HS2 – a passenger view

23 June 2015

If you were going to create a train service from scratch, what would passengers want the railway to look and feel like, what type of service would they expect?

We asked passengers what they would like out of High Speed Two (HS2). Passengers expect HS2 trains and services that are a source of pride throughout Great Britain; a national asset from which the whole country can benefit. These are the key findings of new research by Transport Focus, the independent watchdog, into passengers’ priorities for HS2.

These findings are vital not only for the building of HS2, but also for today’s rail services.

Anthony Smith, Transport Focus’s chief executive, said:
“Building a brand new railway presents a unique opportunity for passengers. HS2 has the potential to transform travel between our major cities, but this can only be achieved by really understanding the needs of passengers.
“To build greater trust with passengers, it is important not only to deliver a punctual and reliable service but, a service with passengers at its heart.”

Professor Andrew McNaughton, HS2 Technical Director said:
“HS2 will transform long-distance rail travel in the UK and create a step change in passenger experience. Not just faster journeys; but easy to use, designed for everyone and utterly dependable. Building from scratch, we can design a railway fit for the twenty-first century.
“That’s why it’s so important that we listen to what passengers want. Today’s report will help us focus on the issues that matter. We will use it to feed into our design work and rolling stock procurement and, ultimately, help us build a better railway.”

This research, High Speed Two: putting the passenger at the heart of design, also found that:

  • the panel want to be treated as valued ‘customers’ who have needs beyond simply getting from A to B alone
  • the panel felt the rail industry could improve its customer service to match service levels found in other sectors such as retail, technology and on airlines. HS2 should  prioritise customer needs to ensure its experience is ‘designed for the customer’
  • there was a strong plea for affordable ticket pricing so that HS2 is truly accessible for all
  • the role and approach of staff alongside proactive, accurate communication is crucial for customers to feel valued.

Click High Speed Two: putting the passenger at the heart of design to download the report.

Further details about the passenger panel research can be found by clicking the picture below. 


High Speed Two Limited asked Transport Focus to set up a passenger panel consisting of a spread of demographics and travel behaviours. Forty rail passengers gave their views and ideas via workshops and an online community over one year.

Research is still ongoing and the panel will now run until March 2016.

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