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HS2 to use French overhead line technology

French high speed line

High Speed 2 (HS2) Ltd has procured a £3M licence from French rail operator SNCF to use its existing high speed overhead catenary system (OCS) on the HS2 phase 1 route.

The contract with SNCF is part of the Railway Systems package which includes signalling, communications, power and track.

HS2 said although the rest of the package would be tendered in due course, it saw benefits in choosing which system should be used early.

The system is based on the tried and tested design used on the French high speed network, which will be upgraded to support HS2’s maximum 360km/h line speed.

The project promoter said while it welcomed any solution which met its standards, as a number of companies had already produced systems which were close to complying with its standards, it anticipated the work would be to upgrade and develop existing systems and not design it from scratch.

HS2 said unlike alternative systems, SNCF’s system did not prescribe suppliers, opening the way for UK-based manufacturers to bid for contracts to supply OCS components.

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