SYSTRA is a pioneer of high speed rail. We have been at the forefront of high speed rail engineering for more than 40 years – planning, designing, overseeing and testing almost half of the world’s high-speed rail lines.

Making long-distance travel faster, safer and more sustainable

High speed rail is the reliable, efficient and sustainable alternative to air travel – shortening distances between cities, reducing journey times and opening up new economic opportunities. With high speed rail, distances are measured in minutes, not miles. High speed rail emits little CO2, relieves congestion on roads and establishes sustainable, long-term infrastructure fit for the future.

But there are challenges in delivering high speed rail. Schemes are complex and often impact large numbers of people and places. Transport developers need to work with the market to design and build high speed schemes that minimise those impacts and overcome the technical challenges of integrating systems, track and trains.

Our world-leading experience in high speed rail enables us to support all aspects of high speed rail design and construction, with expertise in all current technical solutions, infrastructure and systems.

High speed rail feasibility, planning, design and delivery

The work delivered by SYSTRA in developing and engineering high speed rail networks has been widely influential, helping to define the European standards governing high speed rail.

SYSTRA can support projects from the earliest phases – including appraisals, engineering feasibility studies, traffic forecasting, socio-economic and environmental assessments. We collaborate with clients from early modelling through to the determination of high speed routes. Our specialists can prepare robust patronage forecasts and produce successful business cases for new routes, line extensions and stations. We support clients throughout the execution and completion of projects, overseeing construction phases, testing and commissioning

Improving high speed rail costs and efficiency

SYSTRA is committed to developing the future of high speed rail to make it more affordable and faster to build, with infrastructure that is resilient and easier to maintain. We are continually developing new concepts for high speed rail, such as short-span bridges adapted for trains speeds of up to 350-400 km/hour. Other innovations include standardising and prefabricating some elements, which helps to reduce the quantity of materials consumed, accelerate the scheduling of works and reduce construction costs.

Balfour Beatty VINCI SYSTRA joint venture awarded HS2 construction management contract for c. £1 billion Old Oak Common station

Digital innovation in high speed rail

We embrace data and digital technologies to help reduce project completion times and support real-time operational data monitoring. Through Building Information Modelling (BIM), we help to accelerate the design phase and develop more accurate cost forecasts and development plans. Using BIM also enables us to react quickly to changes resulting from consultations with residents and other stakeholders. It makes high speed rail design and development more adaptable and responsive to the needs of those impacted by the new infrastructure.

Support for lifetime operation and maintenance

Our understanding and experience of high speed operation means that we factor in maintenance and operations from the start of design. We use digital predictive maintenance solutions to help clients define and plan their maintenance strategies. We can support more efficient maintenance by installing temperature, pressure and voltage sensors to collect data that is analysed in real time. This enables maintenance teams to continuously improve the safety of the infrastructure and minimise disruption to travellers, by targeting maintenance interventions precisely where they are needed.

HS1 and HS2 design and build

SYSTRA played a major role in HS1 in the UK, including leading the design and construction of engineering structures, track and catenary, signalling, control-command and power supply, and supervising the construction phase. We are now applying this expertise to the design and construction of HS2 – the UK’s flagship levelling up project connecting London to North West England.

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