Newly appointed UK Transport Minister Baroness Susan Kramer MP delivered her first speech on High Speed Rail at the Railway Engineers Forum conference on 21 October as Leaders from the UK rail industry debated the case for High Speed Rail in the UK. The Railway Engineers Forum event saw national and international specialists with a wealth of high speed rail experience from major infrastructure projects such as the UK’s High Speed 1, the French TGV network, as well as similar systems in Germany, China, Russia and Spain consider the case from an industry perspective and outline key technical information and challenges.
Also presenting were Professor Andrew McNaughton, Technical Director of the High Speed 2 project and Pete Waterman, from the UK Treasury’s HS2 Taskforce. Baroness Susan Kramer MP said: “We are driving forward HS2 because the benefits it will bring are huge. And without HS2 we face a crisis in capacity on our rail network. The passion that exists for the project in the Railway Engineers Forum is extremely encouraging. I am determined, as is the rest of my department that this will be a great opportunity for British businesses and British workers. Around the world the UK is recognised as exceptionally capable of delivering big infrastructure projects: Crossrail and the Olympics have shown us that. But the extent of our vision and ambition doesn’t stop at HS2. In the next Parliament we are investing over £56bn on roads, existing railways and local transport to help Britain succeed in the global market.”
The event provided an opportunity to discuss the national case for a high speed network, the impact of High Speed 2 on the wider rail network as well as some of the operational challenges of integrating new systems with existing infrastructure. Professor Andrew McNaughton, Technical Director of High Speed 2 said: “The need for a new high speed line has never been greater. HS2 isn’t all about speed; it is about capacity, connectivity, reliability and growth. If we don’t do anything now, the West Coast Mainline will be full by the mid 2020s. Not only will HS2 transform rail travel and solve the crippling capacity crunch we are already facing, it will provide an engine for growth by creating thousands of jobs, acting as a catalyst for regeneration and helping rebalance the north-south economy.”
Further information about the event can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/railway-engineers-forum