|Country / Region||UK|
High Speed Two: Joining Up Britain
It has been fifty years since Japan launched the world’s first dedicated high-speed rail network, connecting their three largest cities. The benefits have been immeasurable, opening economic opportunities up for residents all over the country, and becoming one of the busiest, yet reliable, rail lines in the world.
In Britain, our rail network has been a staple part of commuter travel for decades. Passenger numbers in Britain have more than doubled since the 90s, putting the existing routes under increasing pressure, both in terms of the infrastructure and the expectations from the modern traveller.
It used to be that London was the big economic centre of the country, however it has become increasingly apparent that cities all over Britain are building their own unique hubs. It is crucial that as we step into the next age of digitalisation and connectivity that our transport network enables easy commuting, particularly between the North, Midlands and South.
High Speed Two (HS2) Ltd is building a low carbon, high-speed railway in the UK, with construction now underway. The HS2 line will join up Britain, stopping at over 25 stations between Scotland and the South East, with the first phase covering Birmingham to London, and a target completion date of 2029. Phase Two will connect Manchester and Leeds; the entire route will form a ‘Y’ shape across the country, with HS2 trains continuing north on the existing network towards Glasgow and Edinburgh.
With aims to be fast, frequent and reliable, eight of Britain’s ten largest cities will be connected once the project completes. Importantly, it will provide much needed capacity by taking inter-city services off the existing rail network, allowing more space for local, commuter and freight services. It will also become the low carbon alternative for long distance travel, with a journey on HS2 emitting 17 times less carbon than the equivalent domestic flight and 7 times less carbon than the equivalent car journey.
The new high speed network will span 350 miles and reach a maximum speed of 360km per hour, journey times for passengers will be significantly reduced, for example, the journey between Leeds and Birmingham will be more than halved from nearly 2 hours to 49 minutes and Manchester to London will be reduced from over 2 hours to 1 hour 7 minutes.
HS2 have begun construction by employing innovative techniques with the future capabilities of modern infrastructure in mind. This includes brand new stations, upgraded trains and improved ticket-booking to meet the demand of, and bring clarity to, modern commuting.
Construction will cover new rail lines, prepping the land (including re-routing pipelines) and various groundworks. Contractors on hand will be carrying out demolition, ecological surveys, drainage works and ground remediation. Environmental and sustainability needs are also within the top priorities of the project, with an archaeology team tasked with unearthing years of British history along the route.
It is expected that 30,000 jobs will be created at peak construction, including 2,000 apprenticeships.. Once fully operational, 3,000 people will be required to maintain and operate the route.
As can be expected for a project of this magnitude, there are a range of unique challenges to solve along the way. Particularly when it comes to the construction phases. These can range from environmental concerns to disruption for commuters or near-by residents.
It is crucial that every step is taken to alleviate any public concerns, whilst also remaining on-budget and on-time. Overall completion relies heavily on each phase, before being delivered on schedule, with each key stage section of the build as important as the last.
HS2 have been using CEMAR since 2015 to manage their contracts, including NEC3 ECC, PSC and TSC. Within CEMAR, the project has over 400 live contracts and is nearing 5,000 active users, including those from HS2 and the supply chain.
Teams can easily achieve compliant and auditable records of the works as the CEMAR platform fosters collaboration between the client and contractors, with shared events, registers and reminders, as well stimulating best practice through embedded contract knowledge.
CEMAR Analytics provides complete visibility across the portfolio and enables HS2 to benchmark and track performance critical to management of behaviours whilst identifying trends. This is a process that could otherwise slow down a traditional admin-heavy project without a contract management solution.
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