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High Speed 2 project, United Kingdom [free access]

November 1, 2020

Developer/Operator: High Speed Two (HS2) Limited (HS2 Ltd) is an executive non-departmental public body set up to develop and promote HS2. It is a company limited by guarantee and wholly owned by the Secretary of State of the Department of Transport (DfT).


Project description: Development of a high speed rail (HSR) line from London via Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds.


Background: The HS2 network is planned to be delivered in two phases.


Phase 1: This phase will span 220 km and connect London Euston, Old Oak Common in West London, Birmingham International Airport and Birmingham Curzon Street.


A consortium of CH2M HILL, Atkins and Sener was appointed as the engineering delivery partner for Phase 1.


In July 2017, HS2 Ltd awarded civil work contracts worth GBP6.6 billion for three sections of Phase 1 -



In September 2017, HS2 Ltd awarded a GBP3 million licence to Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Français (SNCF) to deploy its high speed overhead catenary system (OCS). The contract was a part of the railway systems package, which included signalling, communications, power and track.


In November 2017, HS2 Ltd shortlisted five bidders for the GBP2.75 billion contract to design, build and maintain at least 54 trains for the network. The shortlisted companies were Alstom Transport, Bombardier Transportation UK Limited, Hitachi Rail Europe, Patentes Talgo S.L.U., and Siemens PLC. Under the contract, the train sets have to operate at a speed of up to 360 km/hr.


In February 2018, HS2 Ltd shortlisted architects, designers and engineers to prepare detailed plans to transform the Euston station and to deliver new stations in Birmingham, Solihull, and Old Oak Common in London by 2026. The shortlisted contractors are WSP UK Limited (working with Grimshaw Architects LLP) for the Birmingham Curzon Street station; Ove Arup & Partners International Limited (working with Arup Associates and Wilkinson Eyre Architects Limited) for the Birmingham Interchange station; WSP UK Limited (working with Wilkinson Eyre Architects Limited) for the Old Oak Common station; and Ove Arup & Partners International Limited (working with Grimshaw Architects LLP) for the London Euston station.


In addition, HS2 Ltd shortlisted bidders for the construction of the London Euston station and the Old Oak Common station. The shortlisted bidders for the London Euston station are the joint venture (JV) of Costain Limited and Skanska Construction UK Limited; the JV of Mace Limited and Dragados S.A.; Bechtel Limited; the JV of BAM Nuttall Ltd and Ferrovial Agroman UK Limited; as well as the JV of Canary Wharf Contractors Limited, MTR Corporation (UK) Limited, and Laing O’Rourke Construction Limited.


The shortlisted bidders for the Old Oak Common station are the JV of Balfour Beatty Group Limited, VINCI Construction UK Limited, VINCI Construction Grands Projets SAS, and Systra Limited; the JV of Mace Limited and Dragados S.A.; Bechtel Limited; as well as the JV of BAM Nuttall Limited and Ferrovial Agroman (UK) Limited.


There are no further updates on contract awards for rolling stock and for the development of stations.


In August 2019, the central government launched a review of the HSR network. Finally, in February 2020, the HS2 project was permitted to continue construction by the Government of the UK.


In March 2020, construction started at the Birmingham interchange station. In April 2020, the Department for Transport (DfT) issued a notice to proceed with detailed design and construction of Phase 1 to the JV contractors for the project. In May 2020, Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) approved HS2’s planning application for the Old Oak Common station in West London. The revised design for the station was developed by a team led by WSP and architect firm WilkinsonEyre.


In September 2020, construction commenced on Phase 1 and is expected to be completed between 2028 and 2031.


Phase 2: This section forms a ‘Y’ shape from the West Midlands up towards Manchester and the North-West with a proposed station at Manchester Airport; and up towards Leeds and the North-East with proposed stations in Toton (East Midlands) and Sheffield (South Yorkshire). The locations of the intermediate stations are proposed at:


Phase 2a: Western leg (to Manchester Piccadilly) – Manchester Airport and Crewe


Phase 2b: Eastern leg (to Leeds) – East Midlands and Sheffield Meadowhall


UK-based companies Ove Arup & Partners International, Mouchel, and WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff were appointed as the consulting engineers for Phase 2A in December 2015.


Bechtel Limited, CH2M Hill United Kingdom, and a JV of Mace Limited and Turner & Townsend Project Management were selected to bid for the development of Phase 2 in August 2016.


In the same month, the JV of AECOM Limited, Capita Property and Infrastructure Limited, and Ingenieria y Economia del Transporte SA (INECO); the JV of Atkins Limited and Arcadis Consulting (UK) Limited; the JV of Mott MacDonald Limited and WSP (UK) Limited; and the JV of Ove Arup and Partners International Limited, were shortlisted for the civil design and environmental services for Phase 2.


HS2 Ltd also awarded a GBP170 million contract to Bechtel to deliver HS2 Phase 2b in April 2017.


In February 2018, HS2 Ltd launched the GBP1.55 billion track and overhead catenary system (OCS) package as well as the GBP330 million contract for tunnel and line side mechanical and electrical (M&E) and tunnel ventilation works. The work was for Phase 1 and Phase 2a.


In June 2019, the government launched a design refinement consultation on 11 proposed changes to the design of the HS2 Phase 2b route. These proposed changes are based on design development, environmental assessment, and consideration of feedback received during recent consultations. The proposed changes will affect only a part of the Phase 2b route.


The construction of HS2 Phase 2a is expected to be completed by 2027. The construction of Phase 2b is expected to be completed between 2035 and 2040.


Track: In May 2020, HS2 Ltd commenced the procurement process to select contractors for the delivery of 280 km of high-speed track. The scope of the contracts includes the designing and building of the track systems between London, Birmingham, and Crewe. The contractors will be responsible for the design, installation, and testing of switches and crossings, managing the construction logistics and coordination, and supporting the testing and commissioning phase. The winners of the tender will also serve as the construction design and management (CDM) principal contractor for the track and will be responsible for logistics and consents coordination.


The contract will be awarded in four lots. These are Lot 1 for Phase One (Urban – London and Birmingham), valued at GBP434 million; Lot 2 for Phase One (Open Route – Central), valued at GBP526 million; Lot 3 for Phase One (Open Route – North), valued at GBP 566 million; and Lot 4 for Track – Phase 2a valued at GBP431 million. The contractors are required to use slab track for the line. The contracts for rails, switches, crossings, and pre-cast slab track systems will be awarded separately. The shortlisted contractors are expected to be announced by the end of 2020. The contracts are expected to be awarded in 2022.


In October 2020, HS2 Ltd awarded a GBP260 million contract to a consortium of Porr UK and Aggregate Industries UK to design and manufacture slab tracks (excluding tunnels and some specialist structures) for Phases 1 and 2a. The contract covers the high-speed rail track between London and Crewe. This is the first track contract to be awarded by HS2. The contractors for separate track systems will be appointed in 2022 to manage and coordinate the design and installation of the track systems for each section of the new line, including the installation of the slab track and setting up the interface with the signalling and overhead power supply.


Railway systems: In May 2020, HS2 Ltd commenced the procurement process to select contractors for the delivery of control, command, signalling (CCS) and traffic management (TM) systems for trains travelling at up to 360 km per hour between London, Birmingham, and Crewe, where HS2 trains will join the existing West Coast Main Line. The CCS & TM systems provided on HS2 trains will utilise European Train Control System (ETCS) signalling and the latest TM technology. The shortlisted bidders are expected to be announced by 2021. The contract is expected to be awarded by 2022.


The scope of the GBP540 million CCS and TM systems contract includes the design, manufacture, supply, installation, supervision, inspection, safety authorisation, testing, commissioning, and maintenance of the systems until the handover to the trial operations of the Phase 1 and Phase 2a CCS & TM systems; the potential extension of the Phase 1 / 2a TM system to cover Phase 2b; the CCS & TM works required for the Phase 2b alterations at Euston station; and the provision of technical support services for the CCS & TM systems for up to 25 years.


Power: In August 2020, HS2 Ltd launched a GBP523 million tender for a high-voltage (HV) power system for Phases 1 and 2a. The contract is expected to be awarded in 2022.


The selected bidder will design, manufacture, supply, test, commission, install, and maintain the HV power systems. The contractor will also deliver a dedicated HV non-traction power network that will provide power to stations, shafts, portals, depots, and railway systems along the HS2 line.


New technologies: In September 2020, HS2 Ltd selected the first five technology companies to join its Innovation Accelerator programme. The programme aims to develop technologies that will be integrated into the HS2 project. The companies will receive rent-free work space as well as commercial and technical support. The companies began work from September 2020. As part of the contract, after six months, their work will be pitched to investors and businesses that are a part of the supply chain of the HS2 project.


Cost: The entire project is estimated to require an investment of GBP106.6 billion.


Rolling stock: The trains will be 400 metres long and have a capacity for 1,100 seated passengers. Their operating speed will be 402.5 km/hr. There will be up to 14 trips per hour in each direction.


Recent developments:



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