Joined-up thinking on HS2 and Stoke | Letters
Prof LJS Lesley on the implications of HS2 running slower trains and Dr Nicholas Falk on Stoke’s lack of connectivity to jobs and services
Your article raises many questions about HS2 (High speed rail line may cut costs by running slower trains, 14 January). At the present planned maximum speed of 225mph and a peak frequency of 18 trains an hour, there will need to be a fleet of at least eight trains, assuming no breakdowns or spares. At a reduced speed of 195mph and reduced frequency of 14 per hour, the fleet will need to be at least 11 trains. Slower trains will reduce energy costs, but a bigger fleet will increase capital costs partly offset by lower construction costs from tighter curves and steeper hills. However, a slower train will be less attractive and have fewer passengers. Presently the Virgin Birmingham service takes 16 minutes longer than the new slower HS2 service but only provides three trains an hour, which stop at intermediate stations like Birmingham International and Coventry to collect passengers. HS2 will run non-stop between London and Birmingham and begs the question of how the 350% increase in passenger capacity can be filled?
Prof LJS Lesley
• Your north of England correspondent makes a classic mistake in saying that Stoke “may only be two hours by train to London” (Brexit: The view in Stoke-on-Trent, 15 January). In fact the trains take one and a half hours and are very frequent, while the fastest to Manchester takes 38 minutes. What the city suffers from is poor connectivity to jobs and services in Crewe, Derby and the surrounding areas. Surely the government should be working on how to improve connections in the wider metropolitan area, or “constellation”, to overcome the sense of exclusion felt by the people of Stoke and other Brexit centres? The money could come from delaying going ahead with HS2.
Dr Nicholas Falk
Executive director, The Urbed Trust
Source: Guardian Transport