The number of passengers using trains on the route for the proposed High Speed 2 railway have been revealed to be half empty (or half full, depending on your view of the proposals).

The Freedom of Information figures were disclosed the day before a High Court case into the decision not to release them. In its justification behind the plans for the high speed route the Government argued that current trains were too full.

The Telegraph report:

Ministers say the controversial £34 billion train line from London to Birmingham and Manchester is “desperately needed” to tackle a “capacity crisis” and “time bomb” on the existing route to these cities, the West Coast Main Line (WCML).

They claim that passenger numbers on the WCML are growing so fast that it will soon be “full” unless action is taken.

In fact, however, the Government’s own official passenger counts show that almost half the seats on the line’s peak-time trains last year were empty.

You can read the full story here. 

I am a journalist and author. I am a staff writer at the UK edition of WIRED magazine and in 2015 my book, Freedom of Information: A Practical Guide for UK Journalists, was published. I created FOI Directory in 2012.