Industry experts join HS2 debate

Greengauge 21 has established a new forum of industry experts to discuss the future of high-speed rail in Britain.

The high-speed rail research group yesterday announced the creation HSR Industry Leaders Group (ILG) – the first group of its kind in the UK – which will bring together companies with expertise in engineering, railway operations, planning and delivery.

The group’s founding members include: Atkins, Bechtel, Carillion, CH2M Hill, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Railway Industry Association and Siemens, all companies with a strong pedigree in planning and delivering high-speed rail projects in the UK and overseas. UK Steel is an affiliate member.

Jim Steer, director of Greengauge 21, said: “The aim of the HSR Industry Leaders Group is to use industry expertise to ensure that Britain’s national high-speed rail network is delivered successfully to world-class standards.

“The group will complement the work of HS2 Ltd by bringing its experience to bear on questions such as how to maximise opportunities for job creation in the UK supply chain, and how the needs of HSR customers and likely modes of HSR service provision should positively influence the detailed designs and arrangements for HS2.”

The Industry Leaders Group will undertake a research and planning programme, and will work on the development of the supply chain for the implementation of all aspects of a national HSR network.

The aim of the HSR Industry Leaders Group is to use industry expertise to ensure that Britain’s national high-speed rail network is delivered successfully to world-class standards.

Jim Steer

The initiative has the support of the Secretary of State for Transport, Justine Greening, who said: “HS2 will create a wide range of opportunities for British-based businesses and we need to make sure that they have the skills and capability to take full advantage of development of HS2.

“HS2 Ltd are working hard to deliver this vital piece of national transport infrastructure. This Industry Leaders Group will complement the wider work that is underway and will play an important role in helping to bring together the supply chain and prepare the market for the potential ahead.”

Douglas McCormick, managing director for Atkins’ UK rail division and ILG member, said: “High-speed rail represents the next generation of rail transport in the UK. Our current network is running out of capacity and the need for North-South connectivity is crucial for sustainable economic growth.

“Atkins brings a wealth of international experience in major infrastructure projects and we are delighted to be a founding member of the HSR Industry Leaders Group.”


  1. The UK has to harness the critical dissent warranted in some aspects of HS2.  The trade bodies forum is not balanced to represent the cost of land take and the resource and skill shortages in transportation planning.  The change of power on a route from Southampton north is a classic mistaken scope.  Similarly gauge and speed lead to mode diversity and to capacities.

    The UK is attracted to sector groupings limited from critical and complementary analysis.  Learning lessons from prematurely fixing phase 1 and node before the phase 2 and additional phases are defined is not best practices.

  2. Those implacably opposed to HS2, primarily due to the inconvenient route it takes (through their backyards?), will doubtless brand this band of experts just another mutual apreciation society form of lobby group – this article is linked directly from the STOPHS2 website so you can expect more than a few hostile comments.

    Where the experts can play a constructive role is in highlighting the apparent disparity in construction costs between comparable projects on either side of La Manche. The 302km Sud-Est Atlantique extension between Tours and Bordeaux was signed off last year; total costs including financing interest, 7.8bn€ – now I realise that agricultural land costs for a 500km+ project in England will be a great deal more in England than France and the complete rebuild of Euston as HS2’s London terminus with associated tunnelling is bound to increase the overall budget but even allowing for these factors, the headline budget for HS2 (phases 1 & 2) should be closer to £20bn (including mandatory treasury optimism bias) – not well north of £30bn !!!

    Would it be too much to expect a group of industry experts boasting an obvious interest in maximising profits for their respective employers to bring their obvious talents to bear on this issue of vital concern to the public purse? 

  3. People working within the WCML corridor do not consider that HS2 provides the additional capacity required for the many intermediate but vital commuting journies.  A review of path allocations and utilization effectiveness are required with inputs from the WCML TOCs and FOCs to develop a coherent understanding after which proposals can be made for how and where to add tracks for new paths and to apply large loading gauges.  Some people working on the WCML consider the pride in getting the right solutions is not there and consider that whilst the Olympic Park shows what can be done HS2 has left thousands disbelieving in the UKs rail sincerity and an obsession with highest speed when seats and frequency and loading gauges at economy operating costs are required. HS2 needs morphing into agreeable and long term invaluable solutions the Y network with entrapped services is not the solution.  UK transport planning and governence reputation is now at stake in the Court Head to Heads and this is not smart for Government or the nation to fight out a poor solution in public.


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