The Institution of Mechanical Engineers welcomes this new independent review into the HS2 programme but identifies some key areas that are missing.

Dr Jenifer Baxter, Head of Engineering, said: “We support the HS2 programme and welcome this review which is an opportunity to look at how the delivery of major rail infrastructure can be improved.

The review has some radical terms of reference but does not include what we would consider key aspects of the HS2 programme. For example, the terms do not include a requirement to consider the cost of alternatives to provide the step-change increase in rail capacity that is needed on long distance and suburban services north of London.

As an example, the review requires an assessment of the cost of disruption to rail users during HS2’s construction but does not consider the far greater disruption of any alternative project to improve capacity on the existing railway.

This review may provide an opportunity to investigate different ways that a high-speed rail link can be delivered with minimal environmental impacts, particularly in the area of modal transfer. It may also find solutions to elements of the scheme that will lower costs, for example by reducing the size of stations or delaying sections of the route.

We would encourage consideration of existing network readiness as part of this review, as the ability to deliver passengers to HS2’s origin and terminus stations is critical to its success. Without investment in the existing railway and other transport modes, the full potential of HS2 will never be realised.

Britain has a long and proud history of rail transport and it is important that we stay at the forefront of technological developments. Unfortunately, this new review fails to offer a chance to consider the business benefits of constructing HS2, such as bringing innovative new trains to our railways, which lower emissions, keep people moving and are fit for the 21st century.

HS2 must become a showcase for Britain’s railway industry. HS2 is essential to addressing the capacity crunch on our existing railway. Doing nothing is not an option.”

Automation Update