Britain is in talks with China as Beijing’s state railway company offers to build a cheaper and faster HS2 service in just five years
- Beijing said it could build the line by 2025 with less money and faster trains
- The Department of Transportation confirmed that preliminary discussions were ongoing
- Boris Johnson gave the green light to HS2 despite cost estimates reaching £ 100 billion
China offered to build a cheaper and faster HS2 service in just five years, it was reported last night.
British officials are arguing with Chinese counterparts to get the high-speed rail project back on track.
Beijing said it could build the line by 2025 with less money and faster trains, according to the Financial Times.
The Department of Transportation confirmed that preliminary discussions were ongoing between HS2 and the state-owned China Railways Construction Corporation. It is said that no firm commitments have been made.
China offered to build a cheaper and faster HS2 service in just five years, it was reported last night. In the photo: the artist’s impression of an HS2 train on the Birmingham and Fazeley viaduct
A spokesman said: “We are always eager to learn from the experience of others and to consider approaches that offer good value for money.”
Boris Johnson gave the green light to HS2 earlier this week despite total cost estimates reaching over £ 100 billion.
CRCC built the bulk of China’s 15,500-mile high-speed network in a decade, accounting for two thirds of all fast lines globally.
He wants to provide 260 mph speeds to HS2 trains, which is well above the current maximum expected range between 200 mph and 225 mph.
Last month, the company wrote to HS2 CEO Mark Thurston stating that “he is ready to solve all the problems the project currently faces.”
CRCC added: ‘We are confident that we can offer a significantly lower cost than the projections we have seen.
“The benefits, in our opinion, are too great to be dismissed as there are obstacles to overcome. You will find that the Chinese way is to seek solutions, not to linger over obstacles and difficulties.”
British officials are skeptical about the logistics of the Chinese proposals.
Boris Johnson gave the green light to HS2 earlier this week despite total cost estimates reaching over £ 100 billion
They point out that building a railway line in China is easier than in a democracy like Britain that has property rights, protected landscapes and a powerful anti-development lobby.
There are also concerns about further Chinese investment after the government has approved Huawei’s involvement in a 5G mobile launch despite security concerns.
CRCC acknowledged it in the letter, saying: ‘There seems to be a willingness on the part of the government to embrace an important contribution to 5G by the Chinese regarding Huawei. We believe this situation can be compared. “
Work will begin in a few weeks on the first section of the line between London and Birmingham, with a second phase going to Manchester and Leeds. Johnson wants to bring forward the date it will be fully operational within five years until 2035.
Downing Street said it believed the Prime Minister could deliver the entire HS2 project between £ 72 billion and £ 98 billion with a dedicated minister charged with preventing “further blowouts” in terms of budget and program.
China showed its high-speed building skills just this month by building a hospital in Wuhan affected by the coronavirus in just ten days.