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HS2 seminars to share best practice

The Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) is launching a series of events to boost knowledge and facilitate learning around high speed rail.

In partnership with HS2 Ltd and Parsons Brinckerhoff, which is responsible for the railway systems design of the project, the events will provide a forum to discuss international best practice.

Industry experts from around the world will consider the benefits of HS2 and make recommendations on how to deliver a good passenger experience.

The events will be held first in London and then Birmingham this year, followed by regional seminars in Manchester, Leeds, the East Midlands and Scotland or the north east in 2014.

Andrew McNaughton, technical director for HS2 Ltd and a keynote speaker at the London event, said: “HS2 will be the north-south backbone of the 21st Century transport network among eight of the 10 largest city regions of Great Britain. Its engineering will be one of the major challenges of the next two decades.”

Peter Sheppard, chair of the IET Transport Sector, said: “The HS2 project is not just a project to reduce the ever-increasing pressure on the conventional West Coast Main Line, nor is it just a project to reduce journey times to Birmingham, Manchester or Leeds.

“It is the first small step of a long term systems engineering project that will utilise leading edge technology in all disciplines to provide the UK with a safe and reliable high speed train service that will challenge the airlines and road users in their selection of travel mode and can be seen as a first step in integrating a new national transport system with existing hubs to bring about benefits to all users.”

Darren Reed, head of rail at Parsons Brinckerhoff, said: “Sharing knowledge and experience is a critical part of developing a project as complex as HS2 which is at the cutting edge of engineering innovation – whether in its design of track alignment and structures or even its signalling, telecommunications and energy systems.

“HS2 offers a significant opportunity for the UK railway industry, it will inspire a new generation of British engineers capable of exporting their skills to deliver advanced high speed rail systems and demanding infrastructure projects anywhere in the world.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at [email protected]

Image c. HS2 Ltd


Graham Nalty   13/08/2013 at 15:46

The conference is an excellent idea. From what I have learned about high speed rail from 10 years' study, best practice in high speed rail includes: Through stations in the major city centres, rather than terminals. High speed platforms within the main city centre station, not about quarter of a mile away as proposed for Leeds and Birmingham. Stations in city centres to provide fast local distribution of the benefits of high speed, not out of town 'parkway' stations such as the three between London and Leeds. High speed trains to access city centre stations of as many cities as possible, including those off the high speed line, so that people visit those cities to do business. That is how high speed rail becomes a catalyst for economic growth outside London. Route designed to follow existing transport corridors to minimise environmental damage and opposition. My impression of the plans for HS2 is that it fails to meet any of the objectives of achieving best practice in any of these criteria. I hope the delegates to this conference will appreciate these points.

Lesf   13/08/2013 at 21:00

I would add to Graham Nalty's list of features needed for HS2 to qualify as best practice: 1. Connecting a large number of communities together rather connecting a few of them separately to London, 2. Coming into use incrementally as the demand increases rather than taking 10 years of construction before it's of any use, 3. Making a meaningful contribution to our committed 80% reduction in CO2 emissions rather than being "CO2 neutral" as per HS2, 4. Making it easier to get into cities rather than making it easier to get out of them via parkways. 5. Including sensible plans to connect to HS1 and Heathrow. It is something of a mystery why HS2 has progressed for so long along a false path. Remember, HS1 was not built to the route first put forward by the rail industry. It finished up with 85% of it beside motorway or older railway, or in tunnel. We don't seem to have learned the lesson.

Chris Belk   15/08/2013 at 14:52

To the previous comments I would also add the importance of not treating HS rail design in isolation to other transport modes. For example there is a clear need for “joined-up” air/rail connectivity planning so that the HS network has "passenger friendly" direct connectivity with the UK’s principal airports The design parameters for the resulting HS stations at the airports include - a close location to the airport terminals - easy platform to platform connectivity with the national inter-city network (including other airports not on the HS network); - airside check-in at the HS station which is quickly and easily accessed from the HS train's arrival platform, - free "passenger friendly" access to a frequent rapid transit vehicle to/from all airport terminals (with plenty of convenient, secure on-board baggage space) - flight arrivals connectivity arrangements onto the HS & inter-city network to be similarly "passenger friendly"

John Emanuel   16/08/2013 at 16:37

I hope that HS2 will not become the UK rail industry's Concorde-style fiasco. While the UK built Concorde, a vanity project, the US built the Jumbo Jets with their economic justification and future. As published the economic case for HS2 seems very weak. What other rail or major transport projects could we build for these £tens of billions?

Lesf   16/08/2013 at 19:54

John Emanuel is right to be concerned that HS2 could be a commercial failure similar to Concorde. But if the need for more capacity arises, we will have to provide for it somehow. The weakness of HS2 is that it is such a poor solution to a genuine problem while better solutions were overlooked in the rush to get a plan into the public domain before the last general election. There is a rich prize for the first leader of a major party to have the courage to say, "Hold on, there must be a better way".

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