MOVING high-speed rail services on to the HS2 line when it opens will unlock massive capacity and greater connectivity for towns such as Milton Keynes, says a rail consultant.
HS2 Ltd, the company building Britain’s new high-speed railway, has released a new video explaining how the project will release valuable capacity on the West Coast Main Line, improving connectivity for growing towns and cities not directly served by the new high-speed railway.
Why does Milton Keynes need HS2? features independent rail consultant William Barter, who was interviewed at Milton Keynes Central earlier this year, before current Covid-19 restrictions were put in place.
Under normal conditions, the West Coast Main Line is the busiest mixed-use railway in Europe, serving high-speed services, slow, non-stop and frequent stopping commuter trains. Mr Barter lives in South Northamptonshire and often travels from Milton Keynes Central.
He said: “Milton Keynes is a major centre of employment. The recent Oakervee review into HS2 commissioned by the government states that connectivity could be improved between Milton Keynes, the West Midlands and the North of England, as well as the forthcoming link to East West Rail.
“This paves the way for faster and more frequent services for commuters into Milton Keynes, supporting the town’s own prosperity and role as a regional transport hub.”
HS2 creates the potential for five more commuter services in the morning peak hour from Milton Keynes to London Euston, while the evening peak hour could see a 76 per cent increase in the number of available commuter seats leaving London Euston.
“Not only will HS2 form the new backbone of our rail network but, freed of fast through trains, the lines we already have will be better able to serve the communities along them. HS2 is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform rail travel in the UK for generations to come.”
The 17:46 service from London Euston – first stop, Milton Keynes Central – was the UK’s most crowded commuter train in 2019, with more than half of its passengers having to stand. Between 1997 and 2014 both Milton Keynes and Northampton stations saw 120pc passenger growth – significantly higher than the regional average.
HS2 is now under construction between Birmingham and London and its high speed trains will run direct services further north on the existing network to cities including Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow.
by ANDREW GIBBS e: email@example.com