beleben

die belebende Bedenkung

HS1 performance, part one

with 5 comments

According to Lucy James, of the Campaign for High Speed Rail,

HS1, the only current high speed line in Britain, was delivered on time and on budget.

For such a sentence just sixteen words long, there’s a remarkable amount of dissemblance packed in.

  • “the only current high speed line in Britain”

    HS1 is not “the only current high speed line” in Britain. Under the definitions used by the International Union of Railways, the East Coast, West Coast and Great Western Main Lines certainly qualify as high speed lines (and a good case could be made for the Midland Main Line). But although it looks like a high speed line, HS1’s credentials turn out to be less than convincing.

  • “on time and on budget”

    The LGV line from Paris to Frethun, on the French coast of the English Channel, was built at the same time as the Channel Tunnel. This allowed trains to use new-build track from Paris to Folkestone from start of service in 1994. But from Folkestone to London, trains had to use the existing ‘Southern Railway’ tracks.

    The British government of the 1980s had refused to fund construction of dedicated new build track, and passed legislation to make such funding unlawful. The manoeuvring required to dismantle the policy took so long that the first part of HS1 did not open until 2003, and it did not reach London until 2007.

    Even if the decade-long delay caused by wrangling and face-saving is ignored, it would still be incorrect to state that HS1 was “on time and on budget”. The National Audit Office documents on ‘The completion and sale of High Speed 1‘, published on 28 March 2012, stated that

    The line was delivered within the overall funding and timescale available for the project. However, this was at a higher cost and later than its targets. Construction of the line cost £6,163 million, 18 per cent higher than the target costs.

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Written by beleben

March 28, 2012 at 11:47 am

5 Responses

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  1. If you say that our current lines qualify for “high speed” status, exactly what are you using as a barometer? 125mph? 110mph? 100mph? or just the word of an archaic institution?

    The current IC225 stock n the ECML is capable of 140mph, but signalling limits them to 125mph.

    The only way of exceeding 125mph safely (in this country at least) is to have in cab signalling. High speed 1 does not have conventional signals and trains are only approved for this line if they have the appropriate TVM 430 in cab signalling.

    So for me, in this country anything above 125mph that requires in cab signalling is a high speed line.

    Point 2, well you’re just making stuff up again. Despite political wrangling, no doubt caused by people of your ilk a few years ago, when re-assessed, from the actual start of construction, it WAS delivered on time and on budget. There is no way that the HS2 can be delivered on time and on budget because there are so many people trying to derail it and push up costs accordingly. Then they can say “I’m right, I’m right” whenever the total costs go up. Like yourself.

    CommuterRant

    March 28, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    • I’ve provided the links to the EU/UIC definitions, and the NAO report, but if you don’t like the contents, don’t upset yourself reading them.

      Cost escalation in HS2 is a virtual certainty, because of the use of implausible estimates (just over £1 bn is allowed for a total rebuild of Euston station, obviously nonsense).

      beleben

      March 28, 2012 at 4:06 pm

      • Well it makes no sense. What you are saying is that “we already have high speed” and use a definition used literally by NOBODY as a reason NOT to have true high speed (186mph+ with in cab signalling). Then you have the temerity to say that the infrastructure won’t cope considering the high speeds.

        Again, you have absolutely no effin clue of railway infrastructure. High Speed rail is much tougher than conventional rail, high speed catenary is much more tightly sprung than convention low speed rail (watch a pendo on the WCML and see how much the wires sway.

        Beside, they have proved in France, Germany and almost every other bleeding country in this world that the infrastructure CAN cope.

        Perhaps using the word “ultra speed” might help you comprehend this.

        And I agree that cost escalation is a certainty, but only because of shallow, uninformed NIMBYs like you writing garbage about a project you know nothing about. Plus also not having the balls to declare your interest or indeed experience in order to validate your opinion.

        I will continue to shoot you down I’m afraid

        CommuterRant

        March 29, 2012 at 11:57 am

      • “Well it makes no sense. What you are saying is that “we already have high speed” and use a definition used literally by NOBODY as a reason NOT to have true high speed (186mph+ with in cab signalling).”

        To repeat: the definition is internationally agreed, and used by the International Union of Railways and European Union – as you’d would have known, if you’d bothered to click on the links provided (you didn’t, as the webstats showed).

        The service speeds achieved by Javelin trains on HS1 are no higher than those achieved by InterCity 225 trains on the East Coast Main Line. And the average speed on a Pendolino running non-stop between Euston and Coventry on existing track is much the same as

        * an ICE3 running on Neubaustrecke between Frankfurt am Main and Koeln, or

        * an ETR500 running on the ferrovia alta velocità between Bologna and Firenze.

        Again, you have absolutely no effin clue of railway infrastructure. High Speed rail is much tougher than conventional rail, high speed catenary is much more tightly sprung than convention low speed rail (watch a pendo on the WCML and see how much the wires sway.

        Very high speed rail infrastructure is more expensive to construct and maintain? Strewth. That, Sherlock, is all over this blog.

        “I will continue to shoot you down I’m afraid”

        Not on here you won’t. You’re not going to shoot anyone down by taking aim at your foot. The comments facility is for intelligent questions and discussion. Not trolling.

        beleben

        March 29, 2012 at 2:03 pm

  2. @Beleben: I appreciate that you are citing primary sources here but the UIC definitions are in truth pretty unhelpful. The reality is that UIC, much like FIFA or the UN, is a global political entity with a requirement to keep those non-European members (the majority of the group now I think) happy. That requires some platitudes – so of course running at 125 mile/h on upgraded tracks is something many countries can aspire to. Portugal would be a good example – HS2AA’s Jerry Marshall likes to suggest that its high speed programme has ‘failed’ yet of course the Alfa Pendular service from Lisboa to Porto quite happily meets his and the UIC’s definition, though I doubt it would merit a mention at the UIC global high speed rail congress. In the USA meanwhile, any train travelling at more than 79 mile/h is ‘high speed’ and woe betide anyone who says otherwise…

    As for WCML and ECML, they are never regarded as high speed in the industry because the sum of the characteristics which count against each. Whilst a non-stop service to Coventry can indeed clock up an impressive average speed, it still uses a railway dominated by analogue lineside signalling (much of it life-expired electro-mechanical equipment), shared running with commuter trains which are not capable of 125 mile/h, and multiple flat switches and crossings, many with very severe speed restrictions. On MML and ECML, this is compounded still further by many many level crossings, which ultimately will probably preclude higher speeds unless all are removed.

    I’m also interested by your comments about high speed lines being costlier to operate and maintain than conventional ones. I asked sources at Plasser & Theurer exactly this, and they assured me that it is mixed-use routes with fast moving freight and passenger services that receive most wear and tear. The point about optimising catenary and track cant for specifically-designed high speed rail services is valid as I understand it, and is a significant reason not to encourage freight to use HS2.


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