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Spot the ‘congested infrastructure’

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In May 2020, Network Rail declared the West Coast Main Line (WCML) fast lines between Camden South Junction and Ledburn as “congested infrastructure”. (The rest of the route, including the slow lines between Camden and Ledburn, have not been declared congested infrastructure.)

Empty 4-track West Coast Main Line tracks at Ledburn, 2021

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of ‘congested’ is ‘extremely or excessively full or crowded’. So, according to Network Rail, one pair of the tracks in the picture are, in common parlance, extremely or excessively full or crowded, and the other pair aren’t.

So, if an average person visited Ledburn, would they be able to identify which pair of tracks are the supposedly ‘excessively full or crowded’ ones? Most of the time, there is not a train in sight or earshot on either the fast lines, or on the slow ones. The utilisation of both sets of lines is well below the theoretical limit dictated by safe braking distances.

Because of the lower linespeed, it is a far more practical proposition to resignal the existing WCML tracks for 18 trains per hour, than it is to run 18 trains per hour on HS2. That is, if such capacity were needed.

Written by beleben

August 27, 2021 at 1:15 pm

Posted in HS2

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