Trains For America

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Britain plans high speed rail expansion

The London Times Online has discussion about some outstanding improvements in ground transport. WARNING: Dangerous concepts enclosed. May contain talk of “planning for the future.” Could cause harful side effects to some American readers.

Double-deck trains travelling at 225mph (360km/h) and carrying up to 800 passengers would depart every four minutes, cutting the journey time from London to Birmingham to 30 minutes and from London to Manchester to just over an hour. Passengers may, however, have to travel to the suburbs of London to catch the trains because the terminus could be built up to five miles from the centre to reduce the cost of the line.

Sir David Rowlands, the chairman of High Speed Two, which is preparing detailed plans for a new North-South line, said that the preferred option was for four tracks to double the capacity of the route.

No high-speed line anywhere in the world has more than two tracks but Sir David said that Britain needed to plan ahead for continuing rail growth over several decades.


Filed under: International High Speed Rail

2 Responses

  1. willesdenjunction says:

    You wait ages for a proposal for high speed rail, and then several come along at once.

    Talk of ‘planning’ in this case is rather an overstatement. We’ve just got ‘High Speed 1’ from London St pancras to the Channel Tunnel, which means high speed all the way from London to Paris and Brussels in around 2 hours. But its taken 20 years to get this. Its the success of High speed 1, and controversy over expansion at London Heathrow airport in addition to environmental concerns, which is creating pressure for ‘High Speed 2’ from London to the north of England and Scotland.

    But already a very British muddle is starting to appear, with the Air industry lobbying hard for the new line to go via Heathrow (west of London) which would increase costs and distance. And Sir David Rowlands now suggests that, to cut costs it might not start at St Pancras ( in central London and the terminus for high speed 1) but from Willesden in the north west suburbs. OK for me because thats where I live, not so great for everyone else. Then in the same breath he suggests building a 4 track railway (increasing costs dramatically).He also suggests 350km/h when most of the French TGV services and Eurostar run at 300km/h (186mph) which is more than fast enough for the relatively short distances in the UK. And this is the man in charge of developing the project.

    I think we will get High Speed 2, but only after a lot of delay. In many ways, I suspect the situation here is not that different to the US- a lack of long term planning, a weak and fragmented pro-rail lobby etc.

    You might even get high speed before we do.


  2. Paul says:

    Is Heathrow still building a new runway? What a waste!

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