Why are people opposed to HS2? (And other HS2 discussion)

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by ABB125, 24 Jan 2019.

  1. al78

    al78 Established Member

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    No. Planes are already almost as optimised as they can be for fuel economy.

    Railways are far better for carbon footprint purposes because they have a much lower carbon footprint per passenger, if full. This is because despite moving at high speed, they minimise frontal area (and hence wind resistance) per passenger by virtue of transporting people in long thin vehicles. Even using fossil fuels to generate electricity, rail is going to beat air for CO2 emissions.
     
  2. jfowkes

    jfowkes Member

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    There are loads of things we could do to make planes more efficient.

    To start with, remove the wings, engines, tailplane and vertical stabiliser, that will save a lot of weight. Then, replace the bulky undercarriage with steel wheels on axles. Since we've got rid of the engines, we'll drive the wheels instead with some electric motors. Since we've got rid of the wings, we'll have trouble steering - and steering is really important now because without wings we'll be flying very close to the ground. So, we'll make them coned and flanged and put down steel rails for them to run on. That means the plane steers itself - result! We can probably get rid of a pilot now, that should save some costs. Finally, since we're flying on the ground, we can take your "power from an electric line on the surface" idea, but put it above the plane instead.
     
  3. al78

    al78 Established Member

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    I suspect it is using flawed logic. The family of four is never going to take one car each anywhere, since children do not drive, so it only improves emissions as shown if four people travelling together actually takes three other cars off the road. Give three friends a lift when they were each planning to drive their own vehicles is more like it.

    Put the family of four on the train and their car emits nothing, and frees up a very small amount of road space.

    The problem is people want to live 50-100 miles from work and travel each way, instead of taking lower paid local jobs or living in a not quite so nice leafy suburb or market town out in the countryside. Another problem is when companies demand their employees travel stupid distances for meetings, instead of teleconferencing. Ultimately the only way to make a dent in the carbon footprint of the country as a whole is to live a lot more simply, but no-one wants to come to terms with that, so we carry on living inefficiently and unsustainably, and hope to dump the consequences on someone else (the neoliberal capitalism way).
     
  4. Howardh

    Howardh Established Member

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    Unfortunately your system won't get us to Athens in three hours. When you've found a way of doing that....
    Wonder when carbon footprints are measured, any account is taken that for 200 miles on a train, bus or in a car you are taking 2 - 4 hrs whereas on a plane it's 30 minutes, so the amount of carbon/minute travelling is affected?
     
  5. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    The figures given in post #3980 are per km, so they are indicative of the emissions per journey, the reduction of which is the objective here. What has the amount of emissions per minute got to do with climate change when most passengers are travelling to go somewhere and the total number of journeys is the same*?
    * maybe some enthusiasts excepted.
     
  6. squizzler

    squizzler Member

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    The second one. The chart presumably shows average occupancy for every type of vehicle except the motorcar. Hence why the 'coach' (holiday tour? liner service?) is apparently vastly better than a bus, despite them being superficially similar.

    Average car occupancy I think is in the order of 1.4 (please challenge me if you know otherwise!). So I would take car emissions as 122 g/km/person. Oh yes, and who spotted the footnote which says 'car refers to average diesel car'. So that is already better than the national fleet which is mostly petrol.

    How can the BBC put their name to such dross? The charitable reason is that they are simply lazy and cut and pasted some press release.
     
  7. Howardh

    Howardh Established Member

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    If you are emitting a lot of carbon but in a short time, it could be better than emitting much less but over longer. But obviously if it's per km then the amount of time spent travelling that km becomes immaterial.
     
  8. TrafficEng

    TrafficEng Member

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    To an extent this is already done. For each take off the pilots work out the V speeds and length of runway required, based on meteorological conditions, weight, safety margins etc. A given amount of thrust is required to reach take off speed within the length of runway to be used, and the pilots have to confirm the engines are able to produce that thrust and achieve take off and climb safely.

    The old school approach was to use maximum thrust and get off the ground asap. But Laker (so you can guess the motivations) developed and used a technique called reduced thrust take off (now also known as "Flex"). The idea is that if you have more runway length available than required then it is possible to use less thrust and take off further down the runway. The benefits include less engine wear and reduced fuel use. So is attractive to airlines that want to save money.

    The problem is that using up more of the runway reduces the safety margin if things go wrong. It is still 'safe', but in the drive to maximise efficiency the boundaries get pushed and the potential for human errors is always a risk. But in principle, building longer runways could help to reduce the energy required for aircraft to safely take off.

    There have been trials and experiments with jet or rocket assisted take off. Search for a video of "C-130 Fat Albert rocket" to get an idea.

    Jet engines used only for assist would come with a weight penalty like batteries, but with rockets a significant proportion of their weight is fuel which would be used up during take off. It might also be possible to jettison the rockets in a safe area to further reduce weight and drag. I'm not sure noise campaigners and safety regulators would approve of their frequent use on passenger flights though. o_O

    Landing with the same weight of batteries as you took off with is also going to take some thinking about by aircraft and runway designers. Potentially it is more of a problem than the take off or cruise.
     
  9. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    It's a lot easier just to rock up at the airport or call the airline and have them do it.

    There is no need for all that insurance complexity nor for the passenger to have to concern themselves with who pays for it. Just do it as a codeshare. They can argue in the background about whose fault it was and who pays and insure at a company level if they want. This concept exists and works in other countries, so it can here too.
     
  10. Sceptre

    Sceptre Member

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    Stockport–Piccadilly is one of the most congested parts of the rail network outside of London, just after Deansgate–Piccadilly.
     
  11. si404

    si404 Member

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    Yes, that's my point. The idea of the OP was that south of Birmingham should be done later as there's 4 tracks on the WCML there already and so the need is less pressing. I took a similar northern example to show how silly that idea is!
     
  12. The Ham

    The Ham Established Member

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    In theory you could have ground based assistance to get airborne, either through using a vehicle (so that gets you up to speed and then the engines power the last bit of thrust to get you off the ground), slingshot (like is used on aircraft carriers) or even meglav/railgun (much as the vehicle does).

    All would be grounds based so power could be from the mains rather than batteries and so the batteries could be smaller, which then reduces the load making the batteries smaller still.

    There would be problems to overcome with all of them, possibly what to do if you want to go somewhere where the facilities don't exist.

    Just to note that to make runways longer would require more infrastructure and therefore more maintenance, which would come with their own emissions.
     
  13. Howardh

    Howardh Established Member

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    Just been watching the BBC news this morning and a piece about HS2 and the environment; ie. the effect on habitats. I would think that the area consumed by HS2 would be considerably less than that by a motorway so shifting a few newts along the way shouldn't be much of an issue.

    But if anyone saw this piece (sorry, can't link but it seems to be one of those "all-day items) they were by the side of an existing track - no idea if used or unused - looked in quite a state. Where exactly was it??

    ADDS; bumped into an article in the Groaniad about it...
    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news...r-damage-hundreds-of-uk-wildlife-sites-report

    ...report written by someone who probably went to work using a motorway??
     
    Last edited: 15 Jan 2020
  14. MightyTRexUK

    MightyTRexUK Member

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    Also from the article
    Seems to be the usual people spouting things to get press coverage - they want to tackle climate change but dont want to do anything about it or if they do - not in my backyard - nimbyism at its best.
     
  15. civ-eng-jim

    civ-eng-jim Member

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    It would have been the East West Rail lines - There looked to be two tracks on the news so most likely it was the OXD lines. As part of EWR project, the Up/Down Aylesbury line and a waste transfer facility will be re positioned to the east of the current alignment to allow HS2 to be built on the alignment of an old line.....just what the public want, right :)
     
    Last edited: 15 Jan 2020
  16. Howardh

    Howardh Established Member

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    Thanks, I'll look that up when I get home!
     
  17. class26

    class26 Member

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    Problem with starting in the north is inevitably the southern part is going to be used more as you add in brum - London traffic so in the case of starting in the north days after it opens will come the cries of "oh, it`s not being used enough, scrap the southern part.
     
  18. DynamicSpirit

    DynamicSpirit Established Member

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    It's not that simple. The reason a car with 4 people in it uses less fuel per person-mile than an average bus is that, outside London, lots of buses run with very few people in them - so the relatively large per-mile fuel that a large bus eats is not amortised over that many people. If you could get more people onto buses, then the per-person fuel consumption on a bus would drop. And if you take a family of 4 and put them in a bus instead of having them drive, then it's still better for the environment because putting them on a bus will only marginally increase the fuel that bus consumes, but your're saving a complete car-load of emissions.

    The same argument holds for HS2: It's true that putting a family of 4 on a train instead of a car will probably save less fuel than putting 4 individual business people onto a train instead of in 4 separate cars, but it will in most cases still save fuel - assuming of course that train was scheduled to run anyway.

    In fact the argument for HS2 is even stronger because HS2 trains will be electric, and will be very long trains carrying a lot of passengers on each train. Both of those factors will reduce the per-passenger-mile fuel consumption, although the higher speeds will counteract that to some extent - notice how much smaller the quoted consumption is for Eurostar than for domestic rail - HS2 will be somewhat comparable to that.

    (The average fuel-consumption figure that was quoted for rail will have been averaged over both electric and diesel trains, and over many 2-carriage trains and local trains that have far fewer passengers).
     
    Last edited: 15 Jan 2020
  19. The Ham

    The Ham Established Member

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    UK trains tend to have CO2 emissions quoted for them being 30-40% full. As a comparison that's not many more than 1 passenger per four seats.

    Compare this to cars which typically have less than 2 seats occupied (30% is typical) and whilst filling cars to 80% full would be better, likewise getting trains to a comparable figure would also make a huge difference to emissions.

    Before anyone says that it's unlikely that we'd get to 80% full on all train services, is also suggest that the same would also be true of cars. If anything getting to an average loading of cars of 50% (2.5 people/car rather than the current 1.5) would be a massive change, whilst getting trains to be this full would also be a big achievement it would likely be easier.
     
  20. The Ham

    The Ham Established Member

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    Within 500m of HS2, presumably that's withing 500m of the boundary rather than the mid point, that's quite a long way.

    To put it into perspective the typical accepted walk distance to a bus stop (for planning purposes) is 400m, whilst to a train station is 800m.

    That's larger than quite a lot of parks and longer than 4 football pitches.
     
  21. kevin_roche

    kevin_roche Member

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    I guess the train figure here includes a lot of diesel. The Eurostar figures are much better and that is more like what we should expect from HS2.
     
  22. The Ham

    The Ham Established Member

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    Also depending on year of the assessment even electric trains could be now be better as coal usage for power generation has dropped significantly. From 2014 to 2018 it fell from 30% to 5%, whilst over the same timeframe overall energy use has also fallen.
     
  23. PartyOperator

    PartyOperator Member

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    The other big changes in recent years are that trains and railways are on average busier and a higher proportion of trains are electric.

    Apart from traction, the emissions associated with infrastructure are a relatively large share of rail CO2 (pdf from UIC: https://uic.org/IMG/pdf/carbon_footprint_of_railway_infrastructure.pdf). The greatest emissions per km of track are from high-speed railways, especially those with many tunnels and viaducts and slab track. However, the lowest infrastructure emissions per passenger-km are also from high-speed railways, with slab track giving lower emissions than ballast since this permits more intensive operation and less frequent maintenance. When people complain about HS2 having a greater environmental impact than a normal railway, that's both technically true and completely incorrect. Per km of track, it will be one the highest-emission railways in the country. Per passenger-km, it will be one of the best thanks to the very intensive operation made possible by a high-speed, high quality modern railway with segregated traffic. Getting the same extra capacity from conventional low-speed, mixed-use railways would result in much more CO2 from the infrastructure (not to mention the greatly increased land use since you'd need to add extra tracks to three or four railways rather than one).

    When it comes to sustainability, using what we have more intensively is almost always better than reducing the impact of an individual action. Producing my ceramic mug probably involved burning a lot of gas, but I've used the same mug every day for the last decade so overall it is much better than using thousands of paper cups. London is the most polluted place in the UK but also has the lowest CO2 emissions per capita.

    It would of course be possible to use the WCML more intensively by getting rid of all the long-distance services, but the people would just migrate to the motorways in 1-2 person cars rather than 200-600-person trains so the net result would be less efficient use of transport infrastructure overall.
     
  24. MarkyT

    MarkyT Established Member

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    All excellent points. In this last one, I assume you mean effectively stopping the 'expresses' at all the fast line intermediate stations en route, with a considerable increase in the long distance journey time. The continuing requirement for fast journeys between London and the northern cities would then no doubt result in a vast increase in demand for domestic short-haul flights, for which there is probably insufficient airport capacity particularly in the south even with Heathrow's third runway.
     
  25. The Ham

    The Ham Established Member

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    Heathrow, which is one of the most dense airports in the world, deals with less passenger departures than the whole of the rail network combined when comparing the number of passengers per hectare.

    Even though the railways have some very quiet branch lines and aircraft mostly transport passengers whilst in the air.
     
  26. DynamicSpirit

    DynamicSpirit Established Member

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    I don't think I understand what that sentence means. Can you clarify? (And say what the source is)? Ta!
     
  27. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    Heathrow deals with fewer passenger departures than Waterloo. It’s that simple.

    In terms of airport density, I seem to recall that the most efficient U.K. airport in terms of annual passengers per unit of area for the airport is Luton. But even then, it has roughly the same number of passengers as both Luton rail stations and St Albans combined.
     
  28. The Ham

    The Ham Established Member

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    It means that to deal with the same number of passengers as our rail network, flying would require more land.

    Therefore, even though aircraft aren't on the ground for very much I the journey time they still need more land than railways do.

    Before active says about the grass around airports the figures are based on Network Rail land ownership, which includes rather a lot of trees.
     
  29. 60019

    60019 Member

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    Another fun comparison is that to provide almost the same capacity as HS2 assumed would be run in at least one round of financial plans (those current in 2018, IIRC) you'd need a dedicated pair of runways in London with all-economy A380s flying at their minimum spacing.
     
  30. MotorcycleAlan

    MotorcycleAlan Member

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    Can someone explain concisely what any of this air discussion has to do with HS2. Seems another thread that has lost the plot, but then 134 pages of repeated arguments and still it isn't enough for some. Perhaps a separate thread about air travel might help for those with plenty of spare time to fill.
     

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