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What's been happening in transport

It’s been a train-centric few weeks at NCE, with the welcome exception of Mike Batheram of WSP UK asking whether we are right to be confident in the government’s spending plans for long term investment in transport or whether we are heading for another boom or bust industry.

High Speed 2 (HS2) continues to dominate the headlines, with the incoming chair David Higgins saying that consideration should be given to bring forward construction of the northern section of the £50bn project. Higgins said he would look at building phase two of HS2 rail line alongside phase one.

News of another high speed train in Japan reached our shores. The Central Japan Railway Company (JRC) told NCE of its plans to build a new ultra-high speed link from Tokyo to Osaka, with trains reaching an incredible 500km/h. The Chuo Shinkansen railway will use the super conducting Maglev system, which uses electromagnetic coils cooled by liquid helium to propel the trains.

The head of JRC has also set his sights on the East Coast of the United States as the next location for the technology. “The second place to deploy this is the New York City to Washington DC corridor,” chairman Yoshiyuki Kasai said. “It is the same distance as Tokyo to Nagoya and it has the right conditions,”

JRC continued its dominance in the news and announced the formation of the International High Speed Rail Association intended to combat high profile rail disasters by persuading global railway infrastructure owners and operators to implement higher safety standards. The new association will focus on promoting the adoption of a performance-based, crash avoidance, high speed rail system.

Back in the UK, but still on trains, NCE understands that Skanska/Bam Nuttall joint venture has won a £200M Northern Hub contract. The work is set to include construction of key structures in Manchester city centre, including a new viaduct that will for the first time create a link between Victoria and Piccadilly stations – as well as improvements to the railway around Manchester Piccadilly and Oxford Road stations.

We also heard of the last few scraps of cut steel and fragmented concrete being hauled away from Gatwick airport, as demolition work continues on replacing one of the original piers of the south terminal. The pier had become difficult to maintain, with poor lighting and low ceilings.

Keep following NCE’s daily live news updates to stay ahead of the top transport stories, and look out for the next transport alert in November.

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