HS2 speed and capacity loss
On 23 February 2017 the HS2 London West Midlands bill gained royal assent after ‘3 years of Parliamentary scrutiny’.
But how effectual was the ‘scrutiny’?
And how competent are HS2’s senior officers – such as the chairman?
On 17 November 2014, HS2 Ltd’s David Higgins told the House of Commons transport committee that “a railway line where trains travel at 220 miles an hour as opposed to 120 miles an hour clearly has nearly twice the capacity because you can have twice as many trains on it. Once we started talking about capacity, then people started to get it.”
David Higgins’ claim was utter nonsense. But no-one on the transport committee challenged him about it. And unlike the Beleben blog, the ‘technical’ railway press has never challenged or debunked the claim.
On 13 January 2015, Mr Higgins again paraded his technical illiteracy, this time before the House of Lords economic affairs committee.
Someone at HS2 Ltd must have known that David Higgins was giving misleading and inaccurate information to Parliamentary committees. Because Bombardier’s 2011 high speed rail capacity report was written for the company.
According to Bombardier’s diagram, the capacity loss from running at 360 km/h compared to 200 km/h, could be thought of as (Z – Y), with 400 metre signalling blocks. Plainly, with other block lengths, capacity is also lower at 360 km/h than at 200 km/h.
With 400 km/h operation, the capacity loss is exacerbated further.