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Open Access Publications from the University of California

InterCity Express: A Technical and Commercial Assessment


This is one of a series of reports now being produced as the first output of our study of the potential for a high-speed passenger train service in California. Each report deals with a specific high-speed train technology; it attempts an evaluation, standardized as far as available data permit, of its technical and economic viability.

Specifically, each report assesses the particular high-speed technology against a number of criteria:

1. Technical Performance: configuration of roadbed in terms of gradients, curvature, and construction cost; power sources; capacity and speed; capacity to integrate with existing transportation facilities.

2. Economic performance: traffic levels; revenues; financial appraisal and overall cost-benefit analysis; level of public subsidy required, if any.

3. Resource consumption and environmental performance: type and amount of energy required; impact on non-renewable resources; environmental impact, including emissions, noise, visual intrusion and effect on local communities.

The present series includes five studies. Two companion studies, on British Rail's InterCity 125 and 225 services and on Tilting Trains (the Italian Pendolino and the Swedish X-2000 service), will follow shortly. Thereafter, a systematic comparative analysis will be published.

The CalSpeed study will continue with preliminary route alignments, also to be produced shortly, followed by market assessments, to be completed in Fall 1992. These will bring to a close the present phase of work, which will be the subject of an overall report also to be completed in Fall 1992.

We gratefully acknowledge the support provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the California State Department of Transportation (Caltrans) through the University of California Transportation Center. Of course, any errors of fact or interpretation should be assigned to us and not our sponsors.

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