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HS2 rolling stock procurement

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One might have expected the David Higgins HS2 Plus ‘cost cutting’ report to put forward original ideas to cut costs, but apparently, he didn’t have any. At the very least, one might have expected Mr Higgins to recommend rationalisation of fleet procurement, by not ordering any ‘captive’ trains.

At £7.5 billion (2011 prices) HS2’s “rolling stock funding envelope” greatly exceeds the expenditure on carriages for Thameslink (~£1.6 billion), Great Western (InterCity Express Programme, ~£2.4 billion), and London Crossrail 1 (~£1 billion). The indications are that a transaction of that size would “not be supported by the financial markets” and it is currently assumed that trains would be funded directly by the government.

The rationale for including captive trains is that they could be acquired ‘off the shelf’ and would therefore be cheaper than trains built to “non-standard” British gauge. However, apart from graffiti-ready Arupesque ‘Tesco value’ viaducts and stations, HS2 Ltd do not appear to be keen on off-the-shelf-anything.

HS2 traction and rolling stock engineer engineer Thomas Williamson has spoken of the company’s interest in custom design features such as an ‘ideal’ train / platform interface height. Captive rolling stock with such features would doubtless be considerably more expensive than a standard train, but no information on costs has been forthcoming.

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Written by beleben

April 7, 2014 at 10:29 am

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

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