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Constructing the proposed HS2 railway would inflict substantial disruption on Britain’s road and legacy rail systems. So bad was the prospective disruption, that the government decided to scrap plans for HS2 surface running in Ealing, and the HS2-to-HS1 link in Camden altogether.

There are ways of increasing rail capacity, which are much more cost-effective than building HS2, and much less disruptive. Here are a couple of examples.

Example 1: deployment of longer intercity carriages

Much of the capacity increase provided by the Hitachi IEP train design comes from its longer carriages, which increases the usable furnishable space. Using 260-metre (715-seat) IEP-type trainsets on the West Coast Main Line could increase seating capacity by around 30%, even if Pendolino trains were retained for Anglo-Scottish services (where tilt is more valuable).

Number of platforms requiring lengthening: 0.
Number of weekend closures required: probably 0.

Example 2: speeding up commuter travel

Many users of the Class 350 commuter trains on West Coast will be aware of the annoying delay in door-release at every station. Inefficient stopping and despatch increases journey time, and reduces capacity.

A next generation commuter train, with optimised driver ergonomics and better sliding doors (instead of the Class 350’s plug doors) would reduce journey times, and increase capacity.

Number of platforms requiring lengthening: 0.
Number of weekend closures required: probably 0.


Written by beleben

September 3, 2015 at 9:29 am

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

One Response

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  1. Re your comment about slow door openings on the 350’s is very pertinent, although i am not sure that you have correctly identified the reason.
    As a commuter on the WCML my local station is served by London Midland (to Euston) and Southern trains(to CLJ and beyond). The doors on the Southern trains open almost immediately the train has stopped, whilst for the LM trains there is a pause whilst the guard / conductor opens their door, steps down onto the platform, checks that the train has stopped in the correct position, with all carriages opposite a platform, then leans back into the train and presses the “Open” button. This process can take up to a minute longer than for a Southern train (sadly, I have timed it).
    I do not know why this is so.
    I note that both LM and Southern are Govia companies.


    September 3, 2015 at 10:01 am

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