HS1 Ltd has the 30-year concession to own, operate and maintain High Speed 1 (HS1), the UK’s only high-speed railway, as well as the stations along the route: St Pancras International, Stratford International, Ebbsfleet International and Ashford International.
HS1 is the 109km rail line between St Pancras International in London and the Channel Tunnel and connects the international high-speed routes between London and Paris, London and Brussels and London and Amsterdam, as well as the domestic route from London to Kent.
In July 2017, HS1 Ltd was acquired by a consortium comprising of funds advised and managed by InfraRed Capital Partners Limited and Equitix Investment Management Limited.
Network Rail (High Speed) is our contractor for maintaining and operating the railway infrastructure and three of our stations, St Pancras International, Stratford International and Ebbsfleet International.
HS1 Ltd's railway infrastructure has physical connections with Eurotunnel, the DBS freight depot at Dollands Moor and the Network Rail classic railway at Ashford, Ebbsfleet, Ripple Lane and domestic lines north of London.
WHAT WE DO
HS1 has been operating, in part, from 2003 and along its entire route length since 2007. It is the first high-speed railway in UK that allows for maximum speeds of up to 300kph for international services and 230kph for domestic services and, as a result, has reduced journey times for international and domestic train travellers alike.
The use of the high-speed route by both international and domestic traffic, has created technical boundaries, interfaces and interdependencies. This is achieved through contractual relationships with a large number of stakeholders, including regulators, customers, operators, suppliers and other entities.
The train companies currently operating on HS1 are Eurostar, who operate the international train services to Europe and London South Eastern Railway (LSER), who operate domestic services to Kent. Freight operator, East Midlands Railway and Thameslink are also serviced by HS1.
Our strategy is based on protecting what we have, enhancing how we do things and growing our business.
INTERNATIONAL RAIL SERVICES
International rail services are currently operated by Eurostar, travelling direct to Paris, Brussels, Lille, Amsterdam and Marne Le Valle (for Disneyland Paris).
With the high-speed line passengers are able to reach Paris in just over two hours, Brussels in under two hours and Amsterdam in under four hours.
We are working with our infrastructure managers, SNCF Réseau, Eurotunnel and LISEA to process a direct high-speed route from London to Bordeaux in under five hours. We expect up to 200,000 passengers to use this service each year.
City-centre to city-centre train travel is far more environmentally friendly than using an airline, as a journey by high-speed train produces 90 per cent less pollution that catching an aeroplane. Following the liberalisation of the International rail market in 2010, it is now possible for competing rail operators to provide international services.
HS1 Ltd welcome discussions with other operators interested in running such services.
DOMESTIC RAIL SERVICES
Domestic services on the high-speed line began in December 2009, operated under a UK franchise agreement by Southeastern railway.
Since the service began, commuters from Kent using the service have been able to benefit from significant time savings. For example, commuting from Ashford to central London previously took 84 minutes and now takes just 37 minutes on the high-speed service.
The domestic services stop at all the stations on the high-speed line with Stratford just 7 minutes from St Pancras International, Ebbsfleet 17 minutes away and Ashford International station just 37 minutes away.
HS1 provides significant benefits to the region of Kent. HS1’s total economic contribution to Kent’s visitor economy since domestic services began is estimated at over £311 million. The high-speed line is also expected to provide at least £10bn of regeneration benefits over the next 50 years.
FREIGHT RAIL SERVICES
HS1 Ltd is in a state of readiness for freight operating companies to operate high-speed services on the network. We are working with industry participants and freight operating companies to develop freight services which make use of the high-speed network and to provide a framework for sustainable freight services. Being a high-speed railway network, which provides high economic value to its customers, there are significant benefits to be seen by freight operating companies, in particular those who deliver time critical commodities to its customers. As such, the high-speed rail network provides a dynamic transport infrastructure which leads to substantial commercial benefits for organisations.