High Speed Rail Scotland

The Ham

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On this.

Firstly, 200k pax a year is the equivalent of 2 x A320 rotations a day, unless you think you can fit nearly 300 people on a daily ‘fairly small flight’. In practice I assume Manchester - Southampton was around 4-5 daily rotations of smaller aircraft. Obviously it’s not now Flybe have gone to the wall.

Secondly, look at Newcastle. Even with a half hourly train service, and journey times well under 3 hours, and a much smaller catchment population than Glasgow / Edinburgh, it still supports 5 London rotations a day and half a million passengers. Like Manchester, most of these must be transfer passengers.

So, there will be a reduction in London - Central belt flights (as there has been already), in my view around half (a couple of years after Phase 2b is complete). @Noddy disagrees, and thinks it will be a smaller reduction. But I think @Noddy and I both agree it is unlikely to be more than a halving, partly because of transfer traffic, and partly because of those passengers who have a journey that starts or concludes sufficiently close to an airport to make the flight much more attractive. I guess we’ll see. All of this, of course, assumes that the aviation industry, the rail industry, and the economy, is back to ‘normal’ by the time HS2 is open.
I said one morning and one evening flight in each direction (i.e. a total of flights a day). Chances are there were some additional flights which didn't run daily to then drop the figures more.

According to here for Flybe:

Route Manchester – Southampton
2019 estimated passengers (MIDT) 119,474
Est. passengers daily each way (PDEW) 164

I assume that there must have been another airline providing some additional services to bring the total to the 200,000 which is seen quoted elsewhere, here:
 
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edwin_m

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HS2 say that London to both Glasgow and Edinburgh will be 3 hrs 40 min after Phase 2.
There may be a bit of time off that if some of the sections of the northern WCML that are only cleared to 110mph for non-EPS trains can be cleared to a higher speed. Nobody has tried to do this before as there hasn't been any significant use of 125mph non-tilt stock until recently.
 

HSTEd

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The Flying Scotsman does Edinburgh to York in ~2hr04.

So with 1hr24 to York, we are looking at something like 3hr28 for that train, assuming a normal stopping pattern on HS2 and the crack stopping pattern not on HS2.

I know it's just the crack express.... but still.
 

Mordac

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Mind you plans for NPR include an upgrade of the ECML north of York as far as Newcastle for the Newcastle-Leeds corridor. What these upgrades comprise of is fairly nebulous, though.
 

edwin_m

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Mind you plans for NPR include an upgrade of the ECML north of York as far as Newcastle for the Newcastle-Leeds corridor. What these upgrades comprise of is fairly nebulous, though.
This would of course benefit trains north of York whichever route they took further south. But the 27min projected time saving between London and York is one of the lowest of the HS2 city pairs and is being eroded further by these ECML enhancements. Although HS2 goes faster, for this route it is quite a bit further.
 

Noddy

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The Flying Scotsman does Edinburgh to York in ~2hr04.

So with 1hr24 to York, we are looking at something like 3hr28 for that train, assuming a normal stopping pattern on HS2 and the crack stopping pattern not on HS2.

I know it's just the crack express.... but still.

But Edinburgh trains on HS2 are due to be routed via the western arm so comparisons with York times aren’t that helpful at present!

Obviously this changes if they change the plan and route via the eastern arm.
 
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Bald Rick

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I said one morning and one evening flight in each direction (i.e. a total of flights a day). Chances are there were some additional flights which didn't run daily to then drop the figures more.

According to here for Flybe:

Route Manchester – Southampton
2019 estimated passengers (MIDT) 119,474
Est. passengers daily each way (PDEW) 164

I assume that there must have been another airline providing some additional services to bring the total to the 200,000 which is seen quoted elsewhere, here:
Apologirs, I misunderstood you when you said ’1 fairly small flight’, my mistake.
 

cle

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But Bald Rick said 50% would shift. Not me. That’s my point. It won’t happen unless a really significant section is built north of Wigan. I even said so I’m my last post.

The modal shift is a bell curve. Except for the reasons mentioned above, London-central belt is flat and wide, rather than tall and narrow (see Paris-Lyon, Madrid-Barcelona).




I don’t think EasyJet V BA has anything to do with it given we are basically talking about total numbers/market share.

Not sure about the Amsterdam comparison given you need to allow 45-60 min to get through security at St Pancras, on top of the four hour journey time.
BA and Easyjet is synonymous (in this Scotland thread) with transiting passengers vs entirely O/D. I make no other comparison - also Easyjet serving the wider South East, East Anglia and South Midlands - so making the point that for some journeys, e.g. to Cambridge or Brighton, the non-Heathrow/City airports play a role with regional centres.

Amsterdam, yes that has the check-in. I don't feel that people consider that in their Eurostar journey times today as a major set-back (vs planning for catching a flight) - conversationally people will say that it is only 2 hours to Paris etc - the security perception is nothing close to flying, especially as when you arrive, you just walk off relaxed, so that has washed away. Doesn't have the same restrictions on luggage or liquids either.

Madrid-Barcelona has scan checks too. And we know about that shift.
 

Noddy

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Amsterdam, yes that has the check-in. I don't feel that people consider that in their Eurostar journey times today as a major set-back (vs planning for catching a flight) - conversationally people will say that it is only 2 hours to Paris etc - the security perception is nothing close to flying, especially as when you arrive, you just walk off relaxed, so that has washed away. Doesn't have the same restrictions on luggage or liquids either.
I agree the checks are pretty gentle. I made the point more in reference to the additional time penalty, which is there regardless of how people ‘feel’ about it. This means Amsterdam is closer to five hours than four, compared to three hours forty to Glasgow/Edinburgh on HS2, (presumably) with no checks. So I don’t think the comparison would be fair.
 

Bald Rick

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I agree the checks are pretty gentle. I made the point more in reference to the additional time penalty, which is there regardless of how people ‘feel’ about it. This means Amsterdam is closer to five hours than four, compared to three hours forty to Glasgow/Edinburgh on HS2, (presumably) with no checks. So I don’t think the comparison would be fair.
Notably, Eurostar took over 5% of the London - Amsterdam air market in its first year, from a standing start, with 2 return trips a day, with the ‘5 hour’ journey time and with a complete pfaff on the inbound U.K. service. Clearly current circumstances make comparisons difficult, but I’d expect that with, say, 4 return trips and the inbound difficulties resolved, market share would be around 15-20%. To put that into context, it’s around a million single trip passengers, each paying an average of around £100. Big bucks for 8 trains a day (roughly twice Merseyrail’s fares income from 600 trains a day). (Yes I know it’s not a fair comparison).
 

Noddy

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Notably, Eurostar took over 5% of the London - Amsterdam air market in its first year, from a standing start, with 2 return trips a day, with the ‘5 hour’ journey time and with a complete pfaff on the inbound U.K. service. Clearly current circumstances make comparisons difficult, but I’d expect that with, say, 4 return trips and the inbound difficulties resolved, market share would be around 15-20%. To put that into context, it’s around a million single trip passengers, each paying an average of around £100. Big bucks for 8 trains a day (roughly twice Merseyrail’s fares income from 600 trains a day). (Yes I know it’s not a fair comparison).
Given that rail already had a market share (Rails share is over 20% according to NS, which seems incredibly high to me but is what they say) I’d kind of hope Eurostar would increase its share rapidly if/when it runs more direct trains! These ‘first’ trains aren’t really competing against air but just targeting people who are already going by train and changing in Brussels.

I do think comparisons with this route and HS2/Scotland are unfair though, partly as a result of it being an ‘international’ route rather than ‘domestic’, partly that Schiphol is a major transit hub which Edinburgh/Glasgow aren’t (which is in airs favour), and partly that Amsterdam is a huge tourist magnet (which is probably in the trains favour). It may prove a interesting barometer in the ‘magic’ 4hr train v plane discourse, but I would just suggest a little caution if you’re going to use it to support a model, just as I would with Paris-Lyon, Paris-Amsterdam etc.

I also think we need to be a little careful about our linguistics. Our discussion over HS2/Scotland has largely been focused on (reducing) the existing air market, eg by 50%, and not discussing it as a percentage of the total market. In this Amsterdam case we are talking about gaining market share (eg 5%) but this isn’t (necessarily) the same as reducing the air market by 5%.
 
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HSTEd

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Isn't reducing journey times betweeN Scotland and English cities likely to cause drastic increase in incidental traffic?

Perhaps the air market is unlikely to be decimated, but the air market's modal share could still collapse.
 

Bald Rick

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Isn't reducing journey times betweeN Scotland and English cities likely to cause drastic increase in incidental traffic?

Perhaps the air market is unlikely to be decimated, but the air market's modal share could still collapse.
I wouldn’t say ‘drastic increase’, but there would definitely be generated trips.
 

NotATrainspott

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A hidden factor in Eurostar vs plane is the time zone difference. That means you either have an hour more or an hour less to do the journey and be at your destination in time. That may push people to plane, even for the Continent to UK journey where the shift makes journeys 'faster'. London-Scotland journeys won't be affected by that.
 

Glenmutchkin

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A hidden factor in Eurostar vs plane is the time zone difference. That means you either have an hour more or an hour less to do the journey and be at your destination in time. That may push people to plane, even for the Continent to UK journey where the shift makes journeys 'faster'. London-Scotland journeys won't be affected by that.
Until the Westminster Government scrap Summer Time and Holyrood retains it.
 

GetTaeFalkirk

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Until the Westminster Government scrap Summer Time and Holyrood retains it.
Eek, that's a very complex and potentially very heated political subject, probably best for a different thread.

We are, understandably, very pro-Europe here (in Scotland) and the EU has voted to scrap daylight saving time. But I'm not sure what Europe wants, on this occasion, is best for Scotland.
 

HSTEd

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Until the Westminster Government scrap Summer Time and Holyrood retains it.
Holyrood will have to break with the EU if they vote for Summer time continuing.

ANd only an idiot would adopt GMT+1 as a standard timezone at our longitude.
But again off topic.
 

Bald Rick

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A hidden factor in Eurostar vs plane is the time zone difference. That means you either have an hour more or an hour less to do the journey and be at your destination in time. That may push people to plane, even for the Continent to UK journey where the shift makes journeys 'faster'. London-Scotland journeys won't be affected by that.
Or it may push people to the train. Who knows?

I know plenty of people who fly one way and train the other, depending on circumstance. Including me.
 

NotATrainspott

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Or it may push people to the train. Who knows?

I know plenty of people who fly one way and train the other, depending on circumstance. Including me.
What I'm thinking is that if you're meant to be in an office by 10am on the continent, then that means every mode of transport effectively takes another hour unless you're happy to shift your time (e.g. wakeup) forward to match. Some won't mind, but others will. If the journey length is near the rail-vs-plane tipping point then that 'extra hour' could have a disproportionate impact. The same would be true for the opposite direction too.

The Concorde effect may be very real. The westbound services were very useful because it meant people could be up at a normal time in Europe then be in New York for the start of business the same day. However, once they're done, there's little point getting Concorde back eastwards as leaving NY at end of day means arriving in Europe in the middle of the night after having no sleep. If you can instead take a subsonic business/first class seat on with a lie-flat bed you can land in Europe again ready for the office without much jet lag.

The only thing that north-south journeys have to worry about is daylight savings time, which is all a bit of nonsense anyway.
 

Bald Rick

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What I'm thinking is that if you're meant to be in an office by 10am on the continent, then that means every mode of transport effectively takes another hour unless you're happy to shift your time (e.g. wakeup) forward to match. Some won't mind, but others will. If the journey length is near the rail-vs-plane tipping point then that 'extra hour' could have a disproportionate impact. The same would be true for the opposite direction too.
Yep I get that, but if you need to be in an office ‘on the continent’ by 1000, from London, for a location served by train, then your choices are the first train or first plane. Depending how convenient it is for you to get to Heathrow, Luton or St Pancras, and how close your ‘office’ is to CDG, Gare du Nord, Zaventem, or Brussels Midi will determine which route you take. There’s very little in it time wise check in to arrivals once you take into account security arrangements for air travel.

The point is that there isn’t a tipping ‘point’. It’s a tipping plateau. It depends on each individual’s personal choice on their view on time, cost and convenience / comfort.
 

NotATrainspott

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Yep I get that, but if you need to be in an office ‘on the continent’ by 1000, from London, for a location served by train, then your choices are the first train or first plane. Depending how convenient it is for you to get to Heathrow, Luton or St Pancras, and how close your ‘office’ is to CDG, Gare du Nord, Zaventem, or Brussels Midi will determine which route you take. There’s very little in it time wise check in to arrivals once you take into account security arrangements for air travel.

The point is that there isn’t a tipping ‘point’. It’s a tipping plateau. It depends on each individual’s personal choice on their view on time, cost and convenience / comfort.
The summation of each individual personal tipping point produces a sigmoid distribution. That's what the evidence tells us from other regions with strong HSR vs air competition. There will always be demand for both rail and air even at fairly extreme journey time differences. Even a grand Scotland to London dedicated route at maximum speed all the way won't manage to kill all domestic flights. Once you've got all the easy air-to-rail switchers, the rest of them will be harder and harder to shift to rail for a large number of reasons. Further investment in getting journey times down beyond the end of the major shift period can't really be justified on taking over remaining air journeys. The same is true at the other end of the curve. For instance, speeding up or even slowing down the Highland Chieftan by half an hour isn't going to make that much of a difference to the air-rail journey balance between London and Inverness.

That brings up a worthwhile point. Speed isn't everything. People take the train from Inverness to London today because it's more convenient, even if dramatically slower, than going by plane for most door-to-door journeys. It's likewise entirely possible that people will fly despite it being slower than taking the train on some journeys. If you're planning to interline at Heathrow anyway, then staying within the airport/airline world with checked baggage is entirely rational.

We can't base hundred-year infrastructure decisions on the idea that Flygskam will stick around forever. Before too long (in infrastructure terms), all the feeder services into Heathrow will be by hybrid and then purely electric aircraft. Any environmental benefit through going by rail and then switching to long-haul flight at Heathrow will be basically nil. It's still generally useful to provide onward rail links to places with their own airports which could sustain their own feeder services, but that's not a good enough reason to spend a lot on special infrastructure.

In all honesty the only real long-term point of Heathrow as a station on an HSR route is as London Parkway. While OOC will do a great job of soaking up Thames Valley interchangers, plus maybe some other radial routes enabled by Chiltern on the NNML or the southern rail link to Heathrow, it's not that useful for places beyond there. The main blocker is that the trains would already be full with passengers starting/ending in OOC and Euston, so there's no real point stopping again. That's not true at the other end at Birmingham or Manchester where the out-of-town parkway station is considered a vital part of the city region's HS2 service.
 

edwin_m

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In all honesty the only real long-term point of Heathrow as a station on an HSR route is as London Parkway. While OOC will do a great job of soaking up Thames Valley interchangers, plus maybe some other radial routes enabled by Chiltern on the NNML or the southern rail link to Heathrow, it's not that useful for places beyond there. The main blocker is that the trains would already be full with passengers starting/ending in OOC and Euston, so there's no real point stopping again. That's not true at the other end at Birmingham or Manchester where the out-of-town parkway station is considered a vital part of the city region's HS2 service.
As is being discussed on the OOC thread, there is a "watershed" somewhere in the Reading/Didcot area beyond which it will still be quicker to get the classic service to Birmingham. Depending on the transfer time to New Street or Moor Street there would be a similar watershed nearby for those continuing to HS2 stations beyond. So the rail option for Scotland to the South West is going to be changing at Birmingham not at OOC.

The Parkway role for London is essentially filled by those people who have to drive, doing so to a convenient station where they can catch a train to OOC or Euston. The rail network in the South East is dense and frequent enough to make that viable for many people, but without an improbable degree of "levelling up" for local services in the meantime it will be far less so around Birmingham and Manchester.
 

Sad Sprinter

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Notably, Eurostar took over 5% of the London - Amsterdam air market in its first year, from a standing start, with 2 return trips a day, with the ‘5 hour’ journey time and with a complete pfaff on the inbound U.K. service. Clearly current circumstances make comparisons difficult, but I’d expect that with, say, 4 return trips and the inbound difficulties resolved, market share would be around 15-20%. To put that into context, it’s around a million single trip passengers, each paying an average of around £100. Big bucks for 8 trains a day (roughly twice Merseyrail’s fares income from 600 trains a day). (Yes I know it’s not a fair comparison).
This is quite interesting, does it suggest that the 3hr travel to for HSR to compete with air can be stretched somewhat? I can imagine for British people in particular, going by train to the Continent, despite a much longer journey time compared to air, may generate passengers for the train journey itself? Rather than say, Continental Europeans who are assumingly more used to travelling cross-border by train so its less of a novelty.

If 5 hrs by train can still make a dent (albeit small) in air market share, could other European destinations more further afield be possible Eurostar destinations? I believe there is already a thread on this topic though...
 

edwin_m

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The 3hr threshold was based on what happened with various Continental city pairs when high speed services were introduced. It pre-dates the tightening of airport security in 2006 which made air travel take somewhat longer and (perhaps more importantly) made people feel demeaned and reminded them of the danger. So it's probably reasonable to expect that the threshold has pushed out a bit beyond 3hr, and Eurostar Amsterdam experience tends to support this.
 

si404

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3 hours was never a step threshold, but more the point where train dominance is considered to start declining. It's decline is gradual at first, so it's really not a magic number.

It's also a generalisation and specific conditions can push it further.
 

FQTV

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Notably, Eurostar took over 5% of the London - Amsterdam air market in its first year, from a standing start, with 2 return trips a day, with the ‘5 hour’ journey time and with a complete pfaff on the inbound U.K. service. Clearly current circumstances make comparisons difficult, but I’d expect that with, say, 4 return trips and the inbound difficulties resolved, market share would be around 15-20%. To put that into context, it’s around a million single trip passengers, each paying an average of around £100. Big bucks for 8 trains a day (roughly twice Merseyrail’s fares income from 600 trains a day). (Yes I know it’s not a fair comparison).
This is quite interesting, does it suggest that the 3hr travel to for HSR to compete with air can be stretched somewhat? I can imagine for British people in particular, going by train to the Continent, despite a much longer journey time compared to air, may generate passengers for the train journey itself? Rather than say, Continental Europeans who are assumingly more used to travelling cross-border by train so its less of a novelty.

If 5 hrs by train can still make a dent (albeit small) in air market share, could other European destinations more further afield be possible Eurostar destinations? I believe there is already a thread on this topic though...
The problem that you have again got here is that, effectively, Eurostar is 'seat dumping' on to the London to Amsterdam corridor, which in many ways is what no-frills air carriers have done on some routes, what the Middle Eastern airlines have done on others and, indeed, WCML and ECML service improvements have done on their routes. So, whilst Eurostar is claiming a market share of 5%, @Noddy is also quite correct that NS was already reporting a significant market share pre-Eurostar.

In numbers terms, there are about 4 million passenger journeys by air per annum between London and Amsterdam. A twice-daily Eurostar service adds just under 1.1 million seats a year. They are therefore providing massively increased capacity, and if and when they increase frequency, they could be up to providing about a third of the daily seats between the two if air services don't drop. In theory, then, assuming similar loadings, they should be achieving 33% and up to 50% market share; the latter if they achieve modal shift to reduce the number of passengers by air, without increasing the overall numbers travelling. That, however, somewhat ignores the fact that the Eurostar services are extensions to Brussels services, so the numbers are less clear. It's further muddied by the fact that Eurostar have been dumping the seats at very low fares - at least for the outbounds from London. £39 in Standard has been fairly easy to get since launch. We also hear that, because of that, Brussels customers are ticketing to Amsterdam and stopping short. So, is the data based on tickets or door counters?

However, again, you also have to look at what makes up the aviation market. KLM serves 20 UK airports, and while BA may have 80% interlining on some of its domestic flights, it's not unusual for KLM shorthaul flights to be almost 100%. KLM exists almost solely to support Schiphol as a hub, in effectively the same way that Emirates Airline does for Dubai. If there's no interlining option between Eurostar and KLM for London originators, and none between Eurostar and British Airways for Amsterdam originators, then there is little to no chance of conquesting this market, even if both Heathrow and Schiphol were Eurostar station calls.

The Eurostar service is very good in itself; it's a useful addition to travel options and at the moment it's a compelling proposition for some point-to-point, possibly price-sensitive, demand, and will almost certainly grow the overall market - especially for discretionary travel (if that's considered a good thing). What it hasn't got is either KLM or British Airways or indeed easyJet clamouring to take a stake in it, or offering to work with it. And if BA did see a planeload a day drop off in demand, they'd just send that plane to Nice or Geneva or anywhere else that they think that they can make more money out of - no tracks required.
 

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