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HS2 noise impact

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High speed rail lineside noise (approximate) 6th-power proportionality (Apta)

High speed rail lineside noise (approximate) 6th-power proportionality (Apta)

In 2006 George Osborne MP visited Japan, and enthused about its high speed rail projects.

[“Tories propose high-speed ‘maglev’ trains for UK”, Matthew Tempest,, 31 August 2006]

[…] Mr Osborne said: “We’re familiar with the Japanese bullet train, which has been around for decades now and is far faster than anything we’ve got in the UK.

“But Japan aren’t stopping there. They’re moving on to this magnetic-driven train.

“You have to ask yourself, if Japan is developing this technology, if China has already introduced this kind of train, if Germany is looking at this technology, why on earth are we not doing so in Britain?”

By the time of the 2010 election, the Conservative party had switched its interest to conventional wheel-based high speed rail, but JR Tokai (Central Japan Railway Company) has continued development of its proposed ultra high speed Chuo Shinkansen maglev.

JR Tokai’s maglev costs are expected to exceed 9 trillion yen (USD 90 billion), with tunnels making up 86 per cent of the 286-kilometre initial stretch between Tokyo and Nagoya (scheduled to open in 2027). Even though the Chuo Shinkansen train design “floats” 10 centimetres above the track, there is a lot of aerodynamic noise at speeds above 300 km/h (as with HS2).

[“New maglev Shinkansen to run underground for 86% of initial route”, The Asahi Shimbun, September 19, 2013]

Tracks on the above-ground sections will also mostly be covered by soundproof concrete hoods. JR Tokai said it will consider allowing open views on limited sections if requested to do so by local governments.

The British government’s proposed HS2 network is being designed for speeds up to 400 km/h, but official visualisations suggest that soundproofing on above-ground sections would not include soundproof boxes of the type planned for Chuo Shinkansen.

In Japan and Great Britain, the rights of passengers and riverains are valued differently. Why HS2 train travellers’ “right” to an unrestricted view should take precedence over the reduced noise nuisance from boxing-in the high speed track, has never been explained.

Shinkansen noise regulations, 1975 (Apta)


Written by beleben

October 20, 2014 at 10:26 am

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

Tagged with ,

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