To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 1 February (HL4840), what estimate they have made of the percentage reduction in capital and operating cost of HS2 if the maximum operating speed were 320 kph rather than 360 kph; and whether there is to be a requirement that the manufacture or assembly of the trains will be undertaken in the UK.
The government believes that HS2 should be designed to a maximum speed of 360km/h, with a route alignment enabling up to 400km/h in the future. In 2012 HS2 Ltd advised that the cost of building the Phase 1 consulted route at 200km/h would be 9% lower than the cost of a route designed to a maximum speed of 360km/h. An intermediate speed option of 300km/h was considered to test the operating cost and value for money implications of a lower operating speed. This option increased journey times, reducing the forecast benefit-cost ratio of the Scheme.
Whilst a lower operating speed – including 320 km/h - could result in marginally reduced rolling stock capital costs and some reduction to operating costs; these are more than offset by the significant loss in revenue and user benefits.
It is too early to confirm whether the manufacture or assembly of the trains will take place in the UK. However, when tendering, bidders will be required to make clear how their proposal in respect of designing, building, testing and maintaining the rolling stock will deliver the HS2 Programme’s strategic goals and objectives. These include the development of long term design and manufacturing skills, creation of employment opportunities and investment in workforce education to add value to the UK economy.