Post by John C
Depends on the regime. VT management for e.g seem very keen on>> >>
incremental journey time reduction where possible with the 390's, but>>
Post by David Haggas
EC's Eureka added robustness rather than sparkling timings. Only
Lord>> >> Adonis was vocal in calling for faster ECML trains...maybe
everyone>> >> else is content with free wifi?
Personally I'd rather go for the VT regime. The GWML is painfully
slow>> > these days. Yes I'm aware that capacity is the major factor
between>> > Paddington and Reading but that doesn't really apply
AiUI the slowness is due to two main changes in the GW timetable>>
structure over the years and some infrastructure changes. Prior to
the>> first HST timetable in 1976 there were many trains to and from>>
Paddington which did not stop at Reading. Over the years Reading's>>
importance as a business centre has increased and with it the demand>>
for travel. As a result all long distance high speed trains now stop>>
there with the result that many trains have had 5 minutes or so added>>
to their timings - don't forget that until sometime in the 1980s the>>
speed limit on the Down Main was 75mph and 80mph on the Up. With the>>
reduction in the speed limits to 50mph (to reduce the cant on the
Down>> Main to make it easier to open and close the wider and heavier
HST>> doors) stopping the train did not add so much time to the
schedules.>> The effect was that now all trains stop.
It may be that when the rebuild at Reading is complete some trains
will>> be made non-stop again because all the main running lines will
then>> have loops. I suspect some of the pathing allowances may be
reduced>> once the grade separation work is complete as the incidence
of>> conflicting movements will be significantly reduced.
The second major effect is similar to that seen at Reading but
concerns>> towns further west. For example, Didcot's population has
increased and>> Swindon has also grown (in spite of losing the GWR's
works) and in both>> these places demand grew. Effectively the
extension of the 'commuter>> zone' westwards has meant that the former
InterCity service has become>> an outer suburban one. Oxford now has
several trains an hour to London>> instead of just one - all these
extra services increase the risk of>> conflicting paths and delays.
One can argue that this is a Good Thing or a Bad Thing or just One of>>
Those Things - but that's the way it is. There is probably enough>>
traffic now to separate the flows on the Bristol/South Wales and the>>
Taunton routes, i.e., having a 'stopping' service with the longer>>
distance trains having a more limited range of stops. However to do>>
this reliably will require significant infrastructure changes - e.g.,>>
more four tracking and loops to keep the flows separate and possibly>>
more grade separation of flows at places like Didcot, Westerleigh,>>
Wootton Bassett and Filton junctions. AIUI there are also some very>>
long block sections, such as some between Castle Cary and Cogload>>
Junction, which will need to be fixed before the service can be>>
accelerated significantly. I suspect that this latter will have to
wait>> on the introduction of ERTMS/ETCS as I can't see anyone
authorising>> signalling changes which will only have a very short life.
Another significant reason for the slower services is the effect of
the>> Passenger Charter. The minutes added to reduce the chances of the
train>> running late are in addition to all the other extra minutes
that have>> crept in over the years.
In the near future the IEP will bring some improvement. Because it>>
will accelerate better than an HST it will have a beneficial effect
on>> the timings of the stopping services, but as, initially at least,
it>> will still have a 125mph top speed its advantage over an HST on
long>> limited stop runs will be marginal.
I can't see any chance for journey time reductions in the next three
or>> four years until the works at Reading, the electrification and>>
Crossrail have been finished and the IEP delivered.
 But at a horrendous cost... (contd. p94)
110/125 main line railway. There aren't many charter minutes between
miles, after which the best speed is 90/95mph.