HS2

12.04.17

HSRIL: HS2 must be viewed as a global export

Rail leaders have called on the government to view high-speed rail projects as lucrative potential exports, as they described HS2 as: “the most important public investment project in the UK for decades”.

In their response to the government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, High Speed Rail Industry Leaders (HSRIL) have stated that the government should make HS2 a key part of the Industrial Strategy in order to take advantage of the opportunities that it offers for wider economic growth.

It stated that investment in HS2 and the opportunities for growth in the global area of high-speed rail means that the government should begin viewing HS2 and the UK’s expertise in rail and construction as a potential export.

In order to take advantage of these opportunities, HSRIL recommended the creation of a ‘HS2 International’ organisation which would bring together HSR delivery businesses and the government-owned client body HS2 Ltd to create a public-private partnership to market the UK skill base and experience abroad.

This will be key in a post-Brexit world to ensure that UK suppliers continue to contribute to the development of European and international standards and ensure that UK products do not need extensive reworking to be marketed abroad.

They also said that the strategy should focus on improving Anglo-Scottish transport links, stating that there was a huge effort needed to achieve the goal of a three-hour journey time between London and Glasgow that was set by ministers in spring 2016.

HSRIL recommended that to drive forward this aim, a competition should be opened for a challenge fund to provide technical solutions and funding and financing proposals to reach the target between the northern limit of HS2 and the central belt of Scotland.

Speaking about the submission, HSRIL director Will Roberts said: “HS2 represents an unprecedented public investment, and both the industry and government needs to work together to make sure the UK makes the most of the opportunities it creates.

“We should use it to turn high-speed rail into an export product for the UK, selling the expertise to build high-speed lines around the world.”

Since HS2 was given royal assent in February, it has hit considerable obstacles in its procurement process. Most recently, RTM reported that the £10m management services contract had been scrapped after concerns were raised about a conflict of interest with the competing firms.

Before that, CH2M announced that it had withdrawn from a £170m civil contract for Phase 2B of the project between Birmingham and Leeds.

The award of £8.6bn worth of civil contracts was also pushed back from February to June as HS2 Ltd gathered more data about the competing companies to inform the decision for the procurement.

Further pressure also mounted when Lord Berkeley called for a review of HS2 after it had been estimated that Phase 1 costs were at risk of soaring to £48bn, leaving no money left for the delivery of Phase 2A and 2B.

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Comments

John   12/04/2017 at 17:02

I thought we had to have hs2 as everyone else had high speed rail?

Jimbo   12/04/2017 at 18:51

High speed railways are hardly new, so whilst this approach should be commended, it is unclear what it is we would be selling to the market that isn't already there. We are hardly market leaders when it comes to high-speed rail. Also, the cost of HS2 is around 4 times the cost of similar high-speed lines elsewhere (eg. French TGV, German ICE etc.), so there is a cost issue somewhere as well.

Tony   12/04/2017 at 22:34

Don't make us laugh! This is a Zionist satanists project designed to cause as much damage to the environment as possible and to milk to tax payers for about £150 billion (final cost) Scrap it now!

King's Lynn   13/04/2017 at 09:27

The cost issue isn't anything to do with any conspiracy (so don't be weird, Tony). It's more to do with the fact that Britain has more middle managers/consultants than people to actually build the thing. As an example, I have an electrician friend who is working on a major construction project elsewhere in the country. He's been doing the job for years but hasn't had an apprentice since the mid-90s, so is part of a dying breed. Obviously, this makes his rate for doing these jobs somewhat higher. Recently, his project has had a number of setbacks including - but not limited to - the wrong documentation/safety specs for the equipment that's being installed (the middle managers assumed that US standards were applicable over here) and a whole heap of switchgear which didn't fit because the middle managers assumed dimensions of where it was to be installed (no-one actually went out with a tapemeasure). In every case, both him and his colleagues were stood down on full pay while an investigation took place.. This project was supposed to be finished end of last year, it'll now run until 2018 at the earliest. So, when you have lots of white collar workers, who don't completely understand the job (on £50k salaries) plus very few skilled workers (being paid to stay home), it's obvious to see how costs can spiral and delays occur. Add into that the innumerable legal fees from those who don't want to see the thing happen etc., and you've suddenly got a very big bill. It's a far cry from my grandfather's day (who was an engineer first and foremost, then worked his way up to a company director) and such a shame that people of my generation were encouraged to go populate offices in a shirt and tie, rather than get their hands dirty...

Realist   13/04/2017 at 09:36

Our expertise in HSR seems to be to demonstrate how useless and expensive it is. We could also export politicians who seem to think that maximum speed and minimum journey time is all that matters. How do you fill a train from London to Glasgow that only stops at Preston?

Tothehills   13/04/2017 at 09:49

It appears in the post-Brexit world we can now be market leaders in the HS Rail industry. Now lets have a reality check, the market is dominated by the Chinese, French and Japanese, we have no HS rolling stock manufacturer and no major signalling manufacture left in this country other than that we are doing great! Can't help felling this is political flim flam from the HSRIL. It would be far better if we became a lead in ATO driven trains as we are likely to be one of the early adopters- let's get on the wave of the future. We should move rapidly to automate trains in and around London, Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow. With an emphasis on Brit design, build and manufacture.

David   13/04/2017 at 12:20

If we were trying to cause as much damage to the environment as possible, surely HS2 would be some kind of 14 lane motorway monstrosity?

Graham Nalty   13/04/2017 at 12:43

The sentence "the creation of a ‘HS2 International’ organisation which would bring together HSR delivery businesses and the government-owned client body HS2 Ltd to create a public-private partnership to market the UK skill base and experience abroad" seems to be an exercise in writing jargon which only politicians understand. I always though the original intention was to buy HS2 captive stock from manufacturers in other countries to get a lower unit price rather than design more expensive classic compatible stock. It will take a long time to build up the expertise on high speed rail, but Britain does excel in building and operating high density railways for 90-125mph. This is where the real scope for export lies. Experience with HS2's increasing costs demonstrates our own high speed (over 150 mph) capabilities are not likely to be attractive to other countries. But the market for high density railways of up to 125 mph or 200 kmph is where the real opportunity lies.

Mikeyb   14/04/2017 at 11:55

"HS2 must be viewed as a global export.." Perhaps HSRIL are really implying that, once built and operating, it should be sold off to the highest foreign bidder, an idea which would obviously please those politicians who believe that foreign involvement in the UK economy is essential!

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