High Speed 2: Taking a look at the UK's largest infrastructure project

Posted on 07 September 2022

​HSQ has been taking an in-depth look at some of the UK's largest infrastructure projects, taking a look at the contractors involved, how the project is going and where it is currently headed. In recent weeks we've taken a look at CrossrailTidewayHinkley Point C, Battersea Power Station RedevelopmentLeeds Flood Alleviation Scheme and Birmingham's Big City Plan. This week we're taking a deep-dive look into the HS2 project, a high-speed railway line currently being built in the UK.

What is HS2?

High Speed 2, known as HS2 is Britain's new high-speed rail line being built from the most southerly point in London to its the most northerly point in Manchester. HS2 is Europe's largest infrastructure project, integrating new rail lines and upgrades across Britain's rail system.

The project is being split into three phases. Phase one will focus on connectivity with London and Birmingham by 2031, phase two A will look at the branches between Manchester to Birmingham, moving onto East Midlands Parkway. Phase two B will complete the railway line to Manchester, the North and the East Midlands.

To contribute to becoming a greener planet, HS2 trains will be powered on Zero net carbon from the first day of operations in 2035, greeting users with a greener and faster alternative way to travel in comparison to harmful emissions from cars and flights.

With over 30,000 job opportunities being presented, HS2 will put together the very best of the UK workforce to deliver, design and build the innovative railway. It is the UK's most ambitious project to date as it aims to transform Britain's railway, cut carbon emissions and create more capacity for local services.

Contractors Involved in HS2 so far
Enabling works contractors are:


Main works contractors are:
Consultants are:

History of HS2

2009 - Transport Secretary announces investigation into a new high speed railway

2012 - Transport Secretary announces HS2 will go ahead.

2013 - Safeguarding for Phase One is initiated

2014 - Market Engagement for Phase one is launched

2016 - Government announce preferred route for HS2

2017 - Contract winners are announced for the construction of project

2018 - Preparation for building railway begins

2020 - Phase one main civil works begins

2022 - Tunneling begins on Northolt tunnel

2029 to 2033 - London and Birmingham leg due to open

2035 - 2040 - Second phase due to open

Where is HS2 currently?

Just over a month ago HS2 celebrated its first historic tunnelling breakthrough. The massive tunnel boring machine in Warwickshire becomes the very first tunnel on the HS2 project to become completed underground, which is a massive milestone for the project.

170 miles of the new high-speed rail line is in construction between Crewe and London, all three stages of the project are now currently in construction which will take over two decades to construct. Main civil constructions works are underway at over 300 sites situated between the West Midlands and London.

What's next?

Construction for phase one of HS2 is still underway, next for the project is contract awards for Phase 2a design and delivery partners in September, In October concept designs will be completed for HS2 trains and in December there will be invitations to tender for HS2 main works.

In 2023 we can expect Long Itchingdon tunnelling completion and contract awards for railway tracks, 2023 for HS2 will also see construction beginning on Curzon Street station and tunnelling starting on Bromford tunnel.

The Numbers
  • 25,000 job opportunities

  • More than 25 stations will be served

  • 8 of Britain's largest 10 cities will be connected

  • 225km of dedicated track in phase one

  • 30 million people connected

Last week we took a look into Birmingham's Big City Plan, click here to find out more.

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