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Old August 21st, 2008, 12:09 PM   #121
Magellan
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Originally Posted by city_thing View Post
What is the likeliness of this actually being realised? I'm wondering if any of the 'experts' on here have any idea?

I know there's a lot of talk of HSR throughout Britain, and it really is inevitable that it will need to be built sooner or later. But these proposals seem to come and go, and speculation is the only thing that remains. I'd love for there to be a decent HSR system in my home country, I'm just hoping that it will be built and operating before I'm too old to use it.

With so many airlines facing hardship, thousands more passengers using rail, fuel prices going up and environmental issues to consider, any objectively thinking person would realise that this needs to be constructed.
In this instance, the justification is based on indications that existing routes will not be able to cope with the projected growth in passenger numbers rather than say a desire to keep up with the Joneses. This is also coming from Network Rail which has responsibility to look at these issues rather than an outside body/pressure group.

The big problem is going to be obtaining the funding; Thameslink was originally intended to be completed by the year 2000, but budgeting and approval delays mean that it will not be completed until 2015/2016.

The CTRL was completed some 12 years after the tunnel was opened, again mainly because of the lack of funding. There was even a squabble over the £60 required to fit-out the new Thameslink box at St Pancreas with the new Eurostar station nearly opening with Thameslink trains passing through the empty box.

The British economy is bust at the moment so funding for any major rail projects will be hard to find - it is even possible that Crossrail will be further delayed, and there is still a more than £1 Billion gap in the funding for Network Rail in the next five year plan.

I think a figure of £30 Billion has been quoted as the cost for one HSR line linking London with Birmingham, Manchester, and Scotland - that is more than the existing allowed debt at Network Rail, and twice the current projected cost of Crossrail. There is a lot of work to be done to make any progress on HSR in the UK, though it is now slightly ahead of further electrification.

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Old August 21st, 2008, 12:38 PM   #122
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Because they are. They were designed for use on the classic lines out of London, and trains on these routes can only be 20m due to the curves and loading guage, whereas normally around the UK the standard is 23m. I'm not sure if that the only reason or the reason at all, but they are shorter.
I think it was specifically beacuse they needed to operate over the North London lines.
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Old August 21st, 2008, 12:41 PM   #123
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Off-topic postings

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Please do not rise to the bait - better to make use of the icon in the bottom left corner to report offensive and off-topic posts.
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Old August 21st, 2008, 03:06 PM   #124
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I think it was specifically beacuse they needed to operate over the North London lines.
I thought the south east London ones are more restrictive.
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Old August 22nd, 2008, 02:30 AM   #125
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It's an interesting point to ask whether high-speed rail between London and Birmingham is actually worth it, if existing connections are pretty good.

London to Manchester I start to see the point, and even more so up to Scottish cities. Surely it would take longer to fly from Birmingham to London than it would to catch the train (heck especially if you ended up at Stanstead or Gatwick), so a HSR connection isn't really going to attract anyone that's not already catching the train, if that makes sense.
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Old August 22nd, 2008, 07:39 AM   #126
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It's an interesting point to ask whether high-speed rail between London and Birmingham is actually worth it, if existing connections are pretty good.

London to Manchester I start to see the point, and even more so up to Scottish cities. Surely it would take longer to fly from Birmingham to London than it would to catch the train (heck especially if you ended up at Stanstead or Gatwick), so a HSR connection isn't really going to attract anyone that's not already catching the train, if that makes sense.
The best journey time, non-stop, between London and Birmingham is about 1h 10m for an approx. 170 Km journey and is configured as an inter-city service. The stopping services are much slower and serve the intermediate towns rather than Birmingham.

I think a HSR link between London and Birmingham, with services configured for commuter travel and making the journey in 30 - 45 minutes at 350 Km/h would significantly change the economic dynamics not just of London, but of a large proportion of the west midlands with its population of, I think, 5 million or so (sorry I do not have any of the figures). I would think it would alleviate the economic pressures on London and be of economic advantage to the run-down midlands.

Birmingham has to be the first step in the construction of any route going to the north west, and will cost in the region of at least 5 - 6 £billion so we have to make the best use of it with new commuter services until the long-distance routes open up.

P.S. I do not think there are any air links between Birmingham and the London airports.

P.P.S.
This is the link to the GreenGauge21 group which is pushing for the HSR services in the UK:
http://www.greengauge21.net/

Last edited by Magellan; August 22nd, 2008 at 07:55 AM.
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Old August 22nd, 2008, 11:10 AM   #127
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HSR in the UK

There is an interesting article here (PDF):
http://www.railpro.co.uk/issues/pdfs...peed_hopes.pdf

... with a discussion on this thread:
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=595169
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Old August 22nd, 2008, 11:19 AM   #128
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That is very irritating how it is commented that HSR is not environmentally friendly. I am very sure that extra flights that burn quite a bit of fuel and output carbon are friendlier than a full electric train that could possibly be run off of renewable energy resources.

The competition for the Chunnel will be good for passengers. It perhaps will allow trains of faster speeds to go into the UK and force better HSR throughout the UK.
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Old August 22nd, 2008, 12:26 PM   #129
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That is very irritating how it is commented that HSR is not environmentally friendly. I am very sure that extra flights that burn quite a bit of fuel and output carbon are friendlier than a full electric train that could possibly be run off of renewable energy resources.
That comes from one of the rail ministers, and it has surprised a large proportion of the rail industry - I believe they are busy collecting the evidence to demonstrate otherwise.


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The competition for the Chunnel will be good for passengers. It perhaps will allow trains of faster speeds to go into the UK and force better HSR throughout the UK.

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Old August 22nd, 2008, 12:54 PM   #130
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Even were existing services were good, that is not the question that ought to be the topic of debate. The reason why the HSR option should be pushed is because of capacity. The West Coast Mainline, as it is is suffering from a severe lack in capacity. The number of services can't really increase on the line and as a result, the only option to increase capacity is to build new lines. By having a HSR line going up to Birmingham and then up to Manchester/Liverpool, you can reduce demand on existing lines and thus free up capacity by moving it elsewhere, plus commuters have a faster connection from Birmingham to London.
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Old August 22nd, 2008, 01:47 PM   #131
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Even were existing services were good, that is not the question that ought to be the topic of debate. The reason why the HSR option should be pushed is because of capacity. The West Coast Mainline, as it is is suffering from a severe lack in capacity. The number of services can't really increase on the line and as a result, the only option to increase capacity is to build new lines. By having a HSR line going up to Birmingham and then up to Manchester/Liverpool, you can reduce demand on existing lines and thus free up capacity by moving it elsewhere, plus commuters have a faster connection from Birmingham to London.
The study announced by Network Rail is wholly based on the need to boost capacity and not primarily on the need for HSR services, so I am not sure what the issue is.
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Old August 22nd, 2008, 04:39 PM   #132
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Yeah, HSR is being looked into for providing capacity as much as anything else. NR projects that the WCML will run out of capacity in 5-10 years. The ECML in about the same time. Segregating high speed services will effectively double capacity and bring wider economic benfits including a significant increase in passengers.

The govt's position about HSR not being environmentally friendly has been blown out of the water. Firstly because oil is going up in price so there is no reason for the govt to find an excuse to stick to diesel, secondly figures have since come out showing the HSR is (and will get better) actually more efficient than the incorrect facts they had, and thirdly power from the national grid is due to get cleaner as they replace/upgrade power stations and introduce renewables.
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Old August 22nd, 2008, 04:58 PM   #133
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jarbury View Post
It's an interesting point to ask whether high-speed rail between London and Birmingham is actually worth it, if existing connections are pretty good.

London to Manchester I start to see the point, and even more so up to Scottish cities. Surely it would take longer to fly from Birmingham to London than it would to catch the train (heck especially if you ended up at Stanstead or Gatwick), so a HSR connection isn't really going to attract anyone that's not already catching the train, if that makes sense.
I think there is a possibility for HSR between Birmingham and London though it would have to be managed properly.

Take Germany's equivalent for example, the Frankfurt to Cologne leg which is about the same distance as London to Birmingham. This was completed a few years ago to big fanfare as the fasted train line in Germany. I think it was the first to reach 300km/hr in normal use. The buildup suggested 50minutes travel time between the two cities and I have travelled this a few times. Never however have I seen that 50minutes originally stated. Usually it is 1hr 11minutes to 1hr 20minutes depending on stops. The main problem was politics as it passed through a state which the state government demanded that there should be a stop as compensation. So now, the train slows down and stops at a tiny station with empty platforms to please the politicians and slows the whole service down.

To be honest, that 1hr 20min service of HSR is not much better than the 1hr 30minutes of your "slower" line.

If this link is built it should aim for a 45-50minute journey between the two cities. This is possible, as long as politics don't get in the way.
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Old August 22nd, 2008, 05:03 PM   #134
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Originally Posted by Magellan View Post
The best journey time, non-stop, between London and Birmingham is about 1h 10m for an approx. 170 Km journey and is configured as an inter-city service. The stopping services are much slower and serve the intermediate towns rather than Birmingham.

I think a HSR link between London and Birmingham, with services configured for commuter travel and making the journey in 30 - 45 minutes at 350 Km/h would significantly change the economic dynamics not just of London, but of a large proportion of the west midlands with its population of, I think, 5 million or so (sorry I do not have any of the figures). I would think it would alleviate the economic pressures on London and be of economic advantage to the run-down midlands.

Birmingham has to be the first step in the construction of any route going to the north west, and will cost in the region of at least 5 - 6 £billion so we have to make the best use of it with new commuter services until the long-distance routes open up.

P.S. I do not think there are any air links between Birmingham and the London airports.

P.P.S.
This is the link to the GreenGauge21 group which is pushing for the HSR services in the UK:
http://www.greengauge21.net/
If that is true, that there are 1hr 10minutes journeys between Birmingham and London, then that is better than the Frankfurt to Cologne link whose best is 1hr 11minutes and is considered one of the fasted HSR lines in Germany. Of cause then it's the stops that makes the difference.

Would it be worth it for the population? Why yes, London is much bigger than Frankfurt or Cologne, and although you can include the large population of the Rhein Ruhr, then you have equivalentswith Frankfurt and Birmingham and the Rhein Ruhr and London. However, one advantage is that after Cologne, the line does continue to other cities in the north like Berlin or Hamburg, so to make it profitable, you would need some links north East or West of Birmingham.
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Old August 22nd, 2008, 05:42 PM   #135
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I think there is a possibility for HSR between Birmingham and London though it would have to be managed properly.

Take Germany's equivalent for example, the Frankfurt to Cologne leg which is about the same distance as London to Birmingham. This was completed a few years ago to big fanfare as the fasted train line in Germany. I think it was the first to reach 300km/hr in normal use. The buildup suggested 50minutes travel time between the two cities and I have travelled this a few times. Never however have I seen that 50minutes originally stated. Usually it is 1hr 11minutes to 1hr 20minutes depending on stops. The main problem was politics as it passed through a state which the state government demanded that there should be a stop as compensation. So now, the train slows down and stops at a tiny station with empty platforms to please the politicians and slows the whole service down.

To be honest, that 1hr 20min service of HSR is not much better than the 1hr 30minutes of your "slower" line.

If this link is built it should aim for a 45-50minute journey between the two cities. This is possible, as long as politics don't get in the way.
I am surprised.

The service I was looking at is the Virgin London to Birmingham inter-city service on the existing WCML which has a top speed of 200 Km/h (but not throughout its route).

The current best journey time (that I can find) for the 170/180 Kms is 1h 29 mins which includes three intermediate stops. This will be cut to about 1h 10mins when the new timetable goes into operation in December 2008 (which may be achieved by also eliminating one of the stops) with three trains per hour. It can take up to 3 hours at the weekend due to extra intermediate stops.

The Greengauge21 proposal is for HSR services to run on new LGV 300km/h class lines for most of the route, but to use up-rated conventional lines at each end of the London/Birmingham sector in the initial phase. The service pattern is for a non-stop services on the line, with stopping services to be handled by the 200/225Km/h trains similar to those planned for use on the HS1 route to Kent from 2011.

They are currently quoting a best journey time of 55 mins end to end, but with extra funding they could take the line to 350Km/h and have dedicated HSR track all the way through (as per requirement for HSR services beyond Birmingham) thus making 35/45 mins journey possible.

So yes, I think you have a right to be disappointed with the service DB is offering.

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Old August 22nd, 2008, 05:51 PM   #136
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If that is true, that there are 1hr 10minutes journeys between Birmingham and London, then that is better than the Frankfurt to Cologne link whose best is 1hr 11minutes and is considered one of the fasted HSR lines in Germany. Of cause then it's the stops that makes the difference.

Would it be worth it for the population? Why yes, London is much bigger than Frankfurt or Cologne, and although you can include the large population of the Rhein Ruhr, then you have equivalentswith Frankfurt and Birmingham and the Rhein Ruhr and London. However, one advantage is that after Cologne, the line does continue to other cities in the north like Berlin or Hamburg, so to make it profitable, you would need some links north East or West of Birmingham.
I quite agree.

The point I was making was that an HSR service would significantly change the economics of London and the West Midlands if the service was treated as a fast commuter rather than premium, cum inter-city service.

Going beyond Birmingham, we have Greater Manchester with about 4 million, and Leeds with 2-3 million plus other near-by population centres all within 30 mins or so HSR travelling time of Birmingham.

So in the UK, the dynamics and potential customer base is quite different from that in France for example.
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Old August 22nd, 2008, 08:17 PM   #137
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Originally Posted by Magellan View Post
The current best journey time (that I can find) for the 170/180 Kms is 1h 29 mins which includes three intermediate stops. This will be cut to about 1h 10mins when the new timetable goes into operation in December 2008 (which may be achieved by also eliminating one of the stops) with three trains per hour. It can take up to 3 hours at the weekend due to extra intermediate stops.
There's one train in the morning, the 0745 from New Street, does it in 1 hr 22 minutes by eliminating the stop at Coventry. Once Rugby station is finished it won't slow down the through trains but still I can only concieve of the 1hr 10 minute time being achieved by having less stops.

With a new HSL Brimingham would be under an hour from London. I doubt to begin with the line would go all the way to Birmingham, most concepts opt for a phased approach. I'm also unsure that the eventual London to Scotland line would go directly through Birmingham as that would be costlier than bypassing it which the WCML does now. That would leave Birmungham on spurs to the north and south. It will be interesting to see Arup's proposals when they publish them.
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Old August 22nd, 2008, 10:17 PM   #138
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There's one train in the morning, the 0745 from New Street, does it in 1 hr 22 minutes by eliminating the stop at Coventry. Once Rugby station is finished it won't slow down the through trains but still I can only concieve of the 1hr 10 minute time being achieved by having less stops.
The December 2008 timetable takes advantage of all the work that has been carried out on the WCML over the last few years with improvements to the line speed and the removal of bottle-necks to improve the journey times and line capacity. The 1h 10mins is the figure quoted by Virgin (I'm not sure if they take out Coventry or not, but I think all Birmingham services will stop at Milton Keynes with the introduction of the new timetable).


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With a new HSL Brimingham would be under an hour from London. I doubt to begin with the line would go all the way to Birmingham, most concepts opt for a phased approach. I'm also unsure that the eventual London to Scotland line would go directly through Birmingham as that would be costlier than bypassing it which the WCML does now. That would leave Birmungham on spurs to the north and south. It will be interesting to see Arup's proposals when they publish them.
Yes, in Greengauge21's proposal the route will follow conventional lines in London and Birmingham with the new LGV sections rated at 300Km/h - the 30/35mins headway is only possible if the route is LGV all the way and rated at 350Km/h. The Greengauge21 proposals see the Scottish link going via Birmingham and continuing over the WCML from Stoke (or there abouts) onwards.

The Network Rail report will look at a few options, one of which is for a North of England and Scottish link going via Cambridge.

Regarding the Arup proposal; the consensus seems to be that it was half-baked, and did not go into sufficient detail beyond Heathrow. I think though they are planning to publish a more detailed proposal. See issue 146 of Rail Manager for their comments on the proposal:

http://91.186.0.3/~keepingt/railmanager/RMOL_2008.htm
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Old August 22nd, 2008, 11:51 PM   #139
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The December 2008 timetable takes advantage of all the work that has been carried out on the WCML over the last few years with improvements to the line speed and the removal of bottle-necks to improve the journey times and line capacity. The 1h 10mins is the figure quoted by Virgin (I'm not sure if they take out Coventry or not, but I think all Birmingham services will stop at Milton Keynes with the introduction of the new timetable).
Of which the only change left that will benfit the west midlands services is the Rugby remodelling which will reduce journey time by about 3 minutes at most. As far as I can tell the trains are already doing 125mph on all sections able to do it south of Rugby, so unless there are any further improvements I'm unaware of any reductions to save that extra 15 minutes will have to come from less stops or using less slack in the timetabling - which may well be possible as a serious amount is built in at the moment to cope with all the works and historical poor performance of the WCML.

Quote:
Regarding the Arup proposal; the consensus seems to be that it was half-baked, and did not go into sufficient detail beyond Heathrow. I think though they are planning to publish a more detailed proposal. See issue 146 of Rail Manager for their comments on the proposal:

http://91.186.0.3/~keepingt/railmanager/RMOL_2008.htm
It was quite obvious it wasn't the final proposal, Arup are an engineering firm, yet they hadn't even provided any (non topological) route maps. They won't finish until they've done some surveying and put together a complete risk/cost/time calculated strategy, like they did for the CTRL.
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Old August 23rd, 2008, 12:17 AM   #140
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Of which the only change left that will benfit the west midlands services is the Rugby remodelling which will reduce journey time by about 3 minutes at most. As far as I can tell the trains are already doing 125mph on all sections able to do it south of Rugby, so unless there are any further improvements I'm unaware of any reductions to save that extra 15 minutes will have to come from less stops or using less slack in the timetabling - which may well be possible as a serious amount is built in at the moment to cope with all the works and historical poor performance of the WCML.
Services are not yet using the line to its full capabilities - the December 2008 timetable change takes advantage of changes to the running times.


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It was quite obvious it wasn't the final proposal, Arup are an engineering firm, yet they hadn't even provided any (non topological) route maps. They won't finish until they've done some surveying and put together a complete risk/cost/time calculated strategy, like they did for the CTRL.
I do not know the reason why they released the work, but whatever it was, it not particularly robust, and it was surprising that it was published into teh public domain when it was incomplete.
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