HS2 procurement chiefs are gearing up for a pivotal 12-months of contract awards and project starts in 2024.
Around £5bn-worth of contracts will be let to oversee building of the tracks, power, signalling, overhead lines and the railway’s landmark network control centre.
Major milestones coming up early this year include the start of work on Birmingham’s new Curzon Street station and breakthrough of the first TBM being used to bore the Chilterns tunnel – the longest on the route at 10 miles.
Eleven contracts are already out to tender and are expected to be awarded in 2024, unlocking more opportunities for the UK’s construction, engineering and rail sector.
Three contracts will be for the design, logistics and installation of the track system – as well as a maintenance depot at Calvert in Buckinghamshire – that will carry HS2 services at speeds of up to 225mph.
Another will cover the high-tech signalling system that feeds information directly into the cab – as an alternative to lineside signals – allowing for faster and more frequent services to maximise space on the line.
A further contract will be awarded for the high-voltage power system used by the line, delivering zero-carbon electricity from the National Grid.
Another winning bidder will be selected to construct HS2’s £275m ‘nerve centre’ at Washwood Heath, Birmingham.
Vinci/Keltbray is up against and VolkerFitzpatrick/VolkerRail for the single-stage design and build contract for the 30-hectare site housing the project’s rolling stock maintenance depot and network control centre.
Physical construction of many parts of HS2’s rail system along the route is expected to begin from 2026/7 when main civil engineering work reaches its conclusion.