News that there will be more seats on trains for the Olympics is great, but it is a false dawn for HS2 opponents claiming this means we can easily solve our capacity problems.
Shortly after the Express & Star published the story ‘500,000 extra seats on trains for Olympics‘ there were claims on Twitter from opponents including Jerry Marshall that there was no capacity problem.
He argued, as did others on the Express & Star comment board, that this was proof capacity demands could be solved on the existing network without HS2.
In their haste they overlooked the vital point that most commuters and rail users don’t want to travel at midnight.
The Olympic requirement is for extended operating hours. Hence on the West Coast Main Line as on other railways additional trains are being run after normal close of service every day, even later on the two ceremony nights, plus early on Sunday mornings.
Routinely for the games Virgin Trains is running 7 extra late night trains every night; London Midland is running 1. Virgin is running 3 extra services into Euston early on Sunday mornings (e.g. 0650 ex Manchester), with another 4 early Sunday services for the first two Sundays, which are expected to be busy. London Midland is running 2 more on Sundays.
Clearly this is good news and just what is needed for the Olympics, but has no relevance to normal operations when the capacity is needed peak and daytime.
By making such statements in haste HS2 critics are highlighting the fact we can only add significant capacity outside of the times when it is really needed.