Posted 3rd April 2014 | 12 Comments
Japanese operator agrees HS2 contract
ONLY two weeks after Hitachi said it was moving its global rail headquarter to London, high speed rail operator East Japan Railway (JR-East) announced today it is to open offices in the City– initially with what it described as a ‘landmark contract’ with HS2 Ltd, but with the clear aim of doing business long-term with Britain’s booming rail industry, as well as with other European suppliers.
Masaki Ogata, vice-chairman of JR-East, disclosing the initial four-month contract with HS2 Ltd at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, made clear that his company’s expansion to London would be permanent. It will open its offices near Liverpool Street station on 15 April.
Welcoming the move, HS2 Ltd’s Technical Director, Professor Andrew McNaughton, said: “JR-East is respected across the world, having been part of a high speed rail transport system connecting Japan’s biggest cities. Its services have been run to the highest degrees of comfort, reliability and safety for 50 years. We are very pleased to be working with one of the world’s great experts.”
Prof McNaughton said of particular importance was JR-East’s experience of running trains off its high speed network onto the ‘classic’ system, which would help HS2 and Network Rail in planning how best to serve towns and cities not directly on the planned ‘Y’ network.
The initial contract will see JR-East advising HS2 on a range of technical issues – including aerodynamics in tunnels, reducing noise from pantographs and helping decide whether to use slab or ballasted tracks – to long-term planning for reliability and station management, especially how best to look after passengers on a busy system.
JR-East’s Masak Ogata explained: “We look forward to helping HS2 and to contributing to the success of high speed rail in the UK. JR-East has the experience, expertise and enthusiasm to contribute greatly to the smooth and successful implementation of the HS2 project.”
Neither JR-East nor HS2 would disclose the value of the contract, but Prof. McNaughton said he hoped it would be the start of a potential longer relationship. He added that JR-East is also the largest operator of suburban trains in Japan and its expertise would be available to a much wider audience than HS2 alone.
Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.