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http://www.timesonline.co.uk/newspaper/0,,176-2168568,00.html

Scotland Express seeks green light
Dipesh Gadher, Transport Correspondent


PLANS for a £15 billion high-speed train link between London and Scotland will be unveiled tomorrow by Network Rail.
Iain Coucher, deputy chief executive of the infrastructure company, will outline the case for the line, which could see 180mph services running up and down the country on a half-hourly basis from 2016.

Network Rail believes the route, if given the green light by the government, should run parallel to the existing west coast main line, departing from London and stopping at Birmingham and Manchester before terminating in Glasgow or possibly Edinburgh.

The service would shave more than 30 minutes off a trip between the capital and the Midlands and would take passengers to Scotland in three hours.

Coucher will argue that if the new service can attract enough passengers from domestic airlines then it could operate without the need for any public subsidy, a key hurdle in convincing ministers of its merits.

“We must presume a high-speed line will never be built unless there is a robust business case for doing so,” Coucher is expected to tell a conference in central London hosted by the Institution of Civil Engineers.

“A high-speed line should be dedicated to major conurbations with a small number of stops, it should be based around conventional high-speed rail technology with speeds around 300kph (186mph), and should be capable of integrating with the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL) and existing rail lines for access to city centres.”

Although the idea of a north-south high-speed link is not new, Network Rail’s decision to intervene in the debate for the first time will be interpreted by the rail industry as a sign that the project might finally get off the ground.

Sir Rod Eddington, the government’s most senior transport adviser, is expected to back the scheme in a report this summer.

While an earlier analysis envisaged a north-south link costing £33 billion, Network Rail estimates that the line could be delivered for £11 billion to £14 billion. A fleet of electric trains, similar to the TGVs that operate in France, would cost another £650m.

For the scheme to be viable, Coucher will claim the service will need to carry 21m passengers a year by 2016 and 30m passengers in 15 years’ time.

Reaching these levels will be no mean feat. Network Rail has calculated that it will require 90% of all people travelling between London and Manchester to use the train rather than fly, and 70% of market share on routes between London and Scotland.

The issue of public subsidy for rail projects was brought into sharp focus last week when the Commons public accounts committee said the economic case for the high-speed CTRL “remains marginal”. The committee warned that taxpayers may have to stump up more money for the £5.2 billion link.
 

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I'd rather this be maglev. It would cost more, but we'd get more back.
 

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I think this pretty much kills any UK Maglev plan. I don't see Blair or Brown trying to get it done as a legacy project.
 

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I don't see this getting off the ground, after the government spent £18 billion upgrading the West Coast Mainline I very much doubt they want to spend a further £15 billion minimum on a seperate HSR.

This sounds like Network Rail trying to derail any potential maglev which they wouldn't operate and would steal passengers.
 

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I think Network Rail should operate a maglev. I think the problem here is that NR have basically done a lot of work in ensuring the current infrastructure is up-to-scratch and I think if we were to wait say another 5 years, NR and Transrapid and the government could come to a solution where they could build such a line.
 

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Not sure I'm pleased about this news as it would very much indermine Ultraspeed's plans and quite an emphasis is placed on "conventional high-speed rail technology with speeds around 300kph (186mph), [that] should be capable of integrating with the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL) and existing rail lines for access to city centres.” Bascially F*** off maglev :(

Such a link is needed in one form or another and I guess the budget sounds reasonable but it still reeks of second best and those passenger projections are very very optimistic. I just don't think it offers high enough speeds. We'll see, at least they're talking about doing something!
 

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In an ideal world we would have both. Maglev stopping only at big cities, HSR for all current intercity routes and the electrification of the rest.

I can but dream.
 

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Well I'd actually prefer this to maglev as it'd go from city centre to city centre. Maglev is a waste of time if it doesn't go to the centres.

However they should definitely be investing in the TGV2/Shinkansen 2 technology with 360kmh/225mph running speeds.

Also I don't see why we should buy French though. I have been on TGVs, Eurostars, German ICE trains and almost all the different models of Shinkansen. The German Siemens built ICE trains and the Shinkansen feel a lot more upmarket. The ol' TGV feels a bit shabby in comparison.

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Here's the lowdown on next-gen Shinks....

FASTECH 360 is a prototype train for the next-generation Shinkansen rolling stock, and can run at speeds of up to 405 km/h. Its name is a portmanteau of Fast, Technology, and 360 km/h (the speed at which production trains will run). Production trains are expected to enter service in 2011, operated by East Japan Railway Company.



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That extra 60km/h would make a fair bit of difference for the London to Glasgow route - a 20% increase in speed. Anything to get people out of planes and onto trains. It is inexcusable that people use planes for domestic flights in the UK.

That you could hop on a train from Euston and get to say Manchester in an hour and 15 minutes or thereabouts with one of these 225mph trains is what high speed rail is all about.
 

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nick_taylor said:
I'd rather this be maglev. It would cost more, but we'd get more back.
I completely agree. However I really can't see it happening so this may be the best we're going to get.
 

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why 180mph when other countries are moving on to next gen tgv/bullet trains now that go 200+. 180mph will be obsolete by the time 2016 comes along. this is a start thuogh if they do it and plan to expand the high speed network so that it covers MML and the ECML as well as FGW. they cannot stop with a single line but rather keep slowly expanding it until its nationwide like the french. the govt should aim for it to take no more than three hours to travel between all the major british cities. this line will totally bypass large chunks of england giving half the country decent links to london and scotland whilst yorkshire, the east mids and east anglia get zilch.
 

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Well you can't build a high speed rail network that serves the whole country in one go!

Besides, this line would serve London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow and Edinburgh.... better than solely a high speed East Coast Main Line which would only serve Sheffield, Leeds, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

With a few billion for the signalling couldn't the ECML be upgraded to 160mp/h anyway?
 

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It would also serve Stansted and Cambridge (hi-tech centre), Nottingham and Middlesborough and Newcastle.
 

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Again why go for next-gen HSR, when the Japanese are dead cert on its Osaka-Tokyo line and thats going to cost >$70bn. Britain could build a line along say the WCML that then curves up around Tyneside and build it so that you have express services going Glasgow - Leeds - Manchester - Birmingham - London. You could then have stations inbetween that are above or below the express tracks at more stops, eg parkways, smaller cities or airports to ensure that there is greater coverage but allow for priority of express services.
 

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But the maglev route isn't city centre. Without the city centre aspect I think its a waste of time (in both ways).

I really hope that the maglev in Japan goes from Ginza/Shinjuku (in Tokyo) to Umeda and not Shin-Osaka. Its a bit of a pain that the Shinkansen docks at Shin-Osaka as that station is about 10 minutes from Umeda and 20 minutes from Namba. Umeda (and Osaka) does really does need a fillip as its been a bit down in the dumps recently.

However to say that the Osaka-Tokyo maglev line is 'dead cert' is drastically over-egging the situation. It's been in the project books for over a decade and I doubt it will be built until the 2020s.

Unless Tokyo gets the 2016/2020 Olympics.....
 

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Hence why it needs to be changed to take in cities, airports and parkway stations to offer as much exposure as possible.

The problem of HSR I fear though is that it could take over the routes of the fast-tracks of the WCML, when really we should have local, express and maglev.
 
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