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Japanese expertise booked in for HS2

East Japan Railway Company will advise on reliability, safety and noise reduction.

Japanese expertise has been drafted into High Speed 2 (HS2) in a move described as “exciting” and “essential” by the £42bn project’s technical head.

Japanese high speed rail operator East Japan Railway Company (JR-East) is to advise project promoter HS2 Ltd on key technical issues including reliability, safety and noise countermeasures.

It will also offer advice on how to improve connectivity with other rail and light rail networks.

HS2 Ltd technical director Andrew McNaughton said he was delighted to be working with the Japanese firm.

“I’m really excited about it,” he told NCE. “I enjoy working with them. They are utterly professional. They have decades of hard- won experience and are not just sitting on their laurels.”

HS2 Ltd will draw on JR-East’s expertise and experience of operating the world’s most established and safest high speed rail system, the Shinkansen.

There have been zero fatalities or injuries to passengers on Japanese high speed rail lines since their inception in 1964.

JR-East operates all Japan’s Shinkansen lines north of Tokyo – a network of 1,135km.

HS2 Ltd will also use JR-East’s expertise as the biggest operator of suburban rail in Japan.

JR-East operates a 7,540km network centred on Tokyo that includes nearly 1,700 stations.

It says it will share its knowledge of how to minimise noise disturbance in urban environments and also of how best to connect high speed rail services with metro and other commuter rail systems.

Stakeholders in both Manchester and Birmingham have raised this as an area that needs more work (News last week).

The deal was signed in late January but announced last week at a press conference in London.

“We have the experience, expertise and enthusiasm to contribute greatly to the smooth and successful implementation of the HS2 project,” JR-East vice chairman Masaki Ogata told the press conference.

“HS2 is an enormous undertaking,” added McNaughton. “It is the largest and most complex infrastructure project ever in the UK. So, it is essential we explore the best ways in which we can learn from international experience.”

McNaughton echoed comments he made to NCE last year at a Japanese event when he said high speed rail was a “ worldwide club” and he was open to learning from everyone (NCE 17 October 2013). “

JR-East is respected across the world, having been part of a high speed rail transport system connecting Japan’s biggest cities that has run to the highest degrees of comfort, reliability and safety for 50 years,” McNaughton added last week.

“We are very pleased to be working with one of the world’s great experts.”

Specific issues JR-East will provide advice on include:

  • Countermeasures against micro pressure waves
  • Countermeasures against noise from pantograph
  • Comparison of noise from ballasted and slab track
  • Reliability analysis for operations and management
  • Asset management
  • Station management

JR-East will work from a new London office that it will use to strengthen its European operations. It already has an office in Paris.

“We anticipate a fantastic future for high speed rail both in the UK and throughout Europe,” said Ogata.

“Opening our new London office at this exciting time is the right thing for JR-East and means we can more easily support our clients, partners and suppliers.”


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