Japan’s largest passenger railway operator JR-EAST has signed a contract with HS2 Limited to become a strategic advisor of the UK’s high-speed rail project, prior to the construction phase starting.
Speaking at a press conference in London today, vice chairman of JR-EAST, or East Japan Railway Company, Masaki Ogata, said the initial four-month contract would likely be a start of a much broader cooperation.
To foster its expansion in European markets, JR-EAST will open a permanent office in London in the middle of April.
Professor Andrew McNaughton, technical director of HS2 Ltd, said there is much to learn for the HS2 from the famously reliable, fast and environmentally friendly Japanese railway.
“This agreement gives us access to all the knowledge that you can see working so well every day in the country which is a home to high-speed rail,” McNaughton said. “HS2 is by far the largest infrastructure project ever in the UK. The project is about building a high-speed railway line in a densely populated area of western Europe and in this regard, we can learn a lot drawing from the experience of Japan, who faced similar challenges in the past.”
JR-EAST will, among others, carry out a study to propose measures to prevent noise related to the high-speed rail operations and suggest strategies on how to reduce the impact of pressure waves in tunnels.
HS2 hopes working with the operator of Japan’s famous bullet train with 27 years' experience will also help the company to better integrate the high-speed rail line into the broader railway system.
“In Japan you will see how cities were regenerated and new investment attracted following the high-speed rail construction, which is the same goal as set by our government for the UK,” McNaughton explained.
Masaki Ogata said: “Railways in Japan were born from cooperation with British engineers and it is therefore our great pleasure to contribute to the development of a high-speed rail in the country which gave rise to railway transportation”.