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King rules that UK high-speed rail offers lessons

high speed UK

 

Federal infrastructure and transport minister Catherine King is in the UK to have a first-hand look at high-speed rail in that country.

As the Australian Government begins the process of delivering high-speed rail, King travelled to Birmingham by train with the UK’s Secretary of State for Transport Mark Harper, where they were joined by Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street to be briefed on the UK’s HS2 project.

“My trip to the UK offers important opportunities to leverage Britain’s considerable expertise to assist with delivering our high speed rail investment,” she said.

“Australia and the United Kingdom share an ambitious vision for high-speed rail in our respective countries.

“The Australian Government is committed to the delivery of high-speed rail and has established the High Speed Rail Authority to oversee the development of a network along the east coast of Australia.

“The first priority of the Authority is planning and corridor works for the Sydney to Newcastle section of the network, which is backed by a $500 million funding commitment.”

King said the UK has had high-speed rail since 1976 and this trip offered the opportunity to draw on significant industry and government experience.

High-speed rail in the UK was previously developed under the HS1 network. The new HS2 network aims to provide additional capacity, cut carbon emissions and provide better connectivity – all important shared priorities.

“It was valuable to hear from our British partners on lessons learnt from developing and delivering high-speed rail in the UK, and how these might apply to Australia,” King said.

“I am also meeting Dyan Perry, the chief executive officer of HS1, who I recently appointed as a member of the High Speed Rail Authority board.

“High-speed rail is a project that requires time to build, making it crucial to learn about timeframe challenges experienced in the UK when delivering on our commitments at home in Australia.

“The Australian Government understands that managing stakeholder expectations is critical to the success of large infrastructure projects, with the British experience again offering important lessons.”

The trilateral meeting is part of a comprehensive visit to the UK, which also includes a site visit to the Birmingham Curzon Street terminus station of the new HS2 network and a visit to the headquarters of HS1 – the first high-speed railway in the UK.