Phase 1 HS2 Construction Timeline | When Will Your Skills Be Needed?

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by Rebekah Valero-Lee on


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).

Read on to find out when and where your skills will be needed on HS2. The key phases of the HS2 construction timeline are outlined below:hs2 construction timeline

  1. Site clearance

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

Contracts awarded:

  • 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)

Skills required:

  • Archaeologists
  • Labourers
  • Establishing site compounds
  • Utility diversion
  • Ecology surveyors
  • Demolition
  • Ground remediators
  • Highways realignment
  • Monitoring and instrumentation
  • Structural reinforcement
  • Drainage work
  1. Earthworks

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

Contracts awarded:

  • SCS JV (Skanska Construction UKLtd, Costain Ltd, STRABAG AG)

Skills required:

  • Plant operatives
  • Bricklayers
  • Surveyors
  • Construction professionals
  1. Civil engineering

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

Contracts awarded:

Area South

  • 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)

Area Central

  • 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)

Area North

  • 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)

Skills required:

  • Civil engineers
  • Architects
  • Civils operatives
  • Project management
  • Plant operatives
  • Construction trade supervisors
  • Building envelope specialists
  • Scaffolders
  • Plant mechanics/fitters
  1. Railway installation

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

Contracts awarded:

As above

Skills required:

  • P-way
  • Overhead line electrification
  • Signalling
  • Telecommunications
  • Traction power
  • Electrical trades and installation
  • Roofers
  • Plasterers
  • Glazers
  • Floorers
  • Painters and decorators
  1. 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.

Est. Date:

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.

Skills required:

  • Health and safety operatives
  • Mechanical and electrical personnel
  • Test and commissioning operatives 
  1. 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!

Cx Jobs

Maintenance Engineer

Morson Talent are currently recruiting for a Maintenance Engineer on an initial 12 months FTC basis (Likely to be perm for the right candidate) in the Manchester area. Location Manchester Salary £37,000 + 20% uplift for occasional shift work Hours Days based - Occasional cover shift work (6-2 / 2-10) The Person: * NVQ 3 or above in Engineering ESSENTIAL * Multiskilled - Mechanically / Electrically biased * Various backgrounds considered: Manufacturing, Automotive, Food, Distribution Centres, Automated Warehouse, Recycling, Biomass, Packaging or Printing, Chemical Plant, Brewery, Paper, Manufacturing Plant, Electromechanical / Automated Plant. * Health and safety focused, good awareness and a can do attitude. Desirable: * Bottling, material handling, AGV's, stackers, palletisers * Pneumatics, hydraulics The Job: * Assist with breakdowns maintenance and reliability of electromechanical machinery, equipment, and plant. * Maintenance of various sections of the plant - PPM and fault finding * Monitor production process & machinery performance. * Assist with PPM & breakdown. * Continuous improvement If you are interested in a new opportunity and would like to discuss further, please do not hesitate to contact me directly on 07739311930 or reply with an updated CV.

System Engineer

A Systems Engineer contractor is sought for a contract in Stevenage, Hertfordshire for a SATELLITE DIGITAL PROCESSOR SYSTEM ENGINEER position.Our client seek an expert in digital signal processor design and validation to join the design team responsible for the secure telecommand and telemetry system for a military communication satellite.The role requires an all-round grasp of the digital system, which includes both cryptographic and modem equipment, and its hardware implementation in order to support both system analyses and commissioning of prototype hardware. KEY SKILLS / PROVEN ABILITYProven Ability in any or all of the following topics will be valuable -Failure mode and related system analyses: FMEA / FMECA, single event effects and security analysis;Cryptographic processing and associated security functions;Modem functions (modulation and coding);Implementation of reliable digital signal processing hardware;FPGA-based prototyping and debugging;End-to-end RF communication systems testingSector knowledge: Space / Aerospace / Defence / Communications ADDITIONALTravel - Occasional travel to other UK sitesBase of Work - Following a familiarisation period on site this role will be working from home then working on site once COVID restrictions are lifted by the client - candidates must be able to work on site full time when required

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Morson are currently looking for experienced composite technicians for our client for roles based in Stevenage.Job Profile Assembly and final assembly of sandwich aluminium composite panel production. Inclusive of: - Potting of inserts Bonding of various brackets and equipment Film adhesives Panel completion General hot and cold bonding processes Drilling, reaming etc. High tolerance requirements (typically better than 0.05mm in various areas). Experience Essential:- Ability to work from detailed drawings and electronic work instructions - within specific procedures Experience working to procedures with checkpoints/quality gates Previous experience such as mechanical fitter, close tolerance sheet metal worker, time served mechanical technician Experience in industries such as Space/Aerospace/Automotive/Motorsport etc. Ability to work in confined spaces above floor level Desirable:- Knowledge of satellite structure assemblies or similar Modern apprenticeship Clean room experience Shifts Weekly rotating double day shifts - 06:00hrs to 14:00 hrs 14:00 hrs to 22:00 hrs Some weekend working Saturday or Sunday may be required at peak times. Other There will be a skills test at interview The successful candidate will be required to pass BPSS security clearance before confirmation of contract offer. Free parking is provided for this role in a municipal car park located approximately fifteen minutes' walk from site.

Warehouse Operative

Warehouse operative Principal Responsibilities Health and safety: Must ensure that safe working practices as stipulated by the company are adhered to at all times. Undertake any relevant HSE training as required. Picking: Accurately collect parts from various locations within the warehouse without introducing errors. Packing: To consolidate picked goods in a secure manner for direct shipment to external/internal customers. 100% double check on picked items to achieve very high accuracy levels. Dispatch: Consolidate packages on the relevant pallet and prepare for collection, i.e. pallet wrapping / loading into carrier cages. Goods Inwards: Check deliveries for damage and check against the delivery note to ensure that we have received the correct quantities of the correct products. Using Rf scanners Communication: On a day-to-day basis communication between various departments is normal. Responsibility for dealing with day-to-day enquiries in a friendly yet professional manner applies to all logistics staff. Operation of a Powered industrial truck is desirable if operator holds licence and is authorised. Other key links & experience areas Customer Services Manufacturing/Goods In Carriers/Couriers ISC Office Please note that these roles are currently part time hours from 4pm - 8pm.

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