High speed trains in Spain SEVEN YEARS AGO
Then, it was “High speed rail link ‘at risk of derailment’ because of 225mph trains”. And, as now, the research quoted was that of Professor Peter Woodward, who last time, Gilligan admitted “declined to answer questions about his work”. He saw the Telegraph man coming. Also as before is Gilligan’s talk of a “critical track velocity”, but on neither occasion do we find out for certain what this is for any of the HS2 route.
Instead, we get conjecture: there “may” be problems with ballasted track, which means that, equally, there may not. Readers are warned of “embankment instability … over poor soils”, but as the soil characteristics along the route have not yet been analysed, no conclusion can be reached. Steadily increasing speeds along the UK’s existing rail network has revealed very little in the way of embankment instability.
Something else that Woodward’s research mentions, but that Gilligan leaves out, is that the Japanese Shinkansen trains have run up to 270mph as far back as the 1990s, with no problems, and the current rail speed record is held by a modified French TGV at over 350mph. No mysterious waves were encountered during the record breaking run, although some ballast throwing was experienced.
There is also some straightforward dishonesty in Gilligan’s article, as he claims of HS2 that “Its planned two-track core route between London and the Midlands is supposed to be able to handle the traffic currently served by three separate main lines”. No it isn’t. All of those lines will continue to offer passenger train services. He also claims that the cost-benefit ratio of HS2 is “shrinking”, which it is not.
So when he says “The disclosures are the latest blow to the scheme, viewed by many even in the rail industry as unnecessary”, it is not. There is no new information in his article, which will be of use only to the project’s detractors, who are always on the lookout for something - anything - to keep their spirits up. If Rayleigh Waves were to affect high speed trains, they would have done so by now. They have not.
Still, a few Telegraph readers are gullible enough to believe it, so that’s all right, then.