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.
Two basic types of trains would operate on HS2. The first type of train would only be capable of running on High Speed lines (including the link to HS1 and the Channel Tunnel). They would be built to full European dimensions, known as “GC gauge”, so they would be taller and wider than UK rolling stock. GC gauge trains could be either single or double deck. These types of trains are similar to standard high speed trains already running in many parts of Western Europe.
The second type of train, a “Classic Compatible” train, would be similar in performance to GC gauge trains, but would be built to fit the UK railway infrastructure. This means they wouldn’t be as tall or as wide as the GC gauge sets and could only be single deck. This would allow them to fit into existing stations and under existing bridges. They would be used to operate high speed services which run along HS2 and then on to the existing UK network, such as services from London to Liverpool, Newcastle and Scotland. The Eurostar trains used on the high speed London to Paris services are examples of a high speed train adapted to fit UK railway infrastructure as until 2007 they ran on existing tracks through Kent before joining the European high speed network.
The basic unit for both types of train would be 200 metres long and units would operate either singly or in pairs, giving a maximum length of 400 metres. They would initially travel at speeds of up to 225 mph. High speed trains available today already operate at over 220 mph. In the future, trains could reach 250 mph on the condition that through technical development there would be no unacceptable increase in noise levels.
For GC Gauge trains, the estimated cost of each 200 metre set is around £29.5 million, including a risk allowance of 18%. This is similar to the cost of standard European high speed trains recently ordered for Spain, France and Germany.
For Classic Compatible trains, there would be a bespoke design requiring an entirely separate manufacturing and assembly set-up. The estimated cost of each 200 metre set is around £52.5 million, including a risk allowance of 40%. The higher cost and risk allowance reflects their customised nature and the commercial premium which may be associated with a one-off order. This is similar to the equivalent premium for Eurostar trains which were also bespoke UK sized trains. (Eurostar trains had further expense on top of this to meet the special requirements of the Channel Tunnel.)
We do not need to make a decision now about what facilities the trains would have and we would not order the trains themselves until the early 2020s. The internal layout of trains and the facilities onboard would be tailored to the anticipated needs of HS2 passengers, including those with reduced mobility.
The number of seats per 200-metre train would depend upon the ratio of first and standard class seating and other choices of layout configuration, for example, the number of airline-style seats as opposed to seats at tables and the amount of luggage area provided. For short duration journeys, only simple refreshment facilities may be required which would free up additional space for seating. Trains would be designed to provide a range of modern systems such as passenger information systems, audio and visual media, and Wi-Fi connections.
Find out more – read our About High Speed Rail blog entry
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