HS2 gets the green light

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the go-ahead for the High Speed Rail project this week, despite acknowledging the increases in cost and delays in delivery time. The project has been controversial, with one review suggesting project costs could double to £106bn. However, HS2 also presents a huge opportunity for the construction industry and UK business, especially for new and existing suppliers in this market.

What is the HS2 project?

HS2 is designed to link London, Manchester and Leeds with a dedicated 345-mile railway line, with trains reaching a maximum speed of 235mph (360km/h), which is 100mph faster than trains currently operating on the East and West Coast mainlines.

The first phase involves building a line from London Euston via Birmingham Interchange (which is situated close to Birmingham International airport), with an extension northwest to Crewe to open Liverpool and Glasgow to high-speed rail opportunities.

The second phase introduces a Y-shaped railway line, with one branch going to Manchester (via Manchester airport) and the other travelling on to Leeds. This latter branch will also serve York and Newcastle, while simultaneously allowing easier travel from the North of England and Scotland southbound.

The objective of the project is to take the strain off existing railway services from the North of England, the East Midlands and the outskirts of London. The existing West Coast train line is the busiest route in Europe, and there is little that can be done to expand the line or improve services. HS2 will therefore relieve pressure on this service and others, as well as drastically cutting journey times for commuting passengers.

When will it be ready?

Phase one was due to open in 2026. However, current projections are that a token service of three trains an hour into Birmingham will start sometime between 2029 and 2033, with higher-volume train services running from Euston between 2031 and 2036. The complete HS2 network is unlikely to be ready until 2040.

How much will it cost?

Currently, around £9bn has been spent on preparation work. The estimated cost is between £65bn and £88bn; however, this top figure could likely be higher still when the project is finally finished.

HS2 and building construction tenders

Since 2017, the UK Government has awarded £6.6bn in contracts to build the first phase of the HS2 railway line, supporting over 16,000 jobs. HS2 will increasingly become a catalyst for growth across Britain, opening up local and regional markets, attracting investment and improving skills and opportunities.

For new and existing suppliers across the construction and infrastructure market, this is positive news. If your organisation is looking to win business by working on the HS2 project, Tracker provides a platform where HS2 construction tenders are published and all relevant information regarding the tender is accessed.

Tracker’s Commercial Projects tool covers a wide range of construction tenders across the UK. Instead of searching through masses of information on databases, Tracker can notify your organisation directly when a construction tender related to HS2 is published, saving time and resource in searching for the right opportunity. Start being productive with your procurement now.

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