To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the implications for his Department's policies of the finding of the July 2019 Railway Gazette International report that the real time performance speed of trains in the UK were 13th in a table of world rankings; and if he will make a statement.
The type of role that railways play, for example the relative mix of local and commuter demand versus regional and longer distance travel, varies from country to country. The UK has one of the most intensively utilised rail networks in Europe, with many commuter services and over 4,000 extra services per week having been added over the past couple of years. The UK rail system has some of the highest passenger satisfaction levels in Europe, and the recent Transport Focus National Rail Passenger Survey Spring 2019 reported that the biggest single factor impacting on passenger satisfaction was punctuality, at a 36% contribution, whilst ‘journey length’ only made a 7% contribution. Furthermore, to the limited extent that journey length is considered important, 84% of passengers surveyed were satisfied with ‘the length of time the journey was scheduled to take (speed)’, the third highest satisfaction level out of the 40 different aspects of a rail journey assessed.
Once construction of HS2 has been completed trains would be capable of operations up to 360km/h, however HS2 is about much more than just speed, it brings enhanced capacity, in particular released capacity on the existing rail network connectivity and wider economic benefits.