Here we share longer pieces of material on issues relating to the Government’s High Speed Rail proposals, with information from HS2 engineers, economists, environmentalists and property specialists. To comment, please visit twitter. We use twitter as the HS2 digital debate channel, to keep the conversation in one place. Each blog entry has a #topic reference for twitter. You can also follow us on twitter.
As people are understandably concerned about noise, we wanted to provide the public with scientifically accurate examples of what HS2 trains could sound like, should the proposals go ahead. So we worked with experts to create a range of HS2 sound demonstrations that allow communities to find out what HS2 trains would really sound like in their local area.
The demonstrations were created by an independent company, Arup, who are world-leaders in the development of sound simulations. They are a recognised authority on acoustics and noise modelling. Expert, independent peers verified their HS2 simulations.
HS2 trains would be high speed trains running at speeds of up to 225 mph, similar to other European high speed railways. The proposed route alignment could enable running up to 250mph in the future if faster trains become available without an unacceptable increase in noise.
HS2 trains would all be designed with the same maximum speed, rate of acceleration and braking specification, which is essential for maximizing the capacity (number of trains that can run) along HS2. They would be up to 400 metres long, providing up to 1,100 seats and there would be up to 14 trains per hour in each direction, rising up to 18 as train control technology develops. And although the railway could carry more people than a motorway, the basic width of the tracks would be about one third of the width of a motorway.
The trains would meet the European standards known as the Technical Specifications for Interoperability. They would have high levels of reliability and safety.
Since 1964 high speed rail has been used to carry large numbers of passengers over longer distances, swiftly. The technology is tried and tested. High speed railways across Europe and Asia operate exceptionally safely and have a track record of excellent punctuality. The first high speed line in the UK, linking St Pancras to the Channel Tunnel, opened fully in 2007.
HS2 would use proven technology and standards and draw on significant experience of high speed rail operation across Europe and beyond. Existing high speed rail lines offer frequent, highly reliable, high speed trips between cities using modern high-capacity trains. So would HS2. It would have good links with the wider transport network to provide the best possible door-to-door journey times, such as through the proposed link to Crossrail at Old Oak Common.
This blog entry advises on options available for people whose property is affected by HS2 proposals.
The Exceptional Hardship Scheme (EHS) allows you to apply for the Government to buy your property and is currently open. It helps people who urgently need to sell their properties now and who have found that they are unable to do so because of the high speed rail proposals.
If HS2 proposals go ahead, statutory property blight provisions would apply to people whose property would need to be purchased in order to build or operate HS2. People who qualify can require the Government to bring forward that purchase.
We have produced visualisations of various points along the proposed route as we believe it is very important to give people a fair representation of how the line would look. This means that they can make informed comment on its visual impact when they respond to the consultation. And we can use their feedback to shape decisions on reducing visual impact, through design changes and mitigation, if the project is taken forward.
Objectors to HS2 have produced their own, inaccurate images. This is misleading for those trying to find out what impact the line would have in their local area. Our visualisations accurately depict how the railway would look if it’s built exactly according to current designs. If the proposals go ahead, in the next stage of work we would start detailed design work, on structures that would suit the local landscape.
Watch our animation of High Speed Rail in action:
Comment on twitter: #HS2_animation
Since March 24, the HS2 roadshow has been visiting locations along the proposed line of route as part of the Government’s public consultation. This is one of thebiggest and most wide-ranging consultations that any government has ever done.
A really important part of it is the roadshows. We want people to come along and ask questions about issues that matter to them. Our engineers, environmentalists, business and property experts are on hand to answer them. Everyone’s welcome to come and find out more. At the roadshows we also distribute consultation background information (also available from our online HS2 library).