die belebende Bedenkung

Restricting HS2 to 300 kilometres per hour (part three)

with 5 comments

Part two | Part one

The House of Commons Environmental Audit select committee is to call for the maximum speed on the proposed HS2 railway to be cut from 225mph (360 km/h) to 185mph (300 km/h) “to reduce carbon emissions”, the Daily Mail reported (6 April 2014).

Regular readers of the Beleben blog will be aware that

  • the Climate Change Act 2008 committed the UK ‘to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050’
  • the high speed line would increase carbon emissions, according to HS2 Ltd (see statement below)
  • running the same train at 300 km/h uses about 95% more energy compared to 200 km/h (in the open and on the level), with a corresponding effect on greenhouse gases
  • the gradients on the HS2 phase one adopted (and phase two Consultation) route exacerbate traction energy waste, regardless of whether regenerative braking is used
  • the embedded carbon element of HS2 life cycle emissions is increased, because of its dependence on tunnels and viaduct construction. High speeds need more complex (i.e. expensive) tunnels
  • building HS2 is vastly more carbon-intensive than upgrading existing lines.

Curiously worded admission from HS2 Ltd that the high speed line would increase carbon emissions


Written by beleben

April 6, 2014 at 10:51 am

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

5 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Highlighted text = We guessed and took a punt ?

    Dave H (@BCCletts)

    April 6, 2014 at 11:26 am

  2. The carbon argument was always a diversion but, because the idea that Rail = Green is embedded in the public mind, it pays the DfT to have a few paragraph on the carbon issue despite the unhelpful conclusion, namely that HS2 will increase rather than reduce emissions. Rail enthusiast will of course double-think, ignore the facts, and babble of “Green” whenever HS2 is up for discussion.

    In any event, switching a few handfuls from passengers from cars or air to rail can have only the most trivial of effects, see the DfT diagram available here

    As to the larger reality, rather than rail being “Green” it turns out that replacement express coaches and lorries operating on these substantially disused railway alignments would emit less carbon than do the trains, see

    Substantially disused??? Well, if the railway were paved then, in central London, and in the peak hour,all those crushed railway passengers would find in seats in express coaches, coaches which would occupy only one seventh of the track capacity available, see Topic 15 in the Transport-watch web site. Outside the peak the rail network is a place of dreams – go visit a platform at any central London rail terminal at lunch time to experience a cathedral-like peace,


    April 6, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    • Paul – how would the staffing costs compare for express coaches vs. trains ? I would guess that a 12 coach EMU/DMU carries 750 people at peak (not all in comfort) with one driver and maybe one guard. Wouldn’t each one of the 25 seat express coaches require a driver and maybe a ticket collector ? thx


      April 7, 2014 at 6:35 pm

  3. To run at 300kmh / 186 mph (with tilting trains), the Great Central Southern Extension may not require much straightening …


    April 7, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    • Thank you for bringing the Francis Douglas Fox paper to my attention.

      Once clear of Calvert, it looks like tilting trains could let rip, so to speak.


      April 7, 2014 at 8:34 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: