HS2 has launched its search for specialist contractors to deliver the project’s 280km high-speed railway track.
Following the official notice to proceed, these new contract opportunities for the country’s construction and engineering sectors include the design and build of the complex track systems between London, Birmingham and Crewe – i.e. HS2 Phases 1 and 2a – where the line will connect up to the existing West Coast Main Line. The successful contractors will also play a key part in managing and co-ordinating the complex interfaces between the track and the other elements of the rail systems.
There will be separate contracts for the rail, switches and crossings, and pre-cast slab track systems. The contractor supplying the track system will co-ordinate the design and installation as well.
The contractors selected under this procurement effort will come on site after the tunnels, bridges, viaducts and earthworks are complete.
“Rail systems are some of the most important parts of the HS2 project – the high tech equipment and systems that will allow our trains to deliver an unparalleled service in terms of speed, frequency and reliability.
“The launch of this new procurement contest is an important milestone for the project, and a significant opportunity for the industry and the wider supply chain. At the peak of construction, HS2 will support around 30,000 jobs and contracts like this will provide a real boost for employers across the supply chain, helping to boost skills and provide opportunities for years to come.”
Later in 2020 HS2 will put out six further rail systems contracts. These will cover signalling, the overhead line equipment, mechanical and electrical systems, high-voltage power supplies, communications systems, and the depot and control centre, which will be located at Washwood Heath in Birmingham.
The track for HS2 will be set on to concrete slabs rather than ballast. This slab track is common in metro systems as well as a number of high-speed rail lines in other countries. It will enable a higher frequency of services as well as less maintenance.
The winning contractors will have responsibility over the design, installation and testing of switches and crossings, over managing construction logistics and co-ordination, and over supporting the testing and commissioning phase. They will act as construction design and management (CDM) principal contractor.
HS2 will announce the shortlists for these track systems packages towards the end of 2020. The contracts will then be awarded in 2022.
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