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Will high scam

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twitter_WilliamBarter1, 'Conventional rail might match the capacity of a high speed line with rigid separation'

With [1] “rigid segregation” (?) conventional rail might match the capacity of a high speed line, according to HS2 ‘evangelist’ William Barter. But [2] it would cost nearly as much, and only provide [3] a fraction of the benefits.

But where is the evidence for statements [1], [2] and [3]?

Où? Wo? ¿Dónde?

Bombardier capacity evaluation for HS2 Ltd, 2011, 'Figure 3'

Consider claim [1]. According to Bombardier, the line capacity of high speed rail is lower, not higher, than conventional speed rail.

Mr Barter’s response to the Bombardier diagram was to pretty much ignore its whole point, and claim that headway on plain line rarely, if ever, presents the binding constraint on rail capacity.

@williambarter1, twitter, 'Headway on plain line rarely, if ever, presents the binding constraint on rail capacity'

But high speed trains don’t travel into or out of terminals at ‘high speed’, and can’t change tracks at high speed (turnouts are limited to circa 230 km/h). So where could Mr Barter’s capacity advantage come from?

The answer is, there is no capacity advantage. As the Bombardier diagram shows, there is a capacity disadvantage, which comes from running at very high speed, on plain line.

Written by beleben

August 15, 2017 at 1:55 pm

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

7 Responses

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  1. Plus, based on proven performance on existing routes there will be minimal journey time improvements once speeds move up above 140mph given the need to ramp up and slow down to the top speed. Based on proven non-stop runs and even timetabled journeys on ECML and WCML a London-Birmingham journey time of 55-60 minutes could be demonstrated now with existing trains on existing track and the concession (mainly with signalling, but some track) to run at 125mph, and with tilt on either MYB-BMO or EUS-BHM

    An STP-SHF non stop with tilting and 125mph concession using the Erewash Valley through route might deliver 1h 40m, even with the checks through Leicester etc.

    Scotland-London times might be improved by getting the S&C (Midland Railway) route speeds up – even with the massively restrictive 60mph it is still the fastest Leeds-Glasgow route including a change of trains in Carlisle! Just imagine what could be delivered if the Carlisle-Leeds section could be speeded up, and the faster route South via Normanton restored as a regular passenger route.

    Vast lengths of existing main lines north of the Danelaw have been reduced from 4 to 2 tracks but the formation and many structures remain, and smart, planned, works can deliver reinstatment, especially if the small initial connections are ‘inserted’ to permit long blockades. East-West Rail deliver this, as will a connection from WCML to GC/GW joint line at Wembley, and the option to link WCML with MML at Watford


    August 15, 2017 at 7:23 pm

  2. Yes, but there are few in Whitehall who would understand all that and, even if HS2 were dropped, the HS2 budget would revert to the Exchequer: not a prospect DfT would welcome. They’d have to start bidding for alternative upgrades’ funding from scratch.

    Michael Wand

    August 15, 2017 at 10:25 pm

  3. With higher speed additional capacity is created in the form of either needing fewer trains to provide the same frequency of service or the same trains to provide a higher frequencies of trains. If the end-to-end journey times are reduced then that trainset can start the return journey that much earlier, so saving rolling stock.

    Peter Staveley

    August 17, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    • You are confusing ‘line capacity’, with ‘rolling stock productivity’.


      August 17, 2017 at 5:51 pm

  4. Why do you put words in quotes that Mr Barter did not use?

    [Comment by Beleben:] ‘Anonymous troll’ is the name used by the contributor, and not the Beleben blog’s description of the contributor.

    Anonymous troll

    August 17, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    • As the actual tweet is embedded in the post, it should be clear what was verbatim, what was paraphrase, and what Mr Barter was suggesting. But I have amended the post, to address your concerns.


      August 17, 2017 at 5:48 pm

  5. […] 15’s blogpost on high speed line capacity was described as a “highly personal attack” on consultant […]

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