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High Speed Rail seminar - Jan 2020

The conference “High Speed Rail in Europe: case studies and perspectives” was conceived as an “introductory event” to the European Transport Conference (ETC) 2020 which will be held at the Bovisa Campus of the Polytechnic of Milan, 9 -11 September 2020, organised jointly between the Association for European Transport (AET) and the Department of Mechanical Engineering,

As an introductory theme for ETC, it seemed appropriate to start with the subject of High-speed Rail, not only for the great interest in the European debate, for the imminent revision of the TEN-T networks, and the publication of the Audits of the European Court of Auditors of some flagship projects (including some HS lines), but also for the relevance of the Italian business and economic case. Italy is the only European country where competition on the large-scale between railway undertakings has taken place: the incumbent “Trenitalia” and the private undertaking “NTV” do compete on the entire national network, not on single origin-destination relationships. Moreover, in recent years, a reviewhas started on how to take the development forward. Should it only be for passengers or also for freight? How can the cost of investment be justified? Should maximum design speeds be limited to reduce the costs?


ENNIO CASCETTA Professor, University of Naples “Federico II”

presents an analysis of the impacts of the first ten years of HSR in Italy, showing an extraordinary increase in passengers on HSR thanks to increased level of service (both frequency and on-board service) and reduced fares (Thanks to competition between the two HSR operators). Some interesting correlations between HSR opening and regional economic growth are also presented, as well as new ideas and guidelines for future developments.


RENATO MAZZONCINI Adj Professor, Politecnico di Milano

Starting from a short presentation on the acquisition of the Greek railways company TRAINOSE, carried out when he was CEO of the Italian National Railways holding company (“Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane”), he reflects on the liberalization of the European Rail Market (expected to start on December 2020): would actual competition in Europe be possible? on which OD relations? and at which conditions?


PAUL AMOS, Transport Strategy and Management Consultant, Germany

offers an overview of a wide range of HSR experiences, based on his experience as the Transport Adviser (and later consultant) to the World Bank. He proposes a public policy framework for assessing the merits of HSR, based on four key issues: 1) the strategic fit with wider transport policy goals; 2) the Cost-Benefit win for the society as a whole; 3) the affordability of the investment for a Country; 4) the capacity to deliver the project to a success.


HERMANN MAIER, Transport Consultant, Jacobs, UK

Presents the British “High-speed 2” project, through the UK Transport Appraisal ‘five cases’ model, including: Strategic Case; Economic Case; Commercial Case; Financial Case; Management Case. In 2019, the UK government has commissioned a formal review of the project (which has since recommended that the project should go ahead despite significant increases in costs) but a very recent (Jan 2020) dissenting report by a member of the review panel estimates a benefits-to-costs ratio of less than one, making it “poor value for money”. Options under consideration are: going ahead with the entire project planned; going ahead with just the first phase; scaling down the project.


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