HS2 will ‘rival Japan’s bullet trains for reliability’

HS2 will be on a par with Japan’s bullet trains for reliability, it has been claimed (HS2/PA) Credit: Press Association Images

HS2 will rival Japan’s bullet trains for reliability, the firm building the high speed railway has claimed.

An average delay target of just 30 seconds will be in place once the railway opens, HS2 Ltd said.

Operators on the West Coast Main Line – which runs between London Euston and Scotland – have to cope with ageing infrastructure and the need to share lines with other passenger and freight traffic, a report by the Government-funded company noted.

But the operator of HS2 will be in “full control” allowing it to set a “new standard in reliability”.

Some 17% of services run by Virgin Trains – which operates on the West Coast Main Line – were delayed by at least 10 minutes in the 12 months to June 23, Network Rail figures show.

It is used at a higher intensity than many comparable fast lines in the rest of Europe, which can lead to large knock-on effects from delays.

HS2 Ltd’s report stated: “Our ambition is for HS2 to achieve world-class levels of reliability, on a par with Japan’s Shinkansen high speed rail network.

“HS2 will be a railway that can be depended on seven days a week.”

Japan has one of the world’s most reliable railways. Its high speed services are known as bullet trains.

HS2 Ltd believes a comparable railway will “fundamentally change the way we think about reliability and train travel in Britain”.

The report, being published on Thursday in Leeds, shows that the benefits of HS2 are “already being realised across the UK”, such as supporting 6,000 jobs.

HS2 Ltd’s outgoing chairman, Sir David Higgins, said: “HS2 services will be unrecognisable to today’s commuters.

“A service that is dependable if you’re travelling for work, attending a meeting, or seeing family and friends.

“The standard set by HS2 will be world class, with the stress of tickets, delays and other frustrations designed out of the system.”

Phase 1 of the £55.7 billion high-speed railway will open between London and Birmingham in December 2026.

A second Y-shaped phase of HS2 will launch in two stages.

Phase 2a from the West Midlands to Crewe will begin in 2027, followed by Phase 2b from Crewe to Manchester, and Birmingham to Leeds, in 2033.