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HS2 research given green light

HS2 research given green light

Two scientists have been awarded almost £500,000 by the Government to carry out research into the safety of the HS2 rail project amid claims that the high speeds could threaten the stability of trains.

Railway geo-engineering expert Professor Peter Woodward lodged papers with the Government's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) in which he suggested high-speed running could lead to "new problems which may threaten the stability and safety of the train".

According to Prof Woodward's submission, derailment and track failures are possible consequences of "significant amplification of train-track vibrations" produced by the velocities of HS2, which would see trains travelling at between 225mph and 250mph within a number of years.

The Engineer magazine reported that Prof Woodward, professor of railway geo-technical engineering at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, was concerned at the prospect of "ground waves" of vibration, known as Rayleigh waves, developing in the rail when a certain speed is reached.

He is to carry out the research in conjunction with Professor Mike Forde of Edinburgh University.

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