As the UK’s largest infrastructure project, HS2 naturally provokes many questions in the contractor community. Our social media channels have been inundated with requests from our candidate community asking if and when their skills will be needed to work on the project. This blog aims to answer these queries, outlining the HS2 construction timeline for Phase One, illustrating which skills will be needed when, from 2017 until 2026.
The HS2 construction timeline set out by HS2 and the UK Government, suggests that the Phase One route (London to Birmingham) will take approximately 8 years, from site clearance to railway installation. This will be followed by a period of testing and commissioning before the first services start running in 2026.
Interestingly, the timeline shows that HS2 Phase One will only experience active construction for approximately two years prior to railway installation (in areas where there are no major structures).
Including enabling works, utility diversion and demolition of buildings, candidates will be required who have experience to clear the site ready for construction.
Est. date: now
- Area South – CS JV (Costain Group Plc, Skanska Construction UK Limited)
- Area Central – Fusion JV (Morgan Sindall Construction & Infrastructure Ltd, BAM Nuttall Limited, Ferrovial Agroman (UK) Limited)
- Area North – LM JV (Laing O’Rourke Construction Limited, J. Murphy & Sons Limited)
- Establishing site compounds
- Utility diversion
- Ecology surveyors
- Ground remediators
- Highways realignment
- Monitoring and instrumentation
- Structural reinforcement
- Drainage work
Once the site is prepared, the nominated undertaker will start earthworks that will include excavating cuttings, building embankments and starting tunnel construction.
Est. date: now
- SCS JV (Skanska Construction UKLtd, Costain Ltd, STRABAG AG)
- Plant operatives
- Construction professionals
With the general line of route established, building will start on the structures to support the railway. This would include bridges (over or under the railway), tunnels, viaducts, retaining walls and stations.
Est. date: 2019
- S1: Euston Tunnels and Approaches – SCS JV (Skanska Construction UKLtd, Costain Ltd, STRABAG AG)
- S2: Northolt Tunnels – SCS JV (Skanska Construction UK Ltd, Costain Ltd, STRABAG AG)
- C1: Chiltern Tunnels and Colne Valley Viaduct – Align JV (Bouygues Travaux Publics, VolkerFitzpatrick, Sir Robert McAlpine)
- C2: North Portal Chiltern Tunnels to Brackley – CEK JV (Carillion Construction Ltd, Eiffage Genie Civil SA, Kier Infrastructure and Overseas Ltd)
- C3: Brackley to South Portal of Long Itchington Wood Green Tunnel – CEK JV (Carillion Construction Ltd, Eiffage Genie Civil SA, Kier Infrastructure and Overseas Ltd)
- N1: Long Itchington Wood Green Tunnel to Delta Junction and Birmingham Spur – BBV JV (Balfour Beatty Group Ltd, VINCI Construction Grands Projets, VINCI Construction UK Ltd, VINCI Construction Terrassement)
- N2: Delta Junction to WCML Tie-In – BBV JV (Balfour Beatty Group Ltd, VINCI Construction Grands Projets, VINCI Construction UK Ltd, VINCI Construction Terrassement)
- Civil engineers
- Civils operatives
- Project management
- Plant operatives
- Construction trade supervisors
- Building envelope specialists
- Plant mechanics/fitters
Finally, with the track bed prepared, the nominated undertaker will install the railway systems, including ballast, slab, tracks, signalling and the power supply. This stage will also include the final finishes to station buildings.
Est. date: 2020 onwards
- Overhead line electrification
- Traction power
- Electrical trades and installation
- Painters and decorators
System testing and commissioning
The railway will be fully tested to ensure it can operate safely and reliably. Testing and commissioning will allow operational procedures to be tested and refined alongside the training of staff.
The period of testing and commissioning is expected to extend over four years, commencing in 2022 and completing in 2026.
Testing will start on the section of route closest to the route-wide network control centre at Washwood Heath depot in Birmingham.
- Health and safety operatives
- Mechanical and electrical personnel
- Test and commissioning operatives
Commencement of services
On current plans, passenger services for Phase One are expected to commence from 2026.
For jobs outlined on our HS2 construction timeline, look no further than our rail jobs listings, we’d love to have you on board!