Chinese companies could run UK’s HS2

Despite being the birthplace of railways, the UK lags behind other countries when it comes to high speed services. Photo credit – Pixabay

Chinese companies could run UK’s HS2

Trains running on HS2, the British railway project that’s set to slash journey times between London and Birmingham, could be operated by Chinese companies.

That’s according to various reports in the British press, following a series of crises amongst existing British rail operators.

These include one franchise, Virgin Train East Coast, having to return their services to the government.

HS2 (short for High Speed 2) will, as the name suggests, become only the second high speed railway in the UK when it opens in 2026.

We’d already reported that Guangshen Railway Company is in the running to operate the flagship line.

The company is the operator of the 152-kilometre railway link between Guangzhou and Shenzhen – a line with many similarities to HS2.

Meanwhile, their partner in the bid, MTR, is already gaining experience in the UK rail market.

Last year, the South West Trains franchise passed to a partnership formed of First Group (a company who have long been involved with running various British rail franchises) and MTR, the operator of Hong Kong’s Metro.

Reacting to the news at the time, South West Trains watch, a passenger interest group, said:

“We now need First and MTR to deliver on their promises and give us a service that we can finally be proud of.”

Those promises made by First and MTR include new timetables, which could increase the number of peak seats into and out of London by as much as 20 percent.

The companies will also make a payment of over £2.5 billion to the British government over the seven years of the deal.

Rupert Reid

Pilot and Senior Broadcast Journalist at Panda Radio. You can find him on Twitter @rupertreid