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Topic Title: High Speed Two
Topic Summary: views?
Created On: 24 March 2011 03:30 PM
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 24 March 2011 03:30 PM
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Chris Richards

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Joined: 09 December 2010

The Department for Transport is consulting on proposals for a national high speed rail network for the UK. The Government believes that such a network is necessary to keep up with the pace of change in other countries and ensure Britain remains competitive, alongside bringing the cities of the UK closer together, enable businesses to operate more productively, support employment growth and regeneration, provide a genuine alternative to domestic aviation, and create a platform for delivering long-term and sustainable economic growth and prosperity.

The IET's Transport Policy Panel and Rail Network TPN are currently drafting the IET's response to the Government's High Speed Two consultation.

Do you feel the proposals will meet the ambitions of the Government (as set out in the paragraph above)? Discuss!

More: The full list of questions
 10 May 2011 02:01 PM
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rallen

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I am surprised that no-one has yet posted on this subject, given the level of emotions it has stirred.

I am broadly in favour of HS2 as part of a wider high-speed network. In isolation, it would be of limited use but as part of a wider network, it will help to improve journey opportunities between the capital and the densely-populated areas of the Midlands and the Lancashire/Yorkshire central belt. It will also enable capacity to be released on the existing Wst Coast Main Line, where at present opportunities for travel to or from intermediate stations such as Milton Keynes and Rugby are restricted, as are the opportunities for freight and commuter traffic.

My area of concern is that it has been widely reported in the media that HS2 will lead to significant reductions in services to many intermediate stations; in particular it has been reported that Coventry would only retain one train per hour to London post-HS2 rather than the present three. This sort of negative publicity (and negative publicity always receives more coverage than postive) is a dange to the project as it reinforces that belief that there are more losers than winners.

I do wonder, though, if the right choice has been chosen for HS2. I believe that had the London - Bristol/Cardiff corridor been chosen for the country's second high-speed line, this would have had significant advantages, such as reducing the perception that the routes to Briston and South Wales are of secondary importance than the routes to the Midlands and North. Furthermore, given that there is a significant level of traffic from intermediate stations such as Swindon, an "HS M4" could offer sifgnificant reductions in journey times between London/Reading and Bristol/Cardiff and beyond, leaving the existing route for intermediate traffic. Such a new route could run largely parallel to the existing M4 motorway and rail links, although significant upgrading/new build would be necessary west of Cardiff as this section of line has muh lower line speeds than east of Cardiff. The only drawback would be the cost of a second Severn Tunnel or a new rail bridge.

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rallen
 01 June 2011 06:30 PM
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wahiba

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Joined: 22 November 2002

I am not sure if more efficient use could not be made of the exisiting infrastructure. As communications technology is reducing the need for extensive face to face meeting it seems that a meeting could start as the delegates travel in so that the bread and butter stuff is sorted before everyone arrives for the meat. (usually a good chiwag and beers, but better not go there)

Personally I think future surface transport should be off the ground. A suspended monorail system with a totally enclosed track is less prone to weather problems, does not cut food producing farmland up, farming can take place beneath the overhead track.

Stevensons twin rails system has had a pretty good run, but I think it is time for a bit of lateral thinking on the transportation front.
 02 June 2011 11:22 AM
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lsharpe

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Re previous comment: A suspended monorail would be far more visually intrusive than track at ground level - and running across open countryside it would look a lot worse than a line of pylons, too.

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Lorna Sharpe (IET transport editor)
 15 June 2011 06:14 PM
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MikeWrigley

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I happened on this thread when looking for something else but found it interesting if a bit short, considering what I see as the importance of the project. I have no idea what the issues are but it might be an idea to take a look at what has been done elsewhere. There are HS point to point links but the "points" have to be pretty important poles of population. Take a look at France's HS network. It's a compromise of trafic density over some arteries and extensions on normal track to reach other (still respectably sized) towns. A TGV that goes into the Alps can't be expected to travel at high speed anyway but overall journey time from Lausanne or Geneva to Paris is still very favorable when compared with the private car. The track doesn't have to be upgraded over all its length as we saw with Eurostar in its earlier days. Thalys trains have been happily running on "normal" track whilst the economic case for upgrading has been made. If one looks at what the Commission has in store for Europe we see similar projects such as the Danube corridor where traffic densities are likely to make it worth while. Topography influences the policy too. Whereas French TGVs are cut out to link distant poles the German ICE is comfortable with more frequent stops.
Just my centime's worth
Mike

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Mike Wrigley
Past Chairman, French Network
 23 July 2011 04:32 PM
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ckirkwood

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I do not believe that high speed rail links are the correct option at this time. I do not believe the benefits of such a system will weigh up against the cost. I think it's also worth considering the physical aspects of high speed rail in the UK, i.e. the relatively short distances between towns and cities compared to those on the continent (and other countries which already have high speed rail networks, such as Japan) and the required number of stops. Instead money should be spent upgrading the existing rail network, In particular the signalling system, and reinstating the many disused lines around the country, especially those serving rural communities.
 27 July 2011 01:29 PM
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JohnRollason

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I agree with ckirkwood. The UK is a small country compared to others that have benefitted from high speed rail. We already have the fastest average journey times in Western Europe! Also, as others have mentioned, we should be investing in 21st century technology alternatives which also will reduce the need to travel.

My blog on the subject: http://communities.netapp.com/...-why-waste-time-on-why
 29 July 2011 11:43 AM
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rogerbryant

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"We already have the fastest average journey times in Western Europe!" Do you have data to support this? It does not seem to match my experience.

You and ckirkwood have both commented on the small size and short distances in Britain compared to France and Japan. I looked up a few routes. These are driving distances rather than direct as this makes some allowance for terrain.

Paris - Lyon 480 km First TGV
Paris - Strasbourg 455 km Latest TGV
Tokyo - Kyoto 450 km
London - Paris 415 km
London - Edinburgh 650 km
London - Leeds 330 km
London - Swansea 320 km

The distances for current high speed train routes are comparable to those in Britain between major cities. The Tokyo - Kyoto route is completely built up and the train make a significant number of stops.

I am not sure that your arguments against high speed rail in Britain are actually valid.

Best regards

Roger
 29 July 2011 10:26 PM
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ckirkwood

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Although the journey distances between individual cities may be comparable an the whole the UK network will be smaller even than that of Japan. The Tokyo Kyoto journey is only one part of a much larger line. Considering the High speed line running South of Tokyo: From Tokyo to Fukuoka is 682 miles(1097km ) approx. Populations of a few of the main cities on this route are:

Tokyo 13,161, 751
Kyoto 1, 474, 473
Fukuoka 5, 072, 804
(these are the populations of the cities and not the prefecture and are correct at 1/10/2010)
These are just a few of the main cities and there is still a large portion of track North of Tokyo, and to the West.

A comparable journey in the UK would possible be London to Aberdeen
Distance 530 miles(853 km)(approx)

City Populations
London 7, 619, 800
Edinburgh 452, 200
Aberdeen 217, 120

To summarise the Japanese network serves a much larger population spread over larger distances. I think its also worth remembering that not all the HS services move at the top speed, some of the low speed services have average journey speeds of as low as 206km/h(124 mph). It is also worth considering the cost of maintenance on high speed lines which will be much higher than on conventional lines.

I have had the pleasure of travelling on the Shinkasen, which is an excellent service (although) expensive, but I still do not think that it is right for the uk.
 08 August 2011 10:11 AM
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rogerbryant

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I have also enjoyed travelling on the Shinkasen as well as on some of the conventional Japanese lines.
The Shinkansen was a complete new system built to standard gauge rather than 3' 6" which is somewhat different to the European high speed lines (except for Spain) which can use the existing tracks to enter and leave cities.
In general it would be better to compare the UK with France or Germany where the population densities and distances are similar and a combination of new and existing tracks are used.

Best regards

Roger
 09 August 2011 05:20 PM
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ckirkwood

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I agree that looking at the European lines would be a better comparison. I do not have any personal experience of these lines, but, when talking to my colleagues on the continent it seems to be the general consensus that the high speed system has been implemented to the detriment of the exiting network, and what has been gained does not justify what was lost.

I would be interested to know just how may services were adversely affected due to the implementation of high speed rail.

Other reservations I have about HS is the cost of maintaining such systems that are considerably higher than older lines.

regards

Craig.
 11 August 2011 12:29 PM
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rogerbryant

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I am not sure where your collegues are seeing adverse effects on the existing network.
My experiences have been good (I live in Switzerland and travel by train to the surrounding countries), the only real problem is increased loading on the feeder services to the stations served by the high speed trains.

Best regards

Roger
 16 August 2011 05:26 PM
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peteward

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It seems to me that the major issue with HS2 is the impact it will have on the communities it bypasses.

One community it bypasses is Heathrow airport. Imagine the amount of car traffic that would be taken from the M1 and M40 if there was a good rail service from the north into Heathrow. It wouldn't actually have to be HS, just direct.

Another is the West Midlands. There's the concern in my area of Warwickshire that the line will pass between Kenilworth and Coventry through a gap that is just 1 field and that has houses on both sides, without actually serving either community. So each community will get the blight but not the benefit of an improved service.

So in fact the line will predominantly be for those who wish to travel quickly into central London -- a market which is already served pretty well. And in reality, with the right work facilities on an existing train, an extra 30 minutes' journey time is no problem. It would be cheaper and much better to lengthen existing trains so there are sufficient seats, and provide good onboard wi-fi, instead of expending huge effort on a whole new rail infrastructure for the few who will want and be able to afford it.
 19 August 2011 01:29 PM
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Chris Richards

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All, the IET's submission to the DfT consultation was made on 29th July. The full response can be found online here: http://www.theiet.org/publicaf...s/submissions/s895.cfm
 06 September 2011 09:16 PM
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DMChatterton

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I am not sure whether or not I have missed anything in the foregoing discussion but I cannot find any reference to the use of Maglev as an alternative to steel wheels on steel rails for HS2.

Having travelled on a Hitachi Javelin (BR Class 395) from Chatham to St Pancras and experienced rather severe wheel hunting at high speed in the tunnels, I am inclined to believe that steel on steel has probably reached its upper speed limit without expensive maintenance and track alignment.

By contrast, the Maglev system in use in China and proposed as an alternative high speed North-South system in England (as well as a Glasgow to Edinburgh route) seems to offer a win-win situation.

I have actually seen an early demonstration of Maglev by Prof. Eric Laithwaite at Imperial College. I have every confidence that the system proposed by UK Ultraspeed for HS2 is perfectly viable. None of it is rocket science and could be built even more cheaply that being proposed by taking advantage of continuing developments in power electronics and such. I have no doubt that the Chinese are thinking along these lines before commissioning another Maglev project.

If this gets the discussion rolling, that's great.

(BTW, that's the nose of Concorde behind my mugshot. We led technology in the 20th century. Let us not get left behind in the 21st!)

_____________
David Chatterton
 20 September 2011 09:58 PM
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ckirkwood

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DMChatterton, as a matter of interest, do you know where I can get any reliable Technical info on Maglev systems?
 20 September 2011 11:02 PM
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DMChatterton

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Look up Wikipedia under Maglev (transport) in the first instance.

Check out UK Ultraspeed's website UK Ultraspeed

This will provide some links to some Quicktime videos. (Download Quicktime for free from Apple if you do not already have it installed.)

Also check out ThyssenKrupp's website on the Transrapid system Transrapid. Under the System/Technology tabs, much of the information is presented e.g. the 3 phase linear motor uses up to 270 Hz for top speed. Thus, at 50 Hz, the train is travelling at ~ 90 mph. This speed is similar to rotor of a 3 phase induction motor with a diameter of 150mm at 3,000 rpm. (The linear motor could be assumed to be a synchronous motor, the levitation magnets providing the equivalent of a permanently magnetised rotor.)

It is worth searching YouTube for videos of the ride on the Shanghai Maglev system. The journey only takes ~6 minutes in real time (replacing a 1 hour taxi ride!). You can get an impression of the view of the countryside going past the window at ~ 400km/h.

None of this is rocket science although we now have much more powerful computers than were available to the Apollo astronauts!
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