Over 40bn GBP will be invested in the UK's transport network over the next two years, with a focus on delivering the first phase of HS2.
The two tunnel boring machines (TBMs) digging HS2’s longest tunnels has passed Amersham shaft on their 10 mile drive under the Chilterns.
HS2 has proposed changes to the construction design of its Manchester route following work with the UK Environment Agency.
New plans have been put forward to improve access to the proposed HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail station at Manchester Airport.
The High Speed Rail Group and HS2 Ltd have both hit back at a report created by the Cheshire Wildlife Trust about HS2's environmental impact.
Birmingham City Council has granted planning permission approval for HS2's Washwood Heath Depot, north-east of Birmingham city centre.
HS2's tunnel boring machines, Florence and Cecilia have passed the halfway point on their 10-mile journey excavating the Chiltern tunnels.
HS2 Ltd’s contractor, Align JV has installed the last of 292 concrete piles, forming the foundations for the UK’s longest railway bridge.
Network Rail has upgraded Banbury train depot to keep trains moving on the Chiltern main line during HS2 construction.
The first five-metre-tall V-shaped pier for the Curzon No. 3 Viaduct into HS2's Curzon Street Station in Birmingham has been installed.
A bridge that will carry direct rail services between Oxford and Cambridge has been positioned over the HS2 route near Calvert, Bucks.
HS2 has revealed designs for the Curzon 2 bridge: a 150-metre section of viaduct on the approach to Birmingham’s new Curzon Street Station.
Huw Merriman MP, Minister of State at the Department for Transport, will give a keynote address at this year’s Rail Industry Forum.
HS2’s tunnel boring machine (TBM) Dorothy has begun its second one-mile tunnel bore under Long Itchington Wood in Warwickshire.
HS2 's Euston site construction team Mace Dragados Joint Venture is trialling a hydrogen fuel cell to power a fully electric JCB telehandler.
A second 140 metre long, 2,050 tonnes tunnel boring machine (TBM) has begun its journey across London for HS2.
The West Midlands Rail Executive (WMRE) has revised its strategy on how to grow and develop the region’s rail network over the next 30 years.
HS2’s workforce has almost hit the 30,000 mark. This is down to the recruitment of 2,300 new employees in the last three months.
HS2’s main works contractor, EKFB, has started working on two of the project’s longest cuttings in Buckingham and Oxfordshire.
HS2 has launched the first of six tunnel boring machines (TBMs) that will dig more than 26 miles of tunnels under London.
HS2 Ltd has opened applications for tech start-ups and SMEs to join the fifth group of its Innovation Accelerator programme.
HS2 has commenced work on the thirty-eight cross passages that will link the northbound and southbound Chiltern tunnels.
Dorothy, HS2’s 2000-tonne tunnel boring machine, has made its first breakthrough on the UK's high-speed rail line from London to Birmingham.
HS2 Ltd has contracted Laing O’Rourke to build the HS2 Interchange Station in Solihull at the heart of the high-speed rail network.
The first design images have been revealed for HS2’s maintenance and control centre at the Washwood Heath Depot in Birmingham.
Transport companies have to have resilient cybersecurity systems in place so they can protect their assets and detect and respond to incidents.
Birmingham City Council has granted planning permission to HS2 Ltd to construct two viaducts in Birmingham.
HS2 has begun construction of the first of five ‘green tunnels’ that have been designed to blend into the landscape.
Balfour Beatty VINCI Joint Venture is trialling an electric, high-capacity drilling rig for construction in Warwickshire.
HS2 has announced that OpenSpace Group Ltd is using artificial intelligence (AI) and LiDAR sensors to develop future train stations.
Construction of the Colne Valley Viaduct has now started, overseen by HS2’s main works contractor Align JV.
HS2 has reached an agreement to purchase Square One on Travis Street, Manchester from property provider Bruntwood.
Jonn Elledge looks at the story behind Andy Burnham's pointed comments about the exorbitant costs of rail fares in Britain.
HS2 has unveiled updated environmentally-friendly designs for the Cubbington, Warwickshire section of the new high speed line.
HS2 has unveiled the final designs for the Thame Valley Viaduct, which will cross the River Thame’s flood plain near Aylesbury.
HS2 has unveiled designs for Chiltern Tunnel’s north portal, which focus on cutting noise from trains as they enter and exit the tunnel.
A new report highlights the role of HS2 and high speed rail in general in reducing emissions and ultimately achieving net zero.
The two tunnel boring machines digging the HS2 twin tunnels under the Chilterns have reached the ventilation shaft at Chalfont St Peter.
HS2 has shared updated designs for its high speed railway terminus station at London Euston, which will be set across three levels.
The Mace and Dragados joint venture (MD JV) – HS2’s construction partner for Euston station – is ramping up procurement this month.
A new piling technology, known as hollow impressed precast energy reusable pile (HIPER), is being trialled at HS2’s Euston station site.
HS2 has signed the Rail Supply Group’s Work Pipeline Visibility Charter and will share its rail systems' technical specifications publicly.
The ‘High Speed Rail (Crewe-Manchester) Bill’ – HS2 Phase 2b Western Leg – will be introduced in parliament today (24 January 2022).
HS2 has chosen TK Elevator to manufacture and install approximately 160 lifts and 130 escalators at its four main stations.
HS2 archaeologists have excavated a vast roman settlement in Northamptonshire - one of over 100 sites HS2 has examined since 2018.
HS2 has published its Net Zero Carbon Plan, which sets out how it plans to make the project net zero carbon from 2035.
HS2 has revealed the first images of its 1.5 mile-long Greatworth tunnel - one of three ‘green tunnels’ to be built in Bucks and Notts.
Balfour Beatty VINCI (BBV) has launched a recruitment drive to support HS2 construction works planned for 2022 and beyond.
Jonn Elledge gets into the Christmas spirit and does some finger-pointing as to who is really to blame for the state of Britain's railways.
The first of 56 giant concrete piers for the Colne Valley Viaduct has been cast. Once complete, this will be the UK's longest rail bridge.
The contract to design, build and maintain the HS2 rolling stock fleet for Phase 1 London-Birmingham has gone to the Hitachi Rail-Alstom JV.
The first tunnel boring machine working on HS2 in the Midlands launched on 2 December, excavating a one-mile tunnel in Warwickshire.
As part of Alstom's acquisition of Bombardier Transportation, the companies agreed to divest a number of assets, including the V300 ZEFIRO.
Stanton Precast has been awarded the contract to deliver three 'green tunnels' for HS2 by the main works contractor EKFB.
Work on HS2’s Old Oak Common 850-metre-long station box has begun. The reinforced concrete structure will form the station's frame and base.
The Integrated Rail Plan published today, 18 November 2021, announces a huge slash in new railway lines being built in England.
HS2 has published a shortlist of bidders for the Phase 2a Design and Delivery Partner contract. The winner will be announced next summer.
In this month's column, Jonn Elledge muses on the future of HS2's eastern leg and the political tug of war taking place behind the scenes.
HS2 tunnel boring machine ‘Florence’ has passed the one mile mark, cutting through a mix of chalk and flint beneath the Chiltern hills.
HS2 has invited six bidders to tender for a major two-part enabling works contract for its recently approved Phase 2a section.
One year on from the start of phase one's construction, HS2 has announced that 20,000 people are now working on the high-speed rail project.
HS2 has confirmed the shortlist of bidders to build its control centre and rolling stock maintenance depot.
HS2 Ltd has published revised images of the Adelaide Road headhouse in Camden, after changes were made to the design.
Images of HS2’s Chesham Road rural headhouse, which will provide emergency access to the 10-mile-long Chiltern tunnel, has been unveiled.
The companies shortlisted to build HS2's Interchange Station in Solihull have been named by HS2 Ltd. The contract is to be awarded in 2022.
Leaders from across Yorkshire and the North East of England have contributed to a report demonstrating the importance of HS2's Eastern Leg.
SCS JV has signed the first of two contracts for the production of tunnel segments that will be used to construct HS2’s London tunnels.
In a UK first, on-site 3D reinforced concrete printing will be deployed by HS2's London tunnels contractor SCS JV.
Excavation of the vent shaft at Chalfont St Peter has begun in Buckinghamshire. It is the first of five on the HS2 Chiltern tunnels section.
HS2 designers are set to more than halve the amount of embedded carbon used in one of the high-speed rail project’s viaducts.
HS2 has begun its search for a team of specialist ground investigation contractors for the western leg of Phase 2b from Crewe to Manchester.
HS2 has launched Cecilia, the second of two 2,000t tunnelling machines that will excavate ten-mile-long tunnels beneath the Chiltern Hills.
Permanent works on HS2's Old Oak Common station have got under way today with phase 1 seeing the construction of a 750,000m3 underground box.
HS2 has obtained approval for a scheme that will use excavated material to create new chalk grassland, woodland, wood pasture and wetland.
HS2 begins search for a construction partner to build Interchange Station. This will be at the centre of the new high speed rail network.
HS2 Ltd has revealed a new vacuum excavation technique for piling which could have massive benefits for the wider construction industry.
HS2 has deployed the first of 10 tunnel boring machines (TBMs) that will be used during phase one of the UK’s new high speed railway.
HS2 has confirmed that a team made up of Mace and Dragados will build Birmingham’s new city centre high speed railway station.
HS2 has presented its design of the Oxford Canal Viaduct that will measure 62.5m and span the canal and towpath between Banbury and Daventry.
HS2 Ltd has published its shortlist of companies it has asked to tender for the high-speed railway's high-voltage power supply systems.
HS2 has cast the first of 112,000 wall segments for the high-speed railway's 10-mile Chiltern tunnel outside of London.
Work has begun on what will be the UK's longest rail viaduct – the Colne Valley Viaduct to the northwest of London, measuring 3.4km.
HS2 will use retired wind turbine blades originally destined for the incinerator to make reinforced concrete that is carbon-friendly.
HS2 Ltd has started its search for a specialist contractor to deliver the high-speed railway's engineering management system (EMS).
Following the formal handover of the Heathrow Express depot to Network Rail, NR will begin its decommissioning work in preparation for HS2.
Collins Earthworks has completed the preparation of the HS2 site in Warwickshire in readiness for tunnelling to start this summer.
HS2 Ltd has started its search for a contractor to build the rolling stock depot and control centre at Washwood Heath in Birmingham.
HS2 Ltd has revealed the design of the Euston tunnel headhouse that will sit alongside the West Coast Main Line in London.
HS2 Phase 2a, connecting the high-speed line from London to Crewe via Birmingham, has received royal assent in parliament.
HS2 has revealed its final design for the headhouse and vent shaft at Chalfont St Giles which will provide ventilation to the Chiltern tunnel.
Comments in the Commissioner's report stating the government is exploring cutting down platform numbers at HS2 Euston have sparked concern.
The first of five headhouses that will provide ventilation and emergency access to the HS2 Chiltern tunnel has gained planning approval.
The designs for the HS2 viaducts at Water Orton in Warwickshire have been unveiled following a public consultation in spring 2020.
HS2 has started its search for a switches and crossings supplier for Phase 1 and Phase 2a of the high-speed line between London and Crewe.
The National Infrastructure Commission has published its Rail Needs Assessment report, causing widespread dismay over possible cuts to HS2.
HS2 Ltd has revealed the first images of the north portal for the Long Itchington Wood tunnel site southeast of Birmingham.
HS2 and the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) will work together on utility diversions in readiness of the metro eastside extension.
Network Rail has announced major works at Euston for the construction of the HS2 terminus and on the West Coast Main Line in 2021.
Midlands Voices report by the High Speed Rail Group says the eastern leg of HS2 up to Leeds is crucial for levelling up the country.
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by Josephine Cordero Sapién
22 May 2020
In 2017 HS2 Phase One was granted Royal Assent, 14 years after Britain got its first high-speed line.
And just last month the project was allowed to issue the formal approval to construction companies to start work. This Notice to Proceed has now come during a global crisis. We asked HS2 Ltd how they were faring during the coronavirus pandemic and how the project would help the UK’s economic recovery.
Railway-News: First of all, congratulations on receiving the Notice to Proceed after HS2 got its approval in February. Since the coronavirus pandemic really stated impacting life in the UK in March, can you give us an overview of how the circumstances have affected HS2 so far?
HS2 Ltd: Thank you. Notice to Proceed was a major moment for us. HS2 Ltd awarding the contracts to our four Main Works Civils Contractors is the next significant step of Phase One of the project. An estimated 400,000 supply chain contract opportunities for UK businesses will be created during Phase One of HS2, supporting thousands of jobs on site and many more around the country. Our contractors are continuously reviewing their ability to work within Public Health England’s (PHE) and the Construction Leadership Council’s guidelines to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of our workforce and the communities in which we are working. As a result, some of our sites have paused construction works, although they may remobilise if our contractors are confident they can operate in line with PHE and industry guidance. Those sites still working are doing so because they are confident of operating within PHE guidelines, and will be monitored and remain under constant review.
RN: What’s proving particularly challenging? Are there any unexpected advantages?
HS2: HS2 is committed to reusing as much of the excavated material it produces as possible. As part of this policy we’re studying the presence of sulphates in Mercia Mudstone on a route section near Birmingham to understand whether it is more suitable for embankment building than previously understood. A favourable conclusion to our investigation could result in us reusing around 10% more excavated material on site to build embankments than previously planned; this would reduce road traffic, carbon emissions and disruption to neighbouring communities.
RN: This is a difficult time for almost everyone, in many respects but also economically. Suppliers to HS2 must be glad of the security of that work. Are you hearing from them about their problems with keeping their work going?
HS2: We are working closely with our construction partners to review activity on our construction sites in line with Government and Public Health England advice on dealing with COVID-19. The Government’s current Covid-19 strategy makes clear that construction work can continue providing it complies with this guidance.
In response to the Covid-19 outbreak HS2 has challenged our suppliers to develop innovative practices to monitor and operate in the construction environment to ensure we provide our teams with the right protection and monitoring equipment.
The challenge has received a very positive response from our suppliers with 19 innovations delivered, including: social distancing technology that people can wear; and health screening and contact tracing in the workplace. In addition to the 19 there are another 20 in the testing stage.
RN: What impact do you think HS2 will have on the economic recovery of the country?
HS2: The HS2 railway is a significant investment both in the near and longer-term economic health of the UK. As we recover from the effects of the pandemic, HS2 will help to drive investment right across our country. For example, cities including Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester are already benefitting several years before the railway opens. Over 3 million people work in the construction sector, most of whom are outside London and the South East. Every pound spent in the sector generates 2.84 GBP in economic activity. HS2 is already supporting around 9,000 jobs. During its 20-year construction it will create over 30,000 engineering and construction jobs – including 2,000 apprentices – directly on its sites and many more thousands in the supply chain around the country. Investment in HS2 is an investment in the UK’s SMEs – the country’s engine room. Over 2,000 companies have already delivered work on HS2. 95% of HS2 contracts have gone to UK-based businesses – 60% of those are SMEs. HS2 remains integral to the plans for Northern Powerhouse Rail and Midlands Engine Rail. As Britain’s economy recovers from the effects of COVID-19, it is vital that people of all ages and abilities will be able to access the jobs, education and training opportunities that will rebalance the UK economy and spread economic wealth.
HS2: Are there any changes to the way you work that you’ve implemented that you’d like to keep after things return to normal?
We are of course always looking for ways to improve the way we work, but it is too early to tell how the current situation could influence the future working practices of either HS2 or our suppliers.
RN: Looking towards the future, what are some of the next key milestones for the project?
HS2: At the moment our contractors continue with site preparation along the route between London and the West Midlands ready for major construction to start between the autumn of 2020 and spring 2021. The designs for some of the railway’s major structures, including its four stations are being examined by local authorities in whose areas they are to be built. Our designs for one of them, Curzon Street station in Birmingham, have been approved by the city’s authority. Over the next year or so we expect to receive verdicts on designs for the railway in other local authority areas.
RN: All the big rolling stock manufacturers put in bids for producing the HS2 trains last June. Will you still be selecting the successful candidate this year?
HS2: Our plan is to award the contractor build up to 60 high speed trains at the end of 2020.