2014

Questioner: Stephen O'Brien

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 28 February 2014, Official Report, columns 511-2W, on High Speed 2 railway line, what calculations were done to demonstrate that alternative schemes would fail to deliver sufficient additional capacity; and what the passenger load factor of High Speed 2 will be as against the passenger load factor of longer trains.

Answered by Robert Goodwill

Since 2009 we have considered a wide range of alternative options to a high speed railway including the use of alternative modes, a conventional speed line and upgrades to the existing rail network. The alternatives do not release capacity for commuter and freight services, fail to offer a robust solution to the problem of poor service performance and would significantly disrupt services as upgrade work is carried out.

All of the calculations to demonstrate that alternative schemes would fail to deliver as much capacity as HS2 to address future levels of over-crowding have been published. These are summarised in the Strategic Case for HS2 released in October 2013 (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/hs2-strategic-case).

From the October 2013 economic case, and for the standard case run, the average all-day load factor for HS2 services in 2036 for the full network is 41%, and accordingly higher during peak periods. Equivalent data for the alternatives has been published in the HS2 Strategic Alternatives Final Report (Atkins, 2013)

(http://assets.hs2.org.uk/sites/default/files/inserts/S%26A%201_Economic%20case_0.pdf).


Written Question

Question Link

31 Mar 2014

Questioner: Stephen O'Brien

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 27 February 2014, Official Report, column 455W, on High Speed 2 railway line, on what basis it has been calculated that the (a) expense of and (b) disruption caused by adopting double-decker carriages on the West Coast Main Line would be greater than that of the construction of High Speed 2.

Answered by Robert Goodwill

Since 2009 we have considered a wide range of alternative options to a high speed railway including the use of alternative modes, a conventional speed line and upgrades to the existing rail network. The alternatives do not release capacity for commuter and freight services, fail to offer a robust solution to the problem of poor performance and would significantly disrupt services as upgrade work is carried out.

The March 2010 High Speed 2 Strategic Alternatives Study considered the potential for using double deck trains on WCML as one means of enhancing capacity on conventional rail routes between London and the West Midlands/North West. It found that whilst double decking, and the less expensive alternative of train lengthening, would increase the number of passengers per train there is a practical limit to the expansion of capacity on WCML and only limited opportunity to reduce journey times.

All of the calculations to demonstrate that alternative schemes would fail to deliver as much capacity as HS2 to address future levels of over-crowding have been published. These are summarised in the Strategic Case for HS2 released in October 2013 which can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/hs2-strategic-case

Before such trains could be used on the West Coast Mainline, the route (including diversionary routes) would need to be gauge cleared to allow sufficient space for the trains to operate. This would involve raising all overhead wires, raising bridges, modifying platforms on the route, modifying station canopies, moving or raising all signal gantries and other signage on the route, and lowering track in the tunnels. Work would need to be carried out to modify existing depots or to provide new ones. Additional works would also be required to enable line speeds to be maintained on the route.