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Press release

‘Vision into reality’ - UK high speed rail technical seminar

06 August 2013


The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), Parsons Brinckerhoff and HS2 Ltd are collaborating on a programme of knowledge dissemination events on the delivery of high speed rail in the UK.

These events will provide a forum for the railway industry and its many stakeholders to discuss international best practice in high speed rail and the latest technical solutions, challenges and innovations being developed for HS2.

The first event in this programme is a full day technical seminar, High Speed Rail - Vision into Reality, with high level presentations from a number of senior HS2 specialists and industry experts from around the world. It is being held in central London on 12 September 2013 and is targeted at senior railway industry professionals, transport providers, operators and engineers.

Andrew McNaughton, Technical Director for HS2 Ltd and a keynote speaker at the London event, explains:  “HS2 will be the north-south backbone of the 21st Century transport network among eight of the 10 largest city regions of Great Britain.  Its engineering will be one of the major challenges of the next two decades”.

Peter Sheppard, Chair of the IET Transport Sector, said: “The HS2 project is not just a project to reduce the ever increasing pressure on the conventional West Coast Main Line, nor is it just a project to reduce journey times to Birmingham, Manchester or Leeds.  It is the first small step of a long term systems engineering project that will utilise leading edge technology in all disciplines to provide the UK with a safe and reliable high speed train service that will challenge the airlines and road users in their selection of travel mode and can be seen as a first step in integrating a new national transport system with existing hubs to bring about benefits to all users.”

Despite the complexity of delivering one of the leading and most technically advanced railway engineering projects in the world, at the heart of the UK’s high speed rail ambitions is a drive to deliver a programme focused on ‘passenger experience’.  

The seminar will include a key presentation on meeting the passenger experience challenge and will highlight some of the benefits HS2 will deliver as an ‘engine for growth’ both nationally, and to the regions and cities along its route.
It will also focus on the enormity of the opportunity in terms of the workforce training necessary to meet the delivery programme, and identify some of the many advances being made in this area already. A facilitated discussion with experts from government, HS2 and the National Skills Academy for Railway Engineering will be used to address this issue.

Darren Reed, Head of Rail at Parsons Brinckerhoff, which is responsible for the railway systems design for HS2, notes:  “Sharing knowledge and experience is a critical part of developing a project as complex as HS2 which is at the cutting edge of engineering innovation - whether in its design of track alignment and structures or even its signalling, telecommunications and energy systems. HS2 offers a significant opportunity for the UK railway industry, it will inspire a new generation of British engineers capable of exporting their skills to deliver advanced high speed rail systems and demanding infrastructure projects anywhere in the world.”

Following the London event on September 12, the next event in this high speed knowledge dissemination programme will be held in Birmingham in early December this year. It will be followed by a series of regional seminars next year in Manchester, Leeds, the East Midlands and Scotland or the north east.

To register an interest in attending the London event on 12 September, visit the event page.

Media enquiries to:

Katie Stanton
Communications Executive

Tel: +44(0)1438 765608
Mob: +44(0)7738 713867
Email: kstanton@theiet.org

Notes to editors:

The IET is leading the development of an international engineering and technology community, sharing and advancing knowledge to enhance people’s lives. The IET is the Professional Home for Life® for engineers and technicians, and a trusted source of Essential Engineering Intelligence®.

Parsons Brinckerhoff is delivering the overall railway systems design for HS2 and is programme managing the development of California’s high speed rail programme in the US. The company has also played an integral part in delivering high speed rail systems around the world including extensive networks in Taiwan and China.
Parsons Brinckerhoff is a leader in developing and operating infrastructure around the world, with approximately 14,000 employees in 150 offices dedicated to meeting the needs of clients and communities in the Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Americas, Asia and Australia-Pacific regions. Parsons Brinckerhoff offers skills and resources in strategic consulting, planning, engineering, program/construction management, and operations for all modes of infrastructure, including transportation, power, buildings and infrastructure, mining, water and the environment. (www.pbworld.com).

HS2 Ltd is the company responsible for developing and promoting the first phase of the high speed rail network from London to the West Midlands. It is undertaking the engineering, design and environmental work for this.
Parliament will need to give permission to build and operate HS2 through a specific type of bill, called a hybrid bill. The bill for the first phase of HS2 is planned to start its process through Parliament by the end of 2013. HS2 Ltd is responsible for the work to enable the Department for Transport to deposit a hybrid bill with Parliament by the end of 2013.
In 2012, HS2 Ltd submitted proposals to the Secretary of State for the second part of the network from the West Midlands to Leeds and Manchester. The Government announced its initial preferred route to Leeds and Manchester on 28 January 2013. The initial preferred route for this second phase of the network will form the basis of a public consultation.
HS2 Ltd is a company wholly owned by the Department for Transport (DfT).