High speed rail could hugely increase commuter trains to London

HS2 network could mean more direct trains to London

A  huge increase in direct commuter trains to London will be one of the benefits of the new high speed rail network.

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said that the transfer of intercity services to the new high speed line would free up significant space on the existing network.

This would mean that towns such as Milton Keynes, Northampton and Rugby could become much better connected to the capital.

The Department for Transport and HS2 Ltd have already established that an extra 11 services could be run on the West Coast Main Line every hour once the first phase of HS2 is built from London to the West Midlands, which will also be linked to the HS1 line to the Channel Tunnel.

The second phase will connect to Manchester and Leeds, as well as creating a direct link to Heathrow, bringing Sheffield and Leeds within an hour and a quarter of the major airport.

It could deliver similar improvements for commuter locations on the East Coast Main Line such as Luton, Bedford and Stevenage.

Mr Hammond announced that an industry-led group headed by Passenger Focus and Network Rail will be established to investigate how best to use the extra capacity.

“Our proposed new high speed rail network would free up a huge amount of space on the current railways for more trains to operate," he said.

"Building a whole new line would create scope for people who live on the current lines to have more frequent services that are less crowded – I would also hope that this additional competition could mean cheaper fares as well.

"We desperately need the extra trains and capacity that a new high speed rail network would bring. By bringing in the expertise of Passenger Focus and Network Rail at this early stage in the process, we can ensure that best possible use would be made of this new capacity."

The Department for Transport estimates the cost of the complete 'Y' shaped high speed network at £32 billion and expects it to generate economic benefits of around £44bn and fare revenues of around £27bn over a 60-year period.

The government is currently holding a public consultation on its proposals for high speed rail which runs until July 29.

Further information

Here's more on the high speed rail network public consultation

The IET Transport Policy Panel, on behalf of the IET Trustees, intends to submit a response to this consultation and invites comments from members who have expertise in this area and have studied the consultation documents. 

In its capacity as a professional body, the IET will confine itself to only addressing those questions that are within its area(s) of competence.

Here is the IET policy submission

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