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We have high-speed trains!

SystemSystem Posts: 8,649 Staff Team
Today the first ever high speed train line in Britain becomes operational. Eurostar trains will be able to reach their full 186mph on British soil, although not all the way to/from London yet. Story.

I think everyone would agree that good railways are paramount for businesses and the economy of a country. So should we implement high-speed lines for the rest of the country and bring us in line with the rest of Europe, regardless of the cost? But then again, why should it cost so much?

To be honest there is something fundamentally wrong with the way infrastructure work is done in this country. I read somewhere that the tunnel that is part of the second half of the Channel rail link will cost some £3bn. At the same time the Germans are building a tunnel that is at least three times longer. The cost? £500m. Why a price difference that in effect is 10 times higher?

The very important London to Glasgow lines have been downgraded again and again, and now it looks like no train will go faster than 125mph as "we can't afford" a full upgrade.

Hell, even the Spanish are months from opening the world's fastest line with trains reaching 220mph. Surely we're shooting ourselves in the foot by not implementing high-speed railways nationwide?

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Heh, it's only taking 20 mins off the total journey time so far though. But yes, it is good news. And they should do the same for all the main lines in the UK.

    I am sick of travelling from here to Edinburgh at a snail's pace!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by KoolCat
    Heh, it's only taking 20 mins off the total journey time so far though. But yes, it is good news. And they should do the same for all the main lines in the UK.

    only 20 minutes, but thats not bad on a 3 hour journey I look forward to it else where
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by hobbs
    I look forward to it else where
    Fat chance I'm afraid. :(
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by Aladdin
    Fat chance I'm afraid. :(

    Agrees.

    We're British - we may have "invented" railways but I sometimes think that the "Rocket" was the pinnacle :(
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    The Advanced Passenger Train (APT) was a fine British concept but it started with the wrong foot and the thing never took off.

    The biggest problem does not lie with the rolling stock but with the tracks. French, German and Spanish high-speed trains are available and not as expensive as one would think. But what good would they be without the right tracks?

    The main problem now resides with the amount of traffic on the routes. A true high-speed network would require duplication of the main routes. This would have to involve some forced purchases by the government as some farmland and property running next to the existing tracks would have to be used.

    This would be unfair on a few people, but still every other country has had to do it and this is something the British government should consider.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    our problem is, when we laid track in this country, it was made to carry fright and passenger trains, us being cheap and all

    whilst in europe/usa freight runs on different tracks to passenger





    and really we need to replace all exisiting tracks, but the amount of time with no rail network and cost etc would cripple the economy (damn rich commuters)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I remember watching Jonathan Dimbleby's show a year or so ago and a professor who knows about these things said that it would only cost £20bn to give Britain a fully modern, high speed rail network. £20bn is a drop in the ocean of government finance!

    The trouble is that all these cancellations are occurring because it is simply not profitable to carry out these investments - I mean the rail companies still get their money whether they get you there on Stephenson's Rocket or a Japanese bullet train.

    Hence I believe the only way we'll improve our railway is to renationalise all the private rail monopolies and Network Rail under British Rail just like before 1995.

    I don't think however that we should just put in today's high speed rail lines which is the mistake we made before, we should be developing and implimenting the technology of the future. Apparently the Germans are working on a technology called maglev where the trains are run on magnetic tracks and have no wheels but instead levitate which reduces friction and so increases speed. I think we should be spending money on researching this and putting it on our railways.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by kevlar85
    I don't think however that we should just put in today's high speed rail lines which is the mistake we made before, we should be developing and implimenting the technology of the future. Apparently the Germans are working on a technology called maglev where the trains are run on magnetic tracks and have no wheels but instead levitate which reduces friction and so increases speed. I think we should be spending money on researching this and putting it on our railways.


    true but actually the Japs already have those trains, no bumpy ride whatso ever :D
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    There is no doubt in the minds of anyone who is not a free-market fundamentalist that privatisation was the worst thing that ever happened to our railways.

    Not only has the service deteriorated due to the private companies' sole objective of maximising profits, but the culture of sub-contracting everything means that any given repair that BR did for, say £100,000 now costs more than twice the amount. Not to mention the lack of co-ordination and accountability.

    Maglev is indeed an attractive concept and Britain should not fall behind others. However full implementation would still be many decades ahead. More info here.

    In the meantime, we'd do well to build brand new high-speed lines parallel to existing ones (it wouldn't take that long- Spain have done their 400-mile Madrid-Barcelona from scratch in 5 or 6 years) and jump on the high-speed wagon, if you'll pardon the pun.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    The irony of this thread is that the day it was posted, another train was derailed thanks to a lack of track maintenence...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by Man Of Kent
    The irony of this thread is that the day it was posted, another train was derailed thanks to a lack of track maintenence...
    Or to be more precise, thanks to a lack of track.

    Apparently the Jarvis boys removed some old track... and forgot to replace it.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    The trouble with this country is that there are too many private companies with their fingers in the pie.

    Did you know, for instance, that the train operating company DOES NOT OWN the trains it operates? Trains built by British Rail were sold well below their market value, and are now hired back to the railways by companies such as HSBC, leading to the ridiculous instance that a two-carriage Railbus costs £150,000 per year to hire, when it didnt cost much more than that to build the bloody thing in the first place.

    And as for the infrastructure, railtrack got rid of its Permenent Way department, selling it off to companies such as Jarvis, then hiring it back. Under British Rail the London Kings Cross to Edinburgh Waverley line was electrified, including branches to Leeds, Skipton, Cambridge and Glasgow Central, slightly early and on budget. Now the infrastructure bills for the WCML are ten times what it was for the ECML, and thats because private companies like Jarvis and Balfour Beatty can charge what they want., and provide the service that they want.

    Which means we pay ten times what we did in 1990, and we get five foot sections of track missing from vital crossovers near major London terminals. And broken rails going unreported to save money, as happened at Potters Bar, Hatfield and also at Retford, which fortunately didnt cause a train to derail as the train stopped in time.
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