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HS2 rolling stock costs

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The March 2012 HS2 Ltd Cost and Risk Model Report estimated the capital costs of rolling stock for the London — West Midlands high speed railway, and Y network, as £3 billion and and £7.53 billion respectively (2011 prices). Although HS2 is being touted as a “400 km/h railway”, the March 2012 report focused on procurement of 360 km/h trainsets (of three types: 200-metre long captive, 200-metre classic compatible, and 260-metre classic compatible).

Depending on the internal layout, one might expect a 200-metre long trainset to have between 400 and 550 seats. Assuming 550 places, and a purchase cost of £39.8 million, the cost per seat in a classic compatible 200-metre unit would be £72,000. For the £26.5 million captive trainset, the cost per seat would be £48,000.

It’s possible to compare the (socialised) seat costs of HS2 trains with those of private automobiles (costs borne by their owners). Assuming a four-seat automobile cost £20,000 and lasted 11 years, the annual ‘cost per seat’ would be £454. For a HS2 classic compatible train lasting 30 years, and no mid-life refurb, the annual ‘cost per seat’ would be £2,400 (similar differentials could be expected for the annual maintenance charges).

What the 21st century railway needs is low cost, energy efficient, and reliable rolling stock — but the HS2 procurement would take costs, and complexity, in the wrong direction.

Written by beleben

May 28, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

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