High Speed Rail - Transport Committee Contents

Further written evidence from the AGAHST Federation (HSR 115A)

During the oral evidence session held on Tuesday 12 July, I promised to provide an answer to a question asked about the impact on revenues of reducing the number of first class carriages on the WCML Pendolinos from four to three, although I see that HS2AA picked this up in brief at paragraph 16 of their new submission.

This is my response.

First class load factors on the West Coast Main Line are much lower than standard class (c15-20% only, compared with c50% in standard class) and first class volumes have recently dropped, reflecting reductions in corporate and public sector expenses paid first class business travel as a result of the recession and public expenditure cuts. First class yields per passenger have also declined substantially, reflecting the shift to much cheaper, train specific advance purchase tickets, in first class as well as standard. It is doubtful whether any InterCity trains on the West Coast Main Line currently need more than three first class vehicles. If one of the current four first class car in each unit is reconfigured as standard class, this change could almost certainly be carried out without any reduction in revenue, as the tiny minority of trains on which a reduction of one first class vehicle might cause a shortage of first class capacity could be managed through yield management techniques.

July 2011

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