HS2 has begun the hunt for track systems suppliers to deliver 280km of high-speed track that will allow the UK to run some of the most frequent long-distance rail services
The new track systems suppliers’ contract opportunities cover the design and build of the complex track systems between London, Birmingham and Crewe, where HS2 trains will join the existing West Coast Mainline.
The specialist contractors will also take a lead role in managing and coordinating the complex interfaces between the track and other elements of the rail systems.
Contracts covering rail, switches and crossings and pre-cast slab track systems will be awarded separately – with the track systems suppliers coordinating the design and installation.
In order to reduce long term costs and improve performance, the track will be set onto concrete slabs instead of the ballast commonly used on the UK rail network. This approach – known as slab track – is commonly used on metro systems and some international high-speed rail lines, and aims to allow for a higher frequency of service with less maintenance.
The winning bidders will also be responsible for the design, installation and testing of switches and crossings, managing construction logistics and co-ordination, and supporting the testing and commissioning phase.
They will also act as Construction Design and Management (CDM) Principal Contractor for the trace and be responsible for logistics and consents co-ordination.
Rail systems contracts
Procurement and commercial director at HS2 ltd, David Poole said: “Rail systems are some of the most important parts of the HS2 project – the high tech equipment and systems that will allow our trains to deliver unparalleled service in terms of speed, frequency and reliability.
“The launch of this new procurement contest is an important milestone for the project, and a significant opportunity for the industry and the wider supply chain. At the peak of construction, HS2 will support around 30,000 jobs and contracts like this will provide a real boost for employers across the supply chain, helping to boost skills and provide opportunities for years to come.”
Six more sets of rail systems contracts are due to be launched later in the year, covering signalling, the overhead catenary that will provide power to the trains, mechanical and electrical systems, high voltage power supplies, communications systems and the depot and control centre at Washwood Heath in Birmingham.
Four separate track systems packages will be awarded:
- Lot 1 – Phase One (Urban – London and Birmingham) – £434m
- Lot 2 – Phase One (Open Route – Central) – £526m
- Lot 3 – Phase One (Open Route -North) – £566m
- Lot 4 – Track – Phase 2a – £431m
Shortlists for track systems suppliers are expected towards the end of the year, with contract awards in 2022.