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I’m trying to estimate how much electricity a new high speed train in the UK would use to go at 400 km/h and how many wind turbines it would require to run it. My physics is a bit rusty so I’d appreciate it if someone would check my calculations.

It is difficult to estimate how much energy these trains would draw down from the electric grid. Actual consumption will depend on the weight of the trains, gradients, maximum speeds and stopping patterns. Data produced for the European MEET project illustrates different consumption patterns over several track sections. Results for the consumption by German ICE high-speed trains which have a service speed of 330 km/h fluctuate from around 19–33 kWh per km.

Therefore, for estimation purposes I propose to split the difference and say they consume 25kWh per km.

2 questions

1. If a train consumes 25kWh per km and a wind turbine generates 1000kWh on average, how many wind turbines would be required to run at 330 km/hr? Would it be 25 x 330 ÷ 1000 = 8.25 ???

2. Also, would it be true to say that because energy use rises with the square of speed, trains operating at 400 km/h would use one and a half times more energy than at 330 km/h and require 8.25 x 1.5 = 12.375 wind turbines ???

Please let me know if this is right or wrong.

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# Electricity use by trains

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