HS2 – Impact on Northampton
HS2 – Impact on Northampton
Indicative service plans for the existing rail network are set out in a brief paper titled "Updated economic case for HS2: explanation of the service patterns”, published on 28th January, the date of the announcement of the proposed Birmingham – Leeds and Birmingham - Manchester routes.
The document states that the service specifications shown are purely indicative. However, there will clearly be major service cuts on some existing routes, as has occurred throughout the world when new high speed lines are opened. The latest iteration of the HS2 business case has a net present value saving of £7 billion for reduced services, euphemistically called "released capacity”.
The specific proposed impacts on Northampton are as follows:
Analysis of the indicative specification suggests that Northampton will have fewer and slower trains than today
The present "all day” service has three trains an hour, two fasts (one with 2 stops and one with 4 stops) and one slow (7 stops). Taking the peaks into account, the timetable shows 55 trains a day to London.
The indicative specification published on 28th January only has two trains an hour all day, one making 4 stops, the other making 5; average journey times would be increased by c5 minutes compared with the existing fast trains. The slow train is shown to start from Milton Keynes instead of Northampton, so there would no longer be regular direct services to Berkhamsted and Hemel Hempstead. In addition there are 13 faster services, stopping at Milton Keynes and Watford only; some of these are likely to be peak trains, but 8 are shown to come from Crewe, presumably every two hours. Altogether, 45 trains a day are shown, ten less than today.
Northampton is shown in italics for the Crewe trains, suggesting that the proposed stop is not firm. Without these, the daily total would be only 37
Northampton is shown to have only has 2 trains an hour to Birmingham, instead of 3 at present
Why has the service deteriorated?
The overall deterioration is probably because DfT/HS2 Ltd have bent over backwards to continue to provide three direct London trains an hour from Coventry, reflecting the protests from that city – so one existing Birmingham – Northampton – Euston train an hour has been diverted to go direct from Rugby to Milton Keynes.
|Euston evening peak departures - Virgin trains stopping at Milton Keynes to pick up only|
|Train||Standard||First||Total||Standard||First||Total||Load factors||Empty seats (average)|
|Overall load factor||47.62||29.67||42.67|
|Note - since the counts were taken, many of these trains have been lengthened to 11 cars,|
|with 150 additional standard class seats per train|
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