Research and analysis

Review of the technical specification for high speed rail in the UK

A review by HS2 Ltd of the technical specification for HS2 in light of consultation responses.


Review of the technical specification for high speed rail in the UK

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Executive summary

This is HS2 Ltd’s report to government which presents the outcomes of the review of responses to the consultation regarding the technical specification for HS2. The ‘High speed rail: Investing in Britain’s future’ consultation was launched on 28 February 2011 with a closing date for responses of 29 July 2011. That consultation covered both the government’s strategy for high speed rail, and the line of route for phase one from London to the West Midlands. Consultation responses expressed concern around a number of areas which this report specifically considers:

  • specifying proven technology
  • capacity of HS2: 18 trains per hour
  • a design speed of 250 mph (400 kph)
  • hours of operation
  • gauge of HS2 trains
  • the specification of the classic compatible trains
  • reliability
  • impact on other existing rail services
  • freight on HS2
  • interconnectivity with other transport networks
  • operational safety

To address these we established a programme to review existing work and, where appropriate, undertake new analysis. This work has highlighted a number of areas that would require careful consideration during the subsequent design stages of HS2 and its interface with the classic network and, if a decision is taken to proceed with HS2, we would seek to address these in our future work programme. We have also identified a small programme of adjustments to infrastructure on the West Coast Main Line (WCML) that would be needed to mitigate impacts on journey times for classic compatible services north of Lichfield. These have been included in revised cost estimates for HS2.

Overall, we conclude that the specification developed for HS2 is robust and appropriate for the stage of development of the project.

Background documents

Published 10 January 2012