Capacity issues will get worse without HS2, experts warn

Capacity issues will get worse without HS2, experts warn

The Transport Committee have questioned experts on the Government’s recent decision to scrap the Birmingham-to-Manchester sections of HS2. 

The questions focused on whether the decision made economic sense and how the Government decided that the decision represented the best value-for-money option.

Speaking on capacity, Professor Andrew McNaughton, former technical director of HS2 until 2017, warned that without HS2 running past Birmingham, capacity would need to be curbed.

“We modelled on growth of two percent per year in the last decade however numbers on long distance travel far exceeded that, with growth of between five and six percent per year.

Covid bought us a few years, through to 2030 however, 2030 is now rapidly approaching and without HS2, capacity will have to be curbed.”

Changing passenger patterns was given as one of the reasons as to why HS2 Phase 2 should not go ahead, after the pandemic had altered commuter travel patterns, and the panel were asked how this affected the need for HS2 Phase 2.

Richard Bowker, former head of the Strategic Rail Authority said that it was hard to know whether or not numbers would return but that signs suggested that they were and the capacity issues on the line that HS2 would alleviate, would still be there, regardless of whether numbers returned post-pandemic.

With the cancellation of HS2, the government released funds for Network North. The committee asked whether the opportunities that Network North presented, could help.

Richard Morris, former managing director at Crossrail said on the new proposals;

“If we remember Beeching, there was no idea about social needs, lines were shut because they didn’t pay. And now we see that might have been a bit of a mistake. So, the social side of it is important.

You can do a cost benefit analysis of that and say, socially it is a good thing to do. So if we are going to put money into the north, we should look at the social aspect and say whether or not it is worth doing.”

The committee also probed the panel on issues with freight and the social and economic consequences of Phase 2’s cancellation.

Photo: iStock



Putting Passengers First

This issue highlights the latest topics within the rail industry, from decarbonising the Midlands, improving rail safety, meeting the future priorities of Scotland's Railway & more!                                                      


View all videos
TransCityRail Banner


South \ 28 09 23
North \ 09 11 23
Mids \ 29 02 24

TransCityRail is a series of regional, interactive and insightful events across the country bringing together leaders, collaborators, problem solvers and innovators in a creative and invigorating way.

This series of events supports and informs the whole of the rail industry and connects suppliers with buyers, specifiers, leaders and decision-makers looking to procure a wide variety of innovative products and services for their region.


TransCityRail North

The North of England is home to almost a quarter of the UK’s entire population, so it’s no surprise that continued investment across the regions railway is a priority for Transport for the North, Network Rail, HS2, Operators and Major Contractors.

For over a decade the TransCityRail NORTH conference, exhibition and networking dinner has been uniting the leaders of industry responsible for building shaping and delivering rail infrastructure investment across the region for a day of collaboration, conversation and engagement.

This year we have another star studied line-up of keynote speakers and panel discussions on strategic rail investment for the region, Transpennine Route Upgrade and Northern Powerhouse Rail revealing £billions in opportunity for the supply chain.

More articles...

View all