The majority of Guild of Travel Management Companies’ member clients support the planned HS2 high speed rail project and the desire for it to connect with mainland Europe.


They say the need for additional capacity and saving time are the main reasons for wanting the controversial scheme to go ahead.


These are among findings of a rail survey which also found guild members in favour of allowing train companies in the UK to compete against each other on the same lines.


The GTMC analysed data from a survey of more than 1,000 respondents who travelled by rail a minimum of six times a year for UK business trips of 50 miles or more.


Questions on HS2 showed 56% in support of it and only 25% opposed.


Almost three quarters (74%) said it is important or very important that HS2 links Heathrow.


More than 60% of the respondents said that any high-speed rail service from the north of England should connect to mainland Europe and a quarter believe additional capacity is the most convincing argument for the service, with 22% saying speed.


On the subject of rail franchises, 45% said that ten-year franchises encourage complacency, 72% agree that some railway franchises should be publicly owned and 61% support the retention of the public ownership of the East Coast mainline.


The company car has taken a back seat due to higher petrol prices, congestion and not being able to work when travelling, according to the poll.


The provision of Wi-Fi and electrical points appears to be improving with only 11% saying there was no internet connection on the route they used and just 18% saying there were no power points on their trains.


But business travellers were unhappy about having to stand due to overcrowding. More than half (57%) said they are often or nearly always forced to stand from the beginning of their journey in to or from work and the high price of short notice tickets is still an issue.


On the wish list was more Wi-Fi, more power points, better catering and business lounges at stations and onboard.


Bike storage was another request – both onboard and at stations; 80% of those in the 18 to 29-year-old range asked for this facility on board trains.


Guild chief executive Paul Wait said: “74% of the survey respondents said that train operating companies should be able to compete against each other on the same lines and the GTMC will be using this and other supporting data to lobby government for ‘Open Access’ to be more widely adopted across the network, as franchises expire during the next Parliament.


“Essentially we will be arguing to bring true competition to the network in order to get a better deal for business travellers on price, capacity and innovation.”


Wait added: “Of particular interest are the results for those in the 18-29 age group category; they outperformed the average in buying first class travel and wanting more first class capacity.


“In total 56% are in support of HS2 but this rises to 70% amongst the 18 to 29-year-olds surveyed.”