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Old January 4th, 2018, 07:36 AM   #2141
stingstingsting
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Source: NHK

Quote:
https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20171211_19/

Tests to raise train speeds in Seikan tunnel
DECEMBER 11, 2017



The Japanese government and Hokkaido Railway Company plan to shorten the travel time between Tokyo and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto station in Hokkaido.

Hokkaido Shinkansen bullet trains currently connect the two stations in 4 hours and 2 minutes.

...

To shorten the travel time, the government and the bullet train operator have decided to conduct test runs in fiscal 2018 to raise the speed inside the tunnel. They hope to raise it to 160 kilometers per hour.

If it is confirmed that this is safe, they want to officially apply the new speed inside the tunnel in the spring of 2019. The result will be a travel time of less than 4 hours.
I don't know the speed and acceleration/deceleration profile but how many minutes could this shorten off the journey time?

Even if this small (I assume) exercise manages to shave just 3 minutes to 3h59, I think that it would be quite a big deal crossing that famous 4h threshold. Its hopefully just a case of small incremental improvements each year, bit by bit... and by then the entire length of the line from Tokyo to Sapporo will open to 4h journey times.

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Originally Posted by Gusiluz View Post
And maybe it can help magically double ridership sooner than later too
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Old January 4th, 2018, 10:50 AM   #2142
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stingstingsting View Post
Source: NHK
I don't know the speed and acceleration/deceleration profile but how many minutes could this shorten off the journey time?
Disregarding acceleration/deceleration which both happen before and after the shared section of the Kaikyō Line. Then the shared section is 82 km long, which would mean that they could save more than 7 minutes of travel time if raising the speed from 130 km/h to 160 km/h.

82 km / 130 km/h * 60 (to get the time in minutes) = 37,85 minutes travel time.

compared to

82 km / 160 km/h * 60 = 30,75 minutes.

Then the time saved would be: 37,85 - 30,75 = 7,1 minutes

And since you need a bit less acceleration and deceleration before and after the shared section, and if the Shinkansen trains can keep the speed limit the whole way, then you would save a little bit more time than those calculated minutes.

So this would mean that they easily would brake the 4 hour barrier between Tokyo and Hakodate.
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Old January 4th, 2018, 12:43 PM   #2143
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The maximum speed in the mixed gauge section is 140 km/h.

Before the inauguration they talked about the possibility that some HSTs did not cross with freight trains in the tunnel; that yes that would shorten the time since they would circulate to 260 km/h. This would enable a travel time from Tokyo to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto of 3 hours and 45 minutes.
But that can only be done by very few trains, depending on the hours and days of circulation.

In Spain HST cross with freight trains (even in tunnel) at 200 km/h.
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Old January 4th, 2018, 05:15 PM   #2144
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250 km/h in Germany.
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Old January 5th, 2018, 12:23 PM   #2145
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gusiluz View Post
The maximum speed in the mixed gauge section is 140 km/h.
Oops, missed that bit. Still redoing the calculations then the time saving will be just under 4 minutes (or 3 minutes and 54 seconds). Enough to get below the 4 hour mark.

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Originally Posted by Gusiluz View Post
In Spain HST cross with freight trains (even in tunnel) at 200 km/h.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Negjana View Post
250 km/h in Germany.
There are two major differences to the Seikan tunnel compared to European systems.
1. The freight trains use a narrower gauge, which means that they are more unstable compared to standard gauge trains when hit by pressure waves.
2. The Japanese tunnels have a smaller diameter, which on the plus side makes them cheaper to build, but on the negative side they forces the trains closer together and also increases the pressure waves that trains which are traveling at higher speed produce, two things that are not good for the stability of the freight trains.

Apart from the suggestion to have times where the Shinkansen trains would be allowed to run at their maximum speed, there have also been designs on putting the freight trains onto a standard gauge train (Train on Train), and also ideas on having the Shinkansen running at higher speed where possible on the line and automatically slow down if they were to pass a freight train.

Also in theory they could increase the speed on the 260 km/h sections of the Tohoku and Hokkaido Shinkansen lines, since they are pretty long, and the E5/H5s are able to run at 320 km/h, which could give a good reduction in travel time.
Though that would most likely have to wait until the whole line is open to Sapporo, so that they would generate enough passengers to warrant the extra cost of running at that high speed.
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Old January 6th, 2018, 09:17 AM   #2146
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Actually, the "train on train" idea is not completely dead. With good reason: it will allow JR Freight to run trains through the Seikan Tunnel at speeds as high as 210 km/h, compared to the 140 km/h it is doing now. And that means H5 trainsets can pass the Seikan Tunnel at 210 km/h all the time.
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Old January 6th, 2018, 11:49 AM   #2147
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Also, raising the speed to 210 km/h would mean a time saving of almost 23 minutes compared to today.
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Old January 6th, 2018, 01:32 PM   #2148
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loefet View Post
There are two major differences to the Seikan tunnel compared to European systems.
1. The freight trains use a narrower gauge, which means that they are more unstable compared to standard gauge trains when hit by pressure waves.
2. The Japanese tunnels have a smaller diameter, which on the plus side makes them cheaper to build, but on the negative side they forces the trains closer together and also increases the pressure waves that trains which are traveling at higher speed produce, two things that are not good for the stability of the freight trains.
I would like to add bullet point 3: Most, if not all, modern European locomotives have pressure sealed cabs (Afaik a requirement to even be allowed on a HSL in Germany while HSTs are operating). Judging from the pictures I've seen Japanese locos are not.
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Old January 9th, 2018, 03:18 AM   #2149
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M-NL View Post
I would like to add bullet point 3: Most, if not all, modern European locomotives have pressure sealed cabs (Afaik a requirement to even be allowed on a HSL in Germany while HSTs are operating). Judging from the pictures I've seen Japanese locos are not.
AFAIK the only locomotives that are allowed to operate on the Kaikyo line (and in the Seikan Tunnel) are the dual voltage Bo'Bo'+Bo'Bo' EH800s. This was to comply with the voltage being raised to 25 kV AC to match Shinkansen requirements. Are the EH800 locomotives pressure sealed? What would you look out for to see if a locomotive is pressure sealed?

On a side note why then aren't Japanese locomotives pressure sealed? Is it because they would not be going at speeds of more than 130 km/h or so? You would think that there would be quite a large number of tunnels that freight trains would need to traverse in mountainous Japan.

Besides, as per what Loefet stated, I think the greater limiting issue is the narrow clearance of the Seikan Tunnel and the fact that containers (and oil tankers possibly) might be more unstable with passing high speed Shinkansen trains.

Another issue is the increased risk of strewn debris that could arise from passing trains at higher speeds. I remember there was an incident about a year and a half ago where a small metal object on or near the tracks caused an H5 set to make an emergency stop in tunnel. Thankfully there hasn't seem to have been another such incident since then.
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