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Title: Factors influencing the energy consumption of high speed rail and comparisons with other modes
Author: Watson, Robert
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2012
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High speed rail is increasingly viewed as an effective solution to the inter-city passenger transportation challenge of the 21st century due to its ability to significantly increase capacity and reduce journey times between city centres. The motivation behind this thesis is to try to establish whether high speed rail is an efficient mode of transport in terms of operational, traction energy consumption and associated carbon dioxide emissions, and to investigate scope for its improvement. A computational model is developed and validated against existing data and simulations are carried out to estimate the energy consumption of a modern, European high speed train, labelled the HS2 reference train, running on the UK's proposed High Speed Two (HS2) line between London and Birmingham. Investigations are conducted to quantify the effects of different parameters on the operational energy consumption of the line according to a defined Key Performance Indicator. Comparisons are made with the car and domestic air in terms of primary energy consumption, carbon dioxide emissions and journey time. Further simulations are conducted of a Class 390 'Pendolino' train running on the existing West Coast Main Line route between London and Birmingham and comparisons are made with the HS2 reference train, again with reference to the Key Performance Indicator and journey time. In the final part of the thesis simulations are carried out of three different vehicle types running on the HS2 route, which could be considered as alternatives to the HS2 reference train. Analysis is undertaken to determine key areas of vehicle design which contribute to the minimizing of the operational energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions of high speed rail.
Supervisor: Smith, Rod ; Lowe, Michael Sponsor: Rail Research UK Association
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral