Saturday, 25 October 2014
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HS2 makes an early arrival in Birmingham

HS2 will help to rebalance the nation’s economy whilst supporting growth in the regions and encourage inward investment into England’s Second City.

This is the opinion of Sir Albert Bore, leader of Birmingham Council who today welcomed the announcement that HS2 Construction HQ is to be located in the West Midlands metropolis.

Around £130m was secured earlier in the month from the Local Growth Fund for HS2-related projects, which include extending the Midland Metro and bringing tram services into the Birmingham Curzon area, linking the HS2 terminus directly into the local transport system.

The first phase of HS2 HQ is expected to open in 2015 and will eventually house up to 1,500 staff made up of those taking on new, highly skilled roles and those relocating from London.

According to HS2 Ltd, the new roles will be available for the engineers and designers responsible for detailed construction plans for the track, stations and signalling as well as the staff needed to support their work.

Further good news for Birmingham comes in the form of the Birmingham Curzon Urban Regeneration Company, which is tasked with leading the development of over 140 hectares of land around Curzon Street in Birmingham city centre. The redevelopment is predicted to create 14,000 jobs, 600,000 square metres of new employment floor space and 2,000 homes, contributing up to £1.3bn a year to the local economy.

There may, of course, be a time in the future when trains are entirely obsolete as a mode of freight and passenger transport. One thing we can be certain of, however, is that schools will soon break up for the summer holidays, prompting this week’s Briefing to digress and focus on those youngsters who are getting stuck into STEM-related activities, specifically those looking at alternative modes of transportation.

One of those is 12-year-old Vittoria Simples, who has just been announced as the winner of the IET Faraday Student Innovator of the Year award.

Simples, a pupil at the Sacred Heart High School in Hammersmith, London was taking part in IET’s Future of Luxury Global Transport competition, which focused on renewable energies and pollution-free travel.

Her winning design was based on underwater pods made of recycled metals powered by biomass, which won her £200 of Amazon vouchers and £200 for her school.

The winners of the IET Faraday Group Innovator of the Year were 13-year-olds Laura White and Amna Halili who designed glass pods that would run on magnetic tracks and be powered by solar energy and wind turbines.

The pupils, from Vyners School in Uxbridge, were awarded £100 of Amazon vouchers and £200 cash for their school.

Congratulations to all who took part.

Year 10 pupils will be descending on Imperial College London from July 29 to take part in an initiative to encourage youngsters of their age to enter science and engineering.

The fully booked residential summer school will do this through four days of taster sessions in different science and biological, chemical, electrical, materials and aeronautical engineering disciplines.

Hands on activities are planned that will introduce budding engineers to some core concepts in engineering and witness first hand the technology that is being developed in Imperial’s research labs.

The World Cup may be over but Brazil this week hosts another football-themed competition that won’t see a single incident of diving, or bouts of histrionics.

This is because the participants will all be autonomousHS@ robots designed and assembled by those who have taken their aptitude for STEM subjects and applied them broadly to robotics.

Due to end on July 25, RoboCup 2014 has teams from 50 countries pitting their teams of robots against one another whilst observing the same rules as their human counterparts.

An interesting aim of the competition is to see a robot team beat a human team by 2050. They’d probably take the current England starting 11 to extra time and penalties right now. A full overview of the event can be seen below.

Source: RoboCup 2014


Readers' comments (4)

  • This seems to confirm that we are going ahead with the biggest white elephant of all time. Completely unecessary - we had much better invest the billions in some state of the art hospitals, schools and university research facilities.

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  • While I have reservations about the HS2 project and I would have preferred to see this money spent improving local rail infrastructure outside of London. Investing billions of dollars in state controlled entities like the the NHS does not generate new sources of taxable income. It only recycles taxable income from the private sector and when there is not enough the government borrows money from international lenders and to pay off the interest the government then has no choice but to increase taxes. Its a case of ever decreasing circles - that's why tax and spend does not work.

    The UK needs to find ways to generate new taxable income (not recycled money) and that's why I think the current coalition and the future labour one will underwrite this type project because its peanuts in the big scheme of things (NHS annual budget for 2014 is 95.6 Billion) and its quantifiable compared to reforming the certain areas of the civil service.

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  • HS2 is a complete waste of money. The politicians are totally out of touch and undermmining society in any ways, HS2 is a perfect example of this.

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  • As the old lines fill up, we will need more rail capacity on the WCML, Midland Mainline and ECML - and HS2 is the cheapest way to achieve that.

    Widening each of those THREE old lines through all of the towns those lines go through would cost more (due to disruption etc etc) than building this new route around those towns to take LONG distance traffic off each of the old lines.

    The old lines also become more efficient if fast trains are moved to their own new line and fast/slow train conflict is removed.

    So the HS2 Y (to Manchester & Leeds) actually means far more commuter seats on the OLD lines too.

    And better transport boosts the economy in the 8 cities connected by HS2 and 100 towns on the 3 old lines (with extra rail capacity) to earn MORE TAX to pay for schools & hospitals from thousands of extra jobs created - over the 150 yr life of the line.

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