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Examination of Witnesses

Part of High Speed Rail (Preparation) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:30 pm on 11th July 2013.

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Nicola Shaw: The original forecasts that were made in the ’90s were very much related to the financing of the channel tunnel rail link. They came before low-cost airlines and were pretty much focused on the international services. The learning from that has been taken into the forecasting that has been done for High Speed 2, and was reset in 2007-08 when High Speed 1 opened for the full length to St Pancras. In 2009, the domestic services started and since then they have been growing 10% a year, which is ahead of where they were expected to grow, so premium fares are not putting people off. Indeed, we are seeing growth continuing.

One of the benefits for us of the Olympics was a much greater awareness of Ebbsfleet. Every day during the Olympics and the Paralympics, we saw more people using Ebbsfleet as a park-and-ride system to move into the Olympic park, and that is continuing now. Awareness of Ebbsfleet as an option in people’s travel patterns and as a park-and-ride site from the M25 into London has been greatly enhanced.