Landmark first civils contract opportunity on second phase of HS2 to Crewe

  • HS2 invites contractors to bid for first major civils work north of the West Midlands
  • £50m early works package signals new progress on delivering the benefits of high speed rail further north
  • Separate ground investigation contract awarded to Balfour Beatty

Today HS2 invited companies to tender for the first major works contracts to be awarded on Phase 2a of the project and confirmed the latest ground investigation work package award.

Linking Birmingham to Crewe, Phase 2a will carry trains bound for destinations such as Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester and the north west, speeding up overall journey times and freeing up space on the existing network.

Known as ‘Early Civils Work – Package 2’ (ECW2), the new £50m programme includes a range of enabling works designed to reduce disruption during the main build stage of the project. This includes major highways works and associated utility diversions as well as a range of environmental and other surveys along the 58km route.

The works will be the first major preparatory activity to be carried out for Britain’s new high speed rail line beyond its first phase, which is now being built between the West Midlands and London.

HS2 has already begun a detailed programme of ground investigation along the 2a route and today also confirmed that the latest package – worth £25-30m – has been awarded to Balfour Beatty. Data from this, and previous geological investigations, will inform ongoing design development.

Once complete, HS2’s Phase One and 2a will significantly reduce journey times between the capital, north west England and Scotland with services joining the existing west coast mainline at Crewe. This will allow shortened high speed train journeys, including:

  • Glasgow – Euston will be 3hr 45min, saving 44mins
  • Liverpool – Euston will be 1hr 34min, saving 39mins
  • Manchester – Euston will be 1hr 29min, saving 36mins
  • Crewe – Euston will be 53min, saving 34mins

Alongside speeding up journey times, the new infrastructure will also free up capacity on the existing network for more local trains and freight by rail. This could see services rise from hourly to half-hourly or better between Crewe and Stoke-on-Trent to Nuneaton, Tamworth, Lichfield and Rugeley, as well as more services from Crewe and Runcorn into Liverpool, as well as via Crewe between North Wales, Chester and London.

The ECW2 package will awarded via the government’s existing Construction Works and Associated Services framework, streamlining the procurement process, benefitting HS2 and potential bidders with contracts expected to be awarded in early 2021.

HS2 Ltd’s Procurement and Commercial Director, David Poole said:

“The winner of this contract will play a vital role in delivering the next stage of Britain’s new high speed railway, taking the route north from Birmingham to Crewe and by using the government’s existing framework we hope to streamline the procurement process.”

“HS2’s Phase 2a represents a massive opportunity for businesses in the north of England and across the UK in the short term, and in the longer term it will speed up journeys for trains bound for places like Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester and the North West, and release much-needed extra capacity on the existing mainline.” Draft legislation to seeking powers to build operate and maintain HS2 phase 2a are currently proceeding through Parliament. Royal Assent is anticipated during the winter.


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