Planning for Proposed North-South Maglev Line
Client: UK Ultraspeed, 2002-ongoing
Although the Department for Transport had (in 2001) commissioned a study into a North-South high-speed conventional railway line in Britain, its high costs appeared to be difficult to repay, and an opening date of 2040 was suggested as the earliest possible, despite unambiguous and ongoing domestic transport problems.
However, simultaneously, the two major German companies involved in the development of magnetic levitation technology (Siemens and ThyssenKrupp) began enquiries into the potential of maglev to fulfil a similar role. A project development group was set up, led by Expert Alliance. Initial work showed that, by using an elevated guideway, construction could potentially be much quicker and cheaper, as more prefabrication work could be carried out offsite. The higher speeds achieved (500kph could be attained in revenue service) would also lead to higher revenues, further improving the business case.
The Railway Consultancy was therefore commissioned to provide detailed transport planning services for this project, including the identification of potential routes and the forecasting of possible demand, as part of the business case development process. Demand forecasting was undertaken using our multi-modal GCOST™ model, which provides estimates of time savings as well as revenue increases. With the higher speeds expected to be achieved by UKU, the macro-economic benefits of time savings could be very substantial (around £2bn p.a.). The transport impacts are complex. Effects include abstraction from domestic air, and considerably increased opportunities to develop more efficient use of the existing rail network for both passenger and freight traffic.
Last updated: Sunday, 18th December 2016
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