China’s leading high-speed company China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation along with companies from France, Germany, and Japan will be bidding on new UK high-speed rail project HS2 worth 11.8 billion pounds.
Construction work on the first phase of HS2 is set to begin in 2017 with an indicated opening date in 2026, while completion of the entire network is expected in 2033. Phase one is to run between London Euston and the proposed new Birmingham Curzon Street station.
Phase two will create two branch lines: a western section to Manchester Piccadilly, and an eastern section to the proposed Leeds New Lane station via the East Midlands Hub (serving Derby, Nottingham and Leicester) and Meadowhall Interchange (serving Sheffield).
The HS2 project is worth an estimated £11.8bn with the competition including high-profile companies such as Japan’s Hitachi, France’s Alstom, and Germany’s Siemens. The bidding was opened up to Chinese companies by British Chancellor George Osborne last month in Chengdu.
The current UK government has been busy trying to develop closer ties with China. UK Prime Minister David Cameron has announced his intention to create a “golden age of Sino-British relations.” Which coincides with President Xi Jinping’s up coming visit, which will be the first time a Chinese President has been to the UK in the past 10 years. It is expected that President Xi will announce further Chinese investment into the country during his trip.
British Chancellor George Osborne’s recent overture to the Chinese to bid to build the first phase of a new high-speed rail system between London and Birmingham (HS2) has left many in the UK perplexed and dismayed. The charge of kowtowing to the Chinese to take on this £11.8 billion project has been made and the UK chancellor has also been accused of acting in contempt of the country’s legislature – as legislation enabling HS2 to proceed has yet to be formally signed off by the Queen.
China has been embarking on a series of high-speed train projects lately with the most recent project announced being a proposed line from Beijing to Hong Kong. There is no limit to China’s train building ambitions with other proposed projects including a train to Singapore and even a train connecting China to the US. Chinese companies have also been making significant investment into the UK recently, the latest being a record-breaking residental tower in the Docklands.