AS THE date for submissions fast approaches, I would like to share a couple of points. Before I do, readers should be aware - if they aren't already - that there is still a lot of pro-HS2 sentiment in London, so we need everyone to respond to the consultation: every response counts!
First, the Wikipedia articles on TVR and the Japanese Bullet trains say that although there have been extraordinarily fast record runs, these record-breaking speeds are impractical for commercial trains due to motor overcharging, empty train weight, rail and engine wear issues, elimination of all but three coaches, excessive vibration, noise and lack of emergency stopping methods, and so the maximum speed would be 360kph.
Yet in the HS2 Route Engineering Report on p61, in section 8.4, entitled The 400kph Route, it says: 'From this northern portal, the line speed would rise to 400kph, a speed which would be continuously maintained over the next 114km to the vicinity of the National Exhibition Centre area near Birmingham. This constant speed would minimise the number of changes in the speed profile, avoiding the energy implications of successive braking and re-acceleration.'
This appears also to fly in the face of other countries which already have high-speed capability slowing their trains down, to reduce carbon emission and fuel costs.
Given the technical information, the time required to cover this stretch will have been commensurately underestimated as 17 minutes, rather than at 360kph as 19 minutes. This already increases the hoped for London-Birmingham
49 minutes to 51 minutes. If the stretches of various speeds have only been simply added together, then, de facto, again the estimated time is over-optimistic as no account of the time taken to accelerate from the various slow zones (including only 60kph through Camden!) into a fast zone or vice versa has been factored in.
Further, the HS2 claims which imply an average speed of 223kph over the 182km journey seems rather high, when the Japanese Bullet trains only achieve an average of 206kph from Tokyo to Osaka (515km), the Spanish 188kph average Madrid-Seville (431km), and the French 225kph average Paris-Lyon (431km), when one would surely instinctively expect the longer journeys to be more efficient in terms of getting the most out of the technology in terms of average speed compared with maximum capable speed.
I've seen that information on the HS2 Action Alliance website shows that the current fastest pre-high-speed time of 72 minutes to cover the 182km London-Birmingham route virtually equates to the 70 minutes for the high-speed 180km journey Frankfurt to Cologne journey in Germany.
The expected average of 223kph being only 55.6 per cent of the expected 400kph train capability seems a waste of technology, rather like owning a Ferrari over here in the UK given our 70mph speed limit as compared with Germany, where you can do what you can on the Autobahn.
Good luck to those who can afford such toys and give the rest of us immense free pleasure from occasionally seeing them, but the UK cannot afford such luxury if the current government is to retain any ounce of credibility in terms of handling the economy is concerned.
If such money is going to be spent, preferably in the UK rather than abroad, then it can be far better spent in terms of return; or otherwise, we'd all be grateful for a cut in the price of petrol, thank you.
COUNCILLOR DAVID G MEACOCK Chiltern District Council member for Chalfont Common ward
Layters Close Chalfont St Peter