HS2: The mystery of the missing rush-hour seats

UKIP Transport spokesman Jill Seymour has called for an urgent investigation into the funding of HS2 after a new report highlighted plans to dramatically cut the number of rush-hour seats.

Back in 2013, a report from the Department for Transport predicted a capacity of 19,800 seats on HS2 services during the rush-hour 5pm-6pm period, on high-speed trains from London Euston.

But in the latest ‘HS2 Strategic Case’ analysis, that figure has been scaled back to 15,700 – a fall of more than 20%.

In other words, one fifth of expected HS2 rush hour seats have mysteriously gone missing.

Stop HS2, which is campaigning against the project, has highlighted the situation by comparing the two conflicting reports, side by side, which show a dramatic difference in expected capacity by 2033.

Mrs Seymour said: “We’ve always known this is a vanity project that the British people don’t want or need – now it seems even the HS2 management team are resigned to the fact.

“Why would they already be scaling back the number of rush-hour seats they intend to provide, if they didn’t realise that they had dramatically over-estimated demand for the service?”

She called for an urgent investigation into the funding of HS2 on the back of the latest revelations.

“If the number of seats on rush-hour services are due to be cut by more than 20%, it is only right and proper that the salaries of the officials, and the overall HS2 budget, does the same.

“HS2 is dead in the water. It will be out of date before it is even opened, and there are far more pressing transport matters in need of investment across the UK right now.”