HS2 full construction to herald huge UK jobs boost

Formal construction of HS2 has begun, with HS2 Ltd highlighting the need to recruit 22,000 jobs in the coming months and years.

Today’s announcement means the four Main Works Civils Contractors working on Phase 1 of the new railway can start full detailed design and construction of the route from London Euston-West Midlands.

“As the spine of our country’s transport network, the project will be vital in boosting connectivity between our towns and cities,” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

“But HS2’s transformational potential goes even further. By creating hundreds of apprenticeships and thousands of skilled jobs, HS2 will fire up economic growth and help to rebalance opportunity across this country for years to come.”

Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps added: “Today marks a major milestone in this government’s ambitions to build back better from COVID-19.

“Shovels in the ground to deliver this new railway means thousands of jobs, building the future of our country’s infrastructure. This fantastic moment is what leaders across the North and Midlands have called for - action to level up our country by boosting capacity on our railways, improving connections between our regions, and spreading prosperity.”

HS2 Ltd CEO Mark Thurston said: “After ten years of development and preparatory work, today we can formally announce the start of full construction, unlocking thousands of jobs and supply chain opportunities across the project.”

It is estimated that some 400,000 supply chain contract opportunities will be created for UK businesses during the construction of Phase 1, with around 95% of those to be won by UK-based businesses.

The 140-mile Phase 1 is estimated by the Department for Transport and HS2 Ltd to cost between £35 billion and £45bn, with the partial start of passenger services between Old Oak Common and Birmingham Curzon Street scheduled for between 2029 and 2033. Full Phase 1 services from Euston are forecast to start between 2031 and 2036.

Construction beginning this year will be on what HS2 Ltd calls the “biggest engineering challenges”. These include stations and tunnels, followed by main viaducts and bridges. Work will begin at both ends of the route.

Most activity through the rest of 2020 will be focused on the city centre station sites and the major construction compounds at Old Oak Common, the M25 Tunnel site, Calvert and Streethay.

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 914, published on September 23, and available digitally from September 19.

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