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UK and China sign key rail agreement

The UK government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with its Chinese counterpart committing the two countries to expand “business co-operation in the rail sector”.

The MoU, which covers all modes of rail, including high speed - states the scope of the partnership may include, the development of new build and upgrading rail infrastructure projects; the supply of products and services to third markets; and collaboration on research and development within the rail sector.

It has also been suggested that the two countries could work together on station design, equipment supply, rail transport safety and evaluation, and energy saving and environmental protection in rail.

The transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin signed the MoU on behalf of the UK government with Xu Shaoshi, chairman of the National Development and Reform Committee (NDRC), signing for the Chinese.

McLoughlin said: “I can see great mutual benefit to be gained from increased co-operation between the UK and China on rail. The railways are a massive success story in both countries and we can boast world class expertise across the sector.

“The government’s long term economic plan is working, and Britain is on the rise. But the job is not done. The success stories of the future will be economies that invest in infrastructure and welcome overseas involvement and we want this partnership to be a win-win situation creating economic growth and jobs here and abroad, including in China.”

In addition to this MoU, China has signalled its interest in investing in two of Britain’s biggest infrastructure projects – High Speed 2 and new nuclear power stations – at trade talks led by David Cameron and Chinese premier, Li Keqiang, in London.

It is likely a direct investment in HS2 and new nuclear would be made through the China Development Bank Corporation, which is responsible for funding large-scale projects on behalf of China. The news comes as the bank signed a MoU with TheCityUK to “expand its financing and lending activity in the UK, including in infrastructure-related investment”.

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email


Nonsuchmike   18/06/2014 at 17:42

Wow! Mr McLoughlin, I shall remember your words and treasure them in my heart: "The success stories of the future will be economies that invest in infrastructure". So why are we only building about one new mile of rail infrastructure per year? Excluding direct replacement, our record is poor over the last five years, and although there is much promised post 2019, there ain't much going on right now, with only the Todmorden Curve in prospect. Couldn't you, Mr Mac, force through in treble quick time a start to a north of Dartmoor route to Plymouth and Cornwall? Or the Henbury Loop for passengers around Bristol? Or the Halton Curve to help Liverpool AND North Wales? Or put Bradford more on the rail map by agreeing work to start on the necessary extra lines (the beds are still there, of course). Or at least getting some sense into the people playing at defining a line on the East West Oxford Cambridge route? Personally, I'd settle for any two from the above actually starting work on the ground during 2014. How about you? I'll let you choose which two.

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