Written evidence from Robert McDonald
Please forgive the lateness and the manner of this
approach, but I believe it is extremely important that the Select
Committee's inquiry into High Speed Rail does not overlook the
opportunity presented by Pendolino and other tilting trains.
As I'm sure you are aware, Pendolino trains currently
operate on the West Coast Main Line and in many countries in Europe.
Their great advantage is a tilting mechanism that allows the trains
to operate at high speed on conventional tracks.
The Pendolino trains used on the West Coast Main
Line have a design speed of 140 mph but are currently restricted
by lack of modern signalling to operate only at speeds of up to
125 mph. Newer generations of Pendolino trains already run
at 155 mph. Tilting train technology continues to be developed
across the world and its versatility is well suited to geography
such as ours.
This information is important to the Committee because
it demonstrates the opportunity to increase the speed of inter
city train services without the expense of a new track and infrastructure.
By improving signalling and migrating to newer trains over time,
Pendolino and other tilting trains can run considerably faster
on the existing tracks and integrate with the present network
more efficiently than the proposals for HS2.
I would strongly suggest that the Committee probe
this alternative approach to HS2, and if possible speak with companies
and forward thinking experts who are involved in future train