- London will need nearly 50% more capacity by 2043 than it has today- equivalent to 180,000 seats and standing places.
- Even with schemes including Crossrail and Thameslink demand for seats will increasingly outstrip supply from 2020
- By 2043, approximately 80,000 additional seats and standing spaces will be needed over and above existing plans – equivalent to increasing current London rail journeys by 20 per cent
Britain is running out of space for the trains it needs
With the fastest growing network in Europe, Britain’s railway carries twice as many passengers as it did just two decades ago.
Many key routes are overcrowded, not just in London but in cities like Manchester and Leeds. Nearly a quarter of all commuters travelling into London are reported as standing.
If passenger growth in the next twenty years matches growth in the last, there will be a billion extra journeys by 2030. At the same time, the network needs more space for freight trains, which shift £30bn of goods annually with a 76% Carbon Dioxide saving over road alternatives.
Traditional options cannot deliver on the scale our economy demands
Schemes like Crossrail and HS2 are vital to help meet this increased demand in key economic hotspots. But nationally, traditional options like building new tracks or extending trains and platforms will not, on their own, deliver the space for extra trains we need.
Ultimately, we can only deliver and fund the extra space for trains we need if targeted upgrades are supported by measures that release capacity from the network we already have.
Digital modernisation delivers capacity improvements
Digital railway offers capacity and performance improvements sooner and at lower cost than conventional only enhancements and avoids disruptive conventional works.
Analysis shows that targeted digital modernisation on the national rail network offers compelling benefits. On a key economic artery, the South West Main Line, this delivers up to an additional six trains per hour at peak times alongside conventional interventions. The digital railway’s plans are being integrated with Crossrail 2 on the South West Main Line.
The digital railway is already happening: London Underground has already increased trains on the Victoria Line from 28 to 34 trains an hour, and digital deployment on the Thameslink will allow 24 trains per hour to run in each direction at peak times through the core area between Blackfriars and St Pancras International.
|Capacity challenges are most acute in our major cities|