die belebende Bedenkung

HS2 design has built-in obsolescence

with 2 comments

Network Rail’s draft Freight Network Study (August 2016) was developed “in collaboration with a range of stakeholders, including freight operating companies, The UK Governments, the Rail Freight Group, the Rail Delivery Group, and the Office of Rail and Road”. The study noted that as the “proposed new HS2 line from London to the North is not expected to provide for rail freight services”, the freight industry has an ‘aspiration’ to ‘enable new rail freight market flows by enhancing a selected number of (classic) routes to European gauge standards, specifically UIC GB1+ gauge’.

Network Rail, 'GB1+ gauge aspiration' London - Manchester - Leeds, August 2016

Network Rail, ‘GB1+ gauge aspiration’, August 2016

Implementing this ‘aspiration’ would entail the massive disruption and cost of extensively rebuilding the entire West Coast Main Line between London and Crewe, and the Transpennine North route to Leeds. Its feasibility and fundability looks minimal.

On the other hand, if an all-new railway from London to the north were being planned, it would be perfectly feasible to design-in dual passenger and freight capability, with an ‘outsize’ loading gauge (capable of carrying lorries on flatbed wagons, for example).

But HS2, a planned all-new railway from London to the north, has not been designed for potential railfreight use. Its gradients would make cost-effective goods movement a highly unlikely proposition, and its structure gauge is too small for an efficient ‘rolling motorway’.

Furthermore, the GC vehicle gauge specified for HS2 confers no meaningful passenger capacity benefit. It would not permit comfortable 3+2 seating layouts, or spacious double deck carriages.

'Engineering standards of some key European-rail links'

Written by beleben

August 31, 2016 at 11:36 am

Posted in Freight, HS2

2 Responses

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  1. The choice of GC gauge was because DfT and HS2 decided to follow the EU Technical Standards for Interoperabiliy without giving any proper consideration to the costs or benefits. The claimed benefits are marginal and the huge costs (tens of £ billions) of building stations and routes to take EU size trains was ignored because it was claimed that the EU rules were mandatory. Following the EU rules results in a railway which is not compatible with the British railway network; EU trains are too high and wide to use our tracks and stations and station platforms designed to take EU trains cannot accept our trains. Why on earth should we want to build such a railway now? HS2 has gradients up to 3% in the Chiltern tunnel because unlike most tunnels it starts at the bottom of a hill and emerges near the top! Bonkers.


    September 1, 2016 at 11:27 am

  2. […] Beleben blog recently looked at Network Rail’s draft Freight Network Study consultation document. This was published in August […]

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