die belebende Bedenkung

HS2 and the competitive range

with 2 comments

In 2007, Richard Davies, Director of Strategic Policy for the Association of Train Operating Companies noted, ‘in a personal capacity’, that most intercity trips in Britain fell short of the optimal 400 – 800 kilometre ‘ideal range’ for high speed rail.

Richard Davies, French and GB conurbations, travel distance to capital city

In 2013, Lyon University’s Yves Crozet described the competitive range as 400 km to 1000 km. In his view, France’s high speed network was not based on facilitating “everyday mobility”.

[High Speed Rail Performance
in France: From Appraisal Methodologies to Ex-post Evaluation
, Yves Crozet, Laboratoire d’Economie des Transports, Université de Lyon, France, 2013]

[…] The TGV is not there for the purpose of proliferating dormitory towns 100 or 150 km from Paris, Lyon, Marseille or Bordeaux. Demand linked to everyday mobility must be satisfied by everyday trains whose main feature is frequency. Rather than pursuing an obsession with speed, choices should be guided by considerations as to the type of service that users require. Where two cities are 100 or 150 km apart, the appropriate reaction is not to announce that high-speed rail will enable the journey to be completed in 30 or 40 minutes.

Written by beleben

April 12, 2016 at 4:04 pm

Posted in HS2, Politics, Transport

2 Responses

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  1. When a new line is necessary, it doesn’t really matter whether or not the distances it will go are ‘optimal’ for high-speed rail or not. All that matters is that it serves the places which really need a link, and on the HS2 route you can’t argue that HS2 doesn’t have a reasonable number of stops.

    [Edit and comment by Beleben] That’s your opinion. Other opinions, such as those of Richard Davies, Yves Crozet, and the Beleben blog, are available.
    The only places worth calling at between London and Birmingham are places which you already believe have a more than reasonable service provision on the classic railway, so why bother duplicating them? Between London and Manchester there are no major conurbations, so initially there was no need to build an intermediate station. The justification for the Crewe stop is that it provides good onward connections as it is a major junction station, not because of the number of local passengers. On the eastern arm, the concept of calling at Derby-Nottingham and somewhere in South Yorkshire is sound. You can debate exactly where you would want to build the stations but the fundamental idea of providing a stop for a wider city region with enough population is not unreasonable.

    Also worth noting is the fact that in the UK, it is possible to serve these locations in a ‘sub-optimal’ distance using relatively little track. One track from London heading North-North-West is capable of serving the West Midlands, Greater Manchester and Merseyside in one fell swoop, with one branch from Birmingham bringing in the East Midlands, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and the North East of England too. You cannot possibly deny that this does not harm the economics of building new infrastructure of some sort. In France, individual expensive new lines heading out from the capital have to be built heading towards each of the next largest cities.


    April 17, 2016 at 11:44 pm

    • I notice that you’ve clipped away my point that the French HSR network is quite different to HS2. If you’re going to need to build an entire HSR line to reach one city, it may as well be in the optimum range as otherwise it would be a waste of time. If you’re able to serve a number of sub-optimal distances with one single piece of infrastructure, then it isn’t as much of an issue.


      April 20, 2016 at 1:13 am

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