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UK: HS2 to proceed as government adopts High Speed North vision

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Construction of the first phase of High Speed 2 is to continue, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the House of Commons on February 11. In recommitting to the national high speed rail programme, Johnson also said the government intended to rename the sections of HS2 serving northern England as High Speed North.

The government announced a number of significant administrative changes to the HS2 programme, including establishing a separate management organisation to redevelop the southern terminus at London Euston and creating a full-time ministerial role with responsibility for high speed rail.

The parliamentary bill authorising the 225 km HS2 Phase 1 linking London with the West Midlands received Royal Assent in February 2017, since when significant early construction work has been undertaken, notably around the station sites at London Euston and Birmingham Curzon Street. Two further phases are planned, Phase 2a linking Lichfield with Crewe and Phase 2b serving Leeds, York, Manchester and Wigan.

Oakervee Review published

Johnson criticised aspects of the delivery of HS2 so far, suggesting that project promoter HS2 Ltd ‘had not distinguished itself’ when dealing with local communities along the route. However, he suggested that neither this nor increases in the cost of the scheme had not ‘detracted from the fundamental value’ of HS2.

Alongside the parliamentary statement, the government published the Oakervee Review which had been commissioned last summer to examine the status of HS2 and assess how and whether the scheme should proceed.

This report ‘considers that, on balance, ministers should proceed with the HS2 project, subject to a number of qualifications. The latest economic appraisal indicates that the net cost to the transport budget in proceeding with HS2 is around £62bn to £69bn at 2015 prices.’

The review’s proposed changes include reducing the planned throughput on the Phase 1 section from 18 trains/h to 14 trains/h with passive provision for 16 in the future.

High Speed North proposed

The High Speed North programme will replace Phase 2b of HS2 while also encompassing plans for Northern Powerhouse Rail. This proposal for an east-west line broadly running from Liverpool to Leeds via Bradford is at a much earlier stage of planning than HS2, and Johnson said the government was exploring how a pan-industry authority could be established to accelerate delivery of new rail infrastructure in northern England.

Johnson told MPs that developing faster connections between northern cities would ‘make no sense’ without HS2 providing ‘north-south links along our long and spindly island’. Nevertheless, he suggested that work by the Oakervee Review and the National Infrastructure Commission would be used to deliver ‘an integrated plan for rail in the north’ of England.

Responding to the government’s decision, an HS2 Ltd spokesperson said the announcement ‘provides much needed clarity on the future of the project for our contractors and the wider community. HS2 has been 10 years in the planning and development, and we are shovel-ready to start building the first new railway north of London for over a century.’

 

Source: railwaygazette.com

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Twelve major infrastructure projects promising to upgrade Thessaloniki

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The General Secretary of Infrastructure, Mr. George Karagiannis, spoke to Thessaloniki news website, voria.gr, about 12 major projects for the city and the wider region.

Most of them are known and the Ministry’s goal is to implement them, reversing the city’s negative past experiences concerning the projects. Some of them are already under construction, while others are in advanced preparation or planning, making their way to their tenders.

According to Mr. Karagiannis, the 12 major projects in the region are the following:

1. Thessaloniki Metro (Main line and the extension to Kalamaria), which is now at a very advanced stage.

2. Completion of Egnatia Motorway vertical axis Thessaloniki-N. Moudania-Potidea, with 14.5m euros

3. Completion of road safety upgrade works on Thessaloniki-Polygyros axis, in the section Thermi-Galatista, with 29m euros.

4. Completion of the road connection between the 6th pier of Thessaloniki Port and PATHe motorway axis, with 75m euros.

5. The proposed PPP project regarding the upgrade of the eastern internal ring road (aka flyover), with an indicative budget of 350m euros.

6. Rainwater drainage of Kalamaria Municipality southern section, with 12m euros.

7. Flood control works in the wider area of ​​”Lachanagora”, with 33m euros.

8. Construction of 17 new school units using the PPP method, with an estimated cost of 153m euros.

9. Installation of signaling systems and ETCS-LEVEL 1 on the single-track railway line Thessaloniki-Eidomeni, with 46m euros.

10. Thessaloniki-Mouries road project, with 65m euros

11. Upgrade-electrification of the railway line Thessaloniki-Promachonas, with 150m euros.

12. Connection of the Thessaloniki Port 6th Pier with the national railway network. This project proceeds with the method of the competitive dialogue.

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Updated plans for Patras new railway connection projects to be presented in July

Νίκος Καραγιάννης

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The Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Mr. Kostas Karamanlis, intends to present his plans on how the modern railway will finally reach the city of Patras. According to information of ypodomes.com, the Ministry of Infrastructure does is not opposed to the solution of the undergrounding but to the complete undergrounding of the lines, a project that cannot be financed due to its very large budget.

The solution proposed by the Ministry

The solution to which the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport is oriented, according to information of ypodomes.com, and which is the subject of negotiations with the competent directorates of the European Commission, presents, as noted by sources close to the case, many advantages:

At first, it accepts the fact that both intecity and suburban railway will become a valuable element of the city’s development. Regarding the layout, it provides for surface passage with a double-track electrified line from Rio to Aghios Dionysios (where a new modern central station will be built). In this section, 2 or 3 immersions of 100 meters each, have been planned in Bozaitika, Panachaiki and Agyia areas.

In addition, this solution involves another immersion of the section between Aghios Dionysios nad Aghios Andreas (with the cut and cover method) with a single-track line aiming to open the city to the seafront and achieve access of the railway to the port. At the same time, the Suburban Railway will operate in a boxed surface passage.

Along with the solution that will be proposed, the implementation of major interventions in the operation of the city is included, such as e.g. renovation of junctions and parking spaces in order to solve traffic problems. For this purpose, an architectural tender is being promoted by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport in order to highlight the coastal front of the city.

At the same time, as the same sources point out, it enlivens the port, strengthens combined transport (i.e. the railway and sea transports, cruise ships and intecity buses). According to the same information, the solution is feasible and has a secured budget of less than 200, euros, from NSRF.

The solution, if implemented, provides for the rapid maturation and execution of the projects and stops the idiosyncratic railway isolation of Patras from the country’s national railway network. It also achieves in a reasonable time the arrival of the railway in the port, giving new great development opportunities to the business community and the industrial area of ​​the city.

It is worth mentioning that the project for the connection of Patras with the modern railway, is the basis for the subsequent connection to Ilia prefecture in the south, etc.

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GEK TERNA: 1.7bn-euro backlog, strong profits and new projects

Νίκος Καραγιάννης

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A backlog of 1.7b euros was announced earlier today by GEK TERNA in a press release on the annual financial results for 2019, maintaining strong prospects of healthy construction activity for the coming period.

The new projects undertaken by the Group concerns -among others- the construction of the new Heraklion International Airport in Kastelli (Crete), the construction of the southern section of Kentriki Odos-E65 Motorway, the participation in the reconstruction of Tesla Airport in Belgrade (Serbia), the development of Cyprus Casino in Limassol, as well as a number of other projects both in Greece and abroad.

The construction turnover for third parties last year amounted to 679.8m euros, compared to 94m euros in 2018. Also, operating profit(adjusted EBITDA) stood at 10.9m euros compared to 32.1m euros in the previous year.

As the Group’s CEO, Mr. Giorgos Peristeris commented on GEK TERNA’s investments: “We have already launched a broad investment program of about 3b euros in the sectors of clean energy, energy storage with pumped storage hydropower, gas-fired power plants, environmental projects and waste management infrastructure, while we expect developments in new investment initiatives in which we participate, worth more than 1bn euros.”

It is noteworthy that the total power of the Group’s RES facilities in operation or under construction now reaches 2,000 MW. Investment in the clean energy sector alone reached 260m euros.

In the concessions sector, a new addition has been the concession company for the new International Airport in Heraklion, for which the concession contract was signed with the Greek State on February 21, 2019. On March 27, 2019, the Group, through TERNA Energy, put into operation Epirus Waste Treatment Unit with an average annual capacity of 105,000 tons. The total equity amounted to 767m euros.

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