The finalists include: Bystrup Architecture, Denmark; COBE, Denmark; and Moxon Architects and Mott MacDonald, Britain.

Bystrup's HST design is based on a central T-shaped mast supporting wires for two adjacent tracks, thereby reducing the number of masts required and reducing the visual impact of the system by eliminating lineside masts. The COBE Tomahawk mast is designed to reduce the overall height of the mast by using contemporary materials and manufacturing techniques. The Moxon/MottMacDonald Integrated OLS simplifies the components of the power line support equipment, replacing conventional insulators with built-in insulating elements such as densified laminated wood.

The finalists will receive funding to carry out detailed technical development of their designs and consider potential routes to market. "All those shortlisted have really understood the technical practicalities while coming up with eye-catching designs," says Mr Mark Howard, head of power and traction for HS2 Ltd.

Scale models of the 10 shortlisted designs are on show in a public exhibition at the National Railway Museum in York, which continues until May 12.


Bystrup's HST mast.


COBE's Tomahawk design.