The reports provided here come in various formats, indicated on the download link. Portable Document File (.pdf) files require Adobe Acrobat reader, Document (.doc) files require Microsoft Word. Other reports are html documents which you can click on directly. If you have any questions, please get in touch.

PTN Document

HS2 : the case for a review : report on a workshop

23 May 2016

PTN helped to organise a Workshop in York in April entitled

HS2 : time to proceed or time to review alternative strategies ? 

The 40 participants were professionals with a wide range of views.  A Report on the discussion concludes that there is indeed an urgent need to pause the HS2 project, although not all the findings are equally endorsed by all participants.

High Speed 2 has been promoted as a means of improving rail capacity and connectivity between London and the North of England, rebalancing the UK economy and increasing sustainability.  On each of these four counts the proposed scheme is found to be seriously deficient, and in addition there are profound concerns over its opportunity cost, its independence from the classic rail network, its environmental damage and its wider economic impacts.

The Report is entitled  HS2 and the railway network : the case for a review.

It can be found here > 

HS2 - the case for a review.pdf

Below are links to the correspondence that led to the Workshop, its programme, the slides of the presentations and various other documents.

Letter to the Prime Minister and replies  >

HS2 PM original letter + replies.pdf

Programme of the Workshop  >
HS2 Workshop - programme.pdf

Presentations  >

1 - Jim Steer.pptx
7A - Jonathan Tyler.odp
[over-ride the 'does not exist' message !]
8 - Crozet.pdf

We also heard a radical appeal to the professions to face up to the
realities of climate change (which the HS2 project does not do)  >
Mayer Hillman paper.pdf

More documents may be added later.

Comments are welcome by email to

PTN Document

An integrated timetable for the East Coast

13 June 2014


What matters most for the East Coast Main Line is a good timetable - one that is attractive for passengers and that makes the best use of valuable capacity.  That should be the starting point for judging the franchise bids and the case for open access - and it is also very relevant if the franchise stays in public hands with the present East Coast company.  The proposals in this report start from a clean sheet and develop an integrated, regular-interval timetable on the model of the Swiss Taktfahrplan.  They are intended to provoke discussion, and comments are welcome.  They will provide the basis for similar plans for related services and maybe in due course for the national network.

Read the report:  SPIRIT--ECML.pdf


You can comment on this article, and read others' comments here.

PTN Document

Lessons from (and for) Switzerland

12 December 2013

Switzerland is commonly regarded as the standard-setter for an integrated, high-quality public transport system.  Its hallmarks are

*   coordination between modes and among a multitude of operators;

*  a simple fares system;

*  common standards and good connectivity across the whole country;  and

*  an ethos of public service grounded in public approval in referendums and set in statute.

This contrasts sharply with policy and practice in Britain and thus sets an interesting and important agenda for exchanges between the two countries.  Jonathan has worked with the Embassy of Switzerland in London for over ten years to organise visits and workshops.  The most recent and most successful of these took place in November 2013.  A brief report and the presentations can be accessed here, and a fuller report and articles will follow in 2014.

The material illustrates what Britain could learn from Switzerland but also shows that in some respects the Swiss are victims of their own success, since their policies appear to be promoting hyper-mobility: catering for peak volumes is becoming increasingly expensive and raises deep questions about its sustainability.  Does Britain manage peak demand better ?

Swiss Embassy Workshop

Summary:  Swiss-UK_Railway Workshop_Nov_2013_Summary Report.pdf



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PTN Document

Timetabling HS2

3 April 2012

In September 2010 Greengauge 21 commissioned PTN to construct a timetable for the combined service of the proposed new high-speed railway [HS2] and the existing West Coast Main Line [WCML], as it might operate when phase 1 of HS2 opens in about 2026.  Hitherto only rather vague statements had been made about how capacity released at the southern end of WCML following the transfer of services to HS2 might be used, and Greengauge believed that support for HS2 would be strengthened by demonstrating the benefits offered by new services, additional seats for commuters and extra paths for freight trains.

The general findings of the study were published by Greengauge in February 2011:

The detailed report was finalised in July 2011 and includes extensive documentation of the timetable ideas.  This material can be found here :

*  the report at WCML+HS2 report.doc

*  the timetable graphs and 'netzgrafik' summaries of the proposals at WCML+HS2 graphs.doc

*  a summary of the suggested public timetable at WCML+HS2 public timetable.xls

As far as PTN knows this is the only timetabling that has been conducted for HS2 services in any depth.  We find this rather astonishing and will be commenting on the issue in other entries.



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PTN Document

Open Access on a congested railway : the sceptical case

2 April 2012

In the autumn of 2011 the Office of Rail Regulation [ORR] ran a consultation on the potential for increased on-rail competition.  The consultation document and the academic paper accompanying it were manifestly supportive of promoting more competition, ie. more open access.  The responses however were more mixed: the only unequivocal support came from two organisations with a direct interest, while other passenger operators, local governments and the freight industry expressed considerable reservations.  The Department for Transport made very clear its disquiet, thereby highlighting the absurdity of the overlapping functions (it estimates that open access increases the net cost of the railway by £30m/year).

PTN made a comprehensive submission, looking at on-rail competition from every aspect and drawing attention to some overlooked disadvantages of open access.

The ORR documents and the responses can be found at

PTN's submission: ORR_competition_consultation_PTN.doc .


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PTN Document

A Taktfahrplan for the East Coast Main Line

23 September 2009

In October 2008 PTN submitted proposals for an integrated timetable for the East Coast Main Line [ECML] to the Office of Rail Regulation [ORR]. This built on earlier work sponsored by the Department for Transport [DfT] and formed part of a project for the Association of Train Operating Companies [ATOC].

The timetable is built around seven inter-city passenger trains per hour, including open-access services.  With certain defined exceptions it complies with the Rules of the Plan.  MOIRA, the standard railway tool for evaluating timetable changes, estimates that revenue would increase by about £15 million annually.  A bold recast on the ECML could also initiate moves toward a more coherent national network, in line with the statutory duties of ORR and the objectives of DfT and Network Rail.

The proposals were ignored by both ORR and Network Rail.

The paper summarises PTN's methodology and judgments. A zip file contains the timetable graphs, netgraphs and analytical spreadsheets.