die belebende Bedenkung

Crossrail 1 and European interoperability

with one comment

On the 6 March edition of BBC tv’s Andrew Marr Show, London mayor and ‘Brexit’ supporter Boris Johnson gave an example of what he considered as bad European Union regulations.

[Did the EU try to make Crossrail tunnels bigger?,
Lewis Goodall, BBC Newsnight, 8 Mar 2016]

[Boris Johnson:] “Such is the Stockholm syndrome capture of officials in this country that they decided to interpret the directive on the interoperability of trans-European networks in such a way as to insist that Crossrail tunnels had to be 50% bigger in order to accommodate German trains in the vanishingly unlikely eventuality of German trains needing to go down the Crossrail tunnel. That would have cost billions and we had to spend literally a year trying to fend off that demand.”

But Transport for London has told BBC News that this is not true.

Its spokesperson contradicted the Mayor, who is the chairman of the organisation, by saying:

“The Crossrail programme was at an advanced stage when the directive was adopted by the UK. Crossrail construction commenced in 2009, tunnelling for Crossrail commenced in May 2012, with the final tunnel-boring machine concluding its journey in May 2015. The Department for Transport subsequently requested that Crossrail seek an exemption (derogation) from the Directive on Interoperability, which was successfully obtained in 2012. The administrative process to gain the derogation had no impact on the Crossrail construction programme.”

So TfL says the Mayor’s office didn’t have anything to do with it. The Department for Transport, far from seeking to impose this, asked for an opt out, which they received without difficulty.

And the process didn’t affect the Crossrail tunnels at all because by the time the directive came into place the tunnels had almost been completed anyway.

When Mr Johnson spoke of “German trains”, he meant ‘trains built to UIC vehicle gauge GC’ or suchlike. However, building the Crossrail 1 tunnels with dual use capability, to accommodate such trains, might have been an interesting proposition.

Earlier plans for Crossrail 1 included a route to Ebbsfleet, running close to the existing Channel Tunnel Rail Link (HS1). So, with some additional infrastructure works, there would have been the possibility of running Continental-size passenger trains to west London or beyond.

In principle, Continental freight from HS1 could also have been accommodated. Unfortunately, HS1 was very badly designed, with gradients which are problematic for efficient freight operation.

Obviously, constructing a GC connection purely for European traffic, as was proposed by HS2 Ltd between HS1 and HS2 Old Oak Common, would have been a terrible misuse of resources (because of the low demand). But the costs of building Crossrail 1 infrastructure for dual use, would have been far lower.

Although they are to be built to UK gauge, Crossrail's Class 345 trains may well be more German than British. They are to be assembled at Bombardier Derby, but their mechanicals and electricals are largely German and Swedish, and the UK content is less than 30%

Written by beleben

March 9, 2016 at 12:51 pm

Posted in HS2

One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. The central section of Crossrail 1 will have platform doors and the trains on order have three doors per carriage which are equally spaced along the whole train which I believe is unique in GB. UK platform heights and their protrusion would also seem to prevent foreign gauge trains operating in the UK. HS2 costs have been vastly inflated by the desire to cater for GC gauge trains. Apart from the larger clearances and tunnels required to accommodate GC gauge trains, it also requires separate platforms to be provided at some stations for “captive” and “classic compatible” trains. The “East Midlands Hub” at Toton is proposed to have eight platforms in an arrangement that will not provide cross platform connections between captive trains and any local trains that will be needed to serve Derby and Nottingham.

    In response to an FOI request DfT have said that it has no information on whether a derogation will be sought for Crossrail 2.

    Passenger trains may also have problems with steep gradients. The eastern leg of HS2 Phase 2 has some gradients of 3% north of Sheffield. There also used to be a section with a 3% gradient between the Chiltern and South Heath tunnels which it is now proposed to be in an extended Chiltern tunnel. The balancing speed for the HS2 “reference train” on a 3% gradient is only 215 kph but this rises to 320 kph on a 1% gradient. Parts of the Chiltern tunnel have a gradient of 1% and an Imperial College report said that trains would use 94% more energy to travel through an 8,5m tunnel at 320 kph compared to open air. Taking into account gradient and air resistance it therefore seems unlikely that trains would be able to achieve 320 kph in a northbound direction through the 8.8m diameter Chiltern tunnel.


    March 10, 2016 at 4:35 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: