HS2 derailment fears dismissed as ‘nonsense’

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A WARNING that HS2 trains will be too fast and are at risk of derailing has been dismissed as ‘nonsense’ by government officials.

Professor Peter Woodward, one of the world’s leading experts on the geo-engineering of railways, claims that speeds of 225mph-250mph could create vibrations (or Rayleigh waves) big enough to cause track failures and derailments.

The concerns are likely to be raised at an anti-HS2 public meeting on Saturday in Wendover.

Currently Eurostar trains run at 186 mph and France’s fastest trains at 200mph. Chinese trains, which used to run at 220mph, now travel at 186mph in response to safety fears.

Professor Woodward lodged his concerns about the proposed speed of HS2 with the government’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

In response, a spokesman for HS2 Ltd said: “It is nonsense to suggest that we would design a railway that did not take into account the effects of Rayleigh waves. We are designing HS2 so that there is no possibility that Rayleigh waves would lead to any problems such as derailment.

“To counteract the effects of the Rayleigh waves, we will develop and put in place robust solutions such as soil strengthening, ballast reinforcement or measures that bridge over soft land. We will continue to work closely with and support leading researchers such as Professor Woodward of Heriot Watt University, to develop and design safe and efficient high speed train operations in the UK.”