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Optimising opportunities

Work is also continuing in partnership with local authorities and regional transport providers to ensure that cities along the route are ready to capitalise on the economic potential of the new stations.

Public interest

“HS2 is currently undergoing due parliamentary process. This is an opportunity for MPs and the public to have their say,” explains West. “We are working hard with all stakeholders to make sure we understand any concerns and, where possible, accommodate them. With HS1 – launched in 2007 to connect London with the Channel Tunnel – you can see examples of where the landscape and environment have been improved by the mitigation measures put in place by the railway to reduce noise and disruption for people living alongside the line.”

Once the Hybrid Bill has passed through Parliament, the next step will be to award contracts. Main works procurement activities are already underway.

West explains that HS2 is being procured in innovative ways to improve effi ciency while minimising cost. “We’re using Building Information Modelling (BIM),” she says. “This means we can create the design and build the railway in a virtual space before we actually start physical building. Among other benefi ts, this will allow us to facilitate collaboration across all our contracts. Rather than the civil engineers working independently, we’ll have all designers working collaboratively so we can discover the best solutions for the project as a whole. We’ll get a better product this way, and at a reduced cost.”

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Birmingham Crewe

Sheffi eld East

Birmingham Interchange

Heathrow spur (under review)

London Euston

Midlands Hub

“We’re making sure private sector investors understand all the opportunities, and we’re creating the conditions for them to come in and invest,” says West. “We’re setting the vision and understanding what local authorities are hoping to achieve. We’re talking to political leaders, communicating with local leaders, and dealing with stakeholders and local businesses so we can explain the opportunities and maintain support for the project. Politicians listen to their constituents and they need to understand what we are doing to mitigate risks and costs.”

Cross-party support for HS2 is helping to bring forward the date when construction can start, with improving economic conditions

playing a part by easing budgetary pressure on central government.

However, West warns that challenges of a practical nature still lie ahead. “We need to make sure we have companies available to win contracts and workers able to deliver the job,” she says. “We need to mobilise the supply chain. We want people to work collaboratively with us, to use current technology and to deliver effi ciently.”



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