Alternative for a north south spine for road to rail shift

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chris eaglen

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What is a better solution to provide intermodal shifts from road to rail for north south rail infrastructure. If the objective is to provide double stack freight/piggy back trailer/container on rail and duplex carriage lower fare passenger services to provide faster and lower cost services please.

HS2 Y network focussed on Birmingham as the Hub does not provide this remit. The geology/topology of England results in the Y configuration being expensive compared to the East Coast Mainline corridor across the 150km of flatter land.

Assuming the connection of ports in Liverpool and Tilbury and integration with the Network Rail infrastructure for some Javelin type fast and slow commuter services where would the higher speed and larger load gauge route(s) be located.

For HS2 the current route 3 does not provide the opportunities for a range of services because central Buckinghamshire does not have the rail connectivity currently of east and west routes and does not have the larger cities or towns.

Would HS2 route 4 alongside WCML/M1 but proceeding towards Leicester to York and Newcastle with East to West spurs to north Birmingham and to Liverpool and to Manchester and ending in Edinburgh be better than a parallel route alongside the East Coast mainline corridor. Would a new spinal route be 4 track or 2 track. The 2 track HS2 route 3 is limited in availability and rail services. The DFT and HS2 can restart the planning and design to enable wider railway and user values.
 
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DXMachina

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I wonder if road-rail shifts are best handled not by new routes but by running extra services (at the marginal cost, in the freed-up capacity..) on the classic network once some of the express traffic shifts to the HS network...

You certainly don't need trains of lorry transporters clogging up the HS network.
 

HSTEd

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Attempting to put freight on HS2 is a bad move, the corridor will be straight and have gradients up to 2.5%.

A double stack freight route can go around things far more easily, and must go around hills. If you want doublestacks you need to build a seperate route for them.

As for "freed up capacity".... there won't be that much, HS2 relieves 18 paths an hour and only a few of them will be splitting services, so we are looking at about 20 odd paths freed.
Most of these slots will be retained by the intercity network or used for improved regional/commuter services, leaving hardly any at all for freight workings.

Additionally the "classic network" can't support either double stack or piggyback intermodal services thanks to its awful loading gauge, and HS2 will not be able to support them either (excepting expensive proprietary stuff like Modalohr wagons for the latter).
 

tbtc

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The problem is that most freight flows are pretty infrequent/ irregular, so one dedicated freight line wouldn't take as much freight off the current network as one dedicated high speed passenger line.

Also, HS2 is more concerned with providing fast journeys to/from London than by stopping in Buckinghamshire, so the fact that there's little population there isn't so important.
 

Holly

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The only alternative that I see that makes any sense is to drop HS2 and build instead a railway new line on much the same routes but with a very large loading gauge to accommodate big freight and long distance (double deck and/or spacious?) stopping trains. With the express traffic retained on the existing network (which is increasingly freed of stoppers).

The advantages are of course the large loading gauge (same as chunnel?) and that potentially slow lines can be built on steeper and curvier, and hence cheaper, routes. The savings are in real estate more than construction and signalling.
 

DownSouth

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I can't see any problems with HS2 taking a significant amount of full-sized freight between midnight and six in the morning when passenger trains are not running. The impact on the track from an intermodal train cruising along at 120-160 km/h would be far less than a passenger train hammering it at 320 km/h.
 

Holly

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Where would any freight line go? ...
There's no freight line as such, just a combined big gauge line for freight and for stoppers.

The freight goes wherever it needs to go, since slow lines can be curvy.
Mostly though the freight goes to new road/rail interchanges, similar to those at Le Shuttle lorry facilities. If that's a bit out of the way for the stoppers, remember they are stoppers and you can always use the expresses on the classic lines instead.
... and how do you deal with the fact that double deck stock wouldn't fit on any conventional line?
By using the double deck stock as captive only on the new lines. These will be stoppers - relatively short trains with lots of new stations. Facilities (ticket sales, shops, cafés etc.) mostly on the trains rather than in the stations; more like Amtrak - the stations are unfenced platforms and little else.

Not as sexy as very fast trains but a bunch of benefits, and more paths for Pendos and the like.
 
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JGR

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There's no freight line as such, just a combined big gauge line for freight and for stoppers.

The freight goes wherever it needs to go, since slow lines can be curvy.
Mostly though the freight goes to new road/rail interchanges, similar to those at Le Shuttle lorry facilities. If that's a bit out of the way for the stoppers, remember they are stoppers and you can always use the expresses on the classic lines instead.
By using the double deck stock as captive only on the new lines. These will be stoppers - relatively short trains with lots of new stations. Facilities (ticket sales, shops, cafés etc.) mostly on the trains rather than in the stations; more like Amtrak - the stations are unfenced platforms and little else.

Not as sexy as very fast trains but a bunch of benefits, and more paths for Pendos and the like.
Having double-stack containers or even large-gauge freight wagons captive on one line is fairly useless unless you just want to move containers along that line. As soon as you want to move it somewhere else (ie. port, city, industry, etc) you need to crane the containers onto standard loading gauge single-stack wagons.
By the time you've built the container terminals and done all that shuffling you might as well have sent it the whole way on a standard single stack container wagon.

Also, double stack containers and (network compatible) OHLE are more or less mutually exclusive, which is a fairly severe limitation.
 

HSTEd

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Also, double stack containers and (network compatible) OHLE are more or less mutually exclusive, which is a fairly severe limitation.
Not particularily, the Chunnel can take two 8'6" containers as is, so I don't see why you can't make a pantograph that can support both normal height OLE and one which has the requisite 20'2" clearance required for double stack high cubes.


Also there are several places where the double stack loading gauge would be useful, especially between ports and logistic centres inland where its "captive" nature doesn't really matter very much.

Also its a nice thing to have on your freight line so you don't come back in 15 years and discover that you now need that line to be double stack compatible because you have recieved funding for a clearance project or whatever.
 
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Not particularily, the Chunnel can take two 8'6" containers as is, so I don't see why you can't make a pantograph that can support both normal height OLE and one which has the requisite 20'2" clearance required for double stack high cubes.


Also there are several places where the double stack loading gauge would be useful, especially between ports and logistic centres inland where its "captive" nature doesn't really matter very much.

Also its a nice thing to have on your freight line so you don't come back in 15 years and discover that you now need that line to be double stack compatible because you have recieved funding for a clearance project or whatever.
Um, don't the 92s manage that and didn't a pair of 319s go through the tunnel in December '93?
 

HSTEd

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Um, don't the 92s manage that and didn't a pair of 319s go through the tunnel in December '93?
Yes, yes they do, Class 373s can also do it as demonstrated by the fact they have regularily operated north of London on "normal" height OLE.
 

hwl

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In the future most containers will be the new default of 9'6" hence all the W10 and W12 guage clearance work being carried out by NR so they don't have to be carried on special wagons (which reduce the number of containers per train as the containers can't be above the bogies). The channel tunnel can't take double stacked 9'6" so there is no point in worrying about double stacking to an older outgoing standard.
Guage clearance to W12 and 775m freight waiting loops (so each freight train can be longer, thus maximising path efficiency) higher track speeds on the loops for quicker entry and exit, as well as some flying junctions would make huge differences in capacity with not too much outlay.
 

Holly

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Having double-stack containers or even large-gauge freight wagons captive on one line is fairly useless unless you just want to move containers along that line. As soon as you want to move it somewhere else (ie. port, city, industry, etc) you need to crane the containers onto standard loading gauge single-stack wagons. ...
I'm thinking large gauge rather than double-stack (double-stack could be an exceptional type of train for port access and not entirely unknown).
Mostly move tall containers along the new railway line while still sitting on road trailers. At the depot hook up a road tractor and roll-on roll-off.
Or for low volume customers carry the tractor and driver on the train too.

The point being that a large gauge slow railway is cheaper to build than a high speed railway because the tracks can be curvier and hence the real estate can be cheaper.

As to passengers - relocating the stoppers and freight off the WCML (and to a lesser extent some other main lines) frees up more paths for Pendolinos and the like. Double decking the long distance stopping passenger trains allows them to be shorter and hence allows the new stations to be cheaper. Also, a large loading gauge makes it easier to put things like shops, cafés and ticket sales aboard the long distance stopper trains so they won't be needed at the new stations.

It's an alternative to High Speed is all. Focussing on greatly increasing capacity rather than focussing on increasing speed (which is more expensive to do).
 
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nick.c

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The only problem with diverting high capacity "stoppers" off the WCML to the HS2 route is that there's very few noteworthy places for them to stop. Similarly using the resulting spare capacity to run pendolinos non-stop on the WCML means there are fewer trains serving the important population centres along the WCML.
Unless I've missed the point entirely - HS2 as currently proposed is probably still the best option.
 

Holly

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The only problem with diverting high capacity "stoppers" off the WCML to the HS2 route is that there's very few noteworthy places for them to stop. Similarly using the resulting spare capacity to run pendolinos non-stop on the WCML means there are fewer trains serving the important population centres along the WCML.
Unless I've missed the point entirely - HS2 as currently proposed is probably still the best option.
Well, the thread says it is about shifting traffic from road to rail. And there are plenty of roads to interchange with along (a less direct and cost-reduced version of) the HS2 route.
Both for freight and for passengers.

Getting between A and B in minimum time is a different requirement from shifting some A<-->B traffic from road to rail. The railways that best meet those needs are different, each from the other.
 

the sniper

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Double decking the long distance stopping passenger trains allows them to be shorter and hence allows the new stations to be cheaper. Also, a large loading gauge makes it easier to put things like shops, cafés and ticket sales aboard the long distance stopper trains so they won't be needed at the new stations.
You're talking about building a whole new train line, but plan on saving a fraction of the cost by building featureless stations with short platforms? Putting aside the money made from having shops in railway stations, I think there are bigger financial flaws then the cost of building slightly longer platforms!

We've had a couple of threads now on ludicrous/pointless visions of a super freight line, is this something that Stop HS2 are pushing? :|
 

Holly

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Again, the question posed was -
Could a new North-South railway significantly reduce traffic presently carried on roads?

HS2 will do that somewhat. Though how many future HS2 customers presently drive is not clear. And how many lorries will be displaced by extra capacity freed up on the WCML does not seem like it will be many.

A slower and cheaper (than HS2) railway could do it. Less cost and extra modes (lorries - rolling roads; cars - new parkways).

HS2 has many benefits; but getting lots of lorries off the motorways does not rank high among them.
 

DownSouth

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The problem with a new slower railway is that it would not present any incentive to switch to rail for passengers. The major obstacle to using rail for the average person is inconvenience, door-to-door journey times using rail (not just station to station) have to be significantly faster than road to overcome the inconvenience of using it.

You have to go for high speed so there is actually an improvement in service that provides an incentive to use rail. During the day you get faster passenger trains on the high speed lines, more paths on the classic lines for stopping services (which would use existing stations with existing connections) and more paths on the classic lines for freight during the day. Then at night you get space on the high speed line for full-sized freight.

The cost of the real estate would be roughly the same no matter which route is chosen, a slower line being significantly longer. A slower line could be kept to not much more than the length of the high speed line if it used roughly the same corridor, but in that case you might as well go for the higher startup cost and make the line high speed.
 

LE Greys

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I'm confused here - are you suggesting that instead of building HS2 we build a new "slow" line for stoppers and big freight? And therefore the "classic" lines are kept for high speed services (only)?
One alternative is to leave sufficient room alongside HS2 for slow lines (assuming 125mph can be called 'slow'). The land take would not be much more, although gradient would be a lot more difficult since freight is significantly affected, unlike TGV-speed trains. However, diverting the line away from the line in some areas would not just solve this, it would allow the line to serve places such as Brackley that have been cut off since the Great Central closed. Brackley happens to be smack in the middle of the heaviest-objecting area, which might give people more of an incentive to support the line. Freight would be restricted to Class 3 and Class 4, allowing Freightliner to use the route but preventing slower trains from causing delays. As well as this, there would be an acceleration/deceleration zone for intermediate stops, and a diversionary section during engineering work. Both Chiltern and XC would be able to access the slows, but not the fasts.
 

tbtc

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One alternative is to leave sufficient room alongside HS2 for slow lines (assuming 125mph can be called 'slow'). The land take would not be much more, although gradient would be a lot more difficult since freight is significantly affected, unlike TGV-speed trains. However, diverting the line away from the line in some areas would not just solve this, it would allow the line to serve places such as Brackley that have been cut off since the Great Central closed. Brackley happens to be smack in the middle of the heaviest-objecting area, which might give people more of an incentive to support the line. Freight would be restricted to Class 3 and Class 4, allowing Freightliner to use the route but preventing slower trains from causing delays. As well as this, there would be an acceleration/deceleration zone for intermediate stops, and a diversionary section during engineering work. Both Chiltern and XC would be able to access the slows, but not the fasts.
I'm all for making HS2 wider (lets face it, you could have a four or six track railway without significantly more disruption than there is going to be for a two track one).

I think that we need to get away from the old routes (be it the GCR or the ECML/ WCML) in terms of assessing demand though.
 

Holly

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I'm confused here - are you suggesting that instead of building HS2 we build a new "slow" line for stoppers and big freight? And therefore the "classic" lines are kept for high speed services (only)?
I'm saying that exactly what you describe is a valid (and cheaper) alternative if the aim is to reduce road traffic and replace it with rail.

That's not exactly the same as proposing it, but close :) Note the caveat - if the purpose is to displace traffic (people and freight) and so reducing road volume by increasing rail.

Why do you want to put freight onto rail anyway?
To get some of the long distance stuff off the road for a large part of the journey.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
... The cost of the real estate would be roughly the same no matter which route is chosen, a slower line being significantly longer. A slower line could be kept to not much more than the length of the high speed line if it used roughly the same corridor, but in that case you might as well go for the higher startup cost and make the line high speed.
The proposition is that a slower line can take a curvier route and so can avoid having to acquire particularly expensive assets that just happen to be in the way of a straighter route. This may be particularly applicable to quad track corridors.

To be honest I don't really know how true that is; it is merely set forth as a proposition. Maybe no-one knows even roughly - short of a detailed costing of the entire project.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
The problem with a new slower railway is that it would not present any incentive to switch to rail for passengers. The major obstacle to using rail for the average person is inconvenience, door-to-door journey times using rail (not just station to station) have to be significantly faster than road to overcome the inconvenience of using it.
I guess slower motorways will help with that! And slower motorways do seem to be in Britain's future.
 
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tbtc

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Why do you want to put freight onto rail anyway?
Interesting question.

Freight can be quite costly to the railway - in terms of the infrequent/ unpredictable/ slow services that take up a lot of paths (even if they only actually use a fraction of the ones which are "spared" for freight services).

It's not very efficient, in a number of areas.

I'm saying that exactly what you describe is a valid (and cheaper) alternative if the aim is to reduce road traffic and replace it with rail.

That's not exactly the same as proposing it, but close :) Note the caveat - if the purpose is to displace traffic (people and freight) and so reducing road volume by increasing rail
Building a new line to run through the centre of each town/city to replace the existing stopping services would be prohibitively expensive though. At least HS2 has a good bit of freedom between cities (and a long way between each).
 

GearJammer

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I'ts not trucks that cause traffic congestion, its cars, so i would have thought getting people out of cars and onto busses and trains is the plan to go for, not these pie in the sky ideas about getting freight onto rail bus and train infrastructure is already in place, unlike (largely) freight infrastructure on the railways!
 

Holly

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I'ts not trucks that cause traffic congestion, ... rail bus and train infrastructure is already in place, unlike (largely) freight infrastructure on the railways!
Yes, but the concept is more rolling roads (like the Chunnel's Le Shuttle). Or like the Irish Ferries.

Rather than freight infrastructure is its traditional connotation. The latter works well for Salinas, California to Chicago, Illinois - but Britain is too small (and sea is cheaper than rail over long routes (1000 miles+) that have deep water access).
 

HSTEd

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Interesting question.

Freight can be quite costly to the railway - in terms of the infrequent/ unpredictable/ slow services that take up a lot of paths (even if they only actually use a fraction of the ones which are "spared" for freight services).

It's not very efficient, in a number of areas.
.
The slow nature of freight trains is largely a result of them subscribing to an old fashioned methadology thanks to the American dominance of the freight market where such techniques are still perfectly viable due to huge distances.

There is no reason that a freightliner multiple unit (and everything will be moved in containers or as TOFC in the future so its fine to only consider them) with distributed traction can't tear up the track like a suburban passenger multiple unit. You have the power to weight ratio of a lorry at your disposal (even under diesel traction).
 
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LE Greys

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The slow nature of freight trains is largely a result of them subscribing to an old fashioned methadology thanks to the American dominance of the freight market where such techniques are still perfectly viable due to huge distances.

There is no reason that a freightliner multiple unit (and everything will be moved in containers or as TOFC in the future so its fine to only consider them) with distributed traction can't tear up the track like a suburban passenger multiple unit. You have the power to weight ratio of a lorry at your disposal (even under diesel traction).
Fast, frequent freight is easily possible, and has effectively been done in Britain several time, the GC 'Windcutters', 'Green Arrow', the 'Condor' and so on, even RES might count. The question is whether something with the weight of a large container can be moved at the same speed as a MkII (hauled by a 90 or a 57 perhaps) without doing serious damage to the track. I'm not quite sure about the route availability and axle loading, but it's got to be higher than a MkII.

Parcels and palletised loads could easily be moved at express speeds, perhaps by a modified 390 along the same lines as TGV La Poste. Airline luggage containers might make loading and unloading easier, the same way that BRUTEs did in the past.
 
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