Jobs boom heralded as HS2 construction starts

4 September 2020

After 10 years of planning and development work – not to mention heated debate, noise and anticipation – construction work has formally started on HS2, Europe’s largest infrastructure project.

Friday 4 September marks the transition point from enabling works, scheme design and preparatory work to full-blown construction of the high-speed railway. This follows the notice to proceed given by the UK government in April to the four main works civil contractors.

A total of 22,000 jobs are expected to be created as a result of the project, providing a significant boost to a UK economy still reeling from the aftershock of the coronavirus pandemic.

“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.”

Costs for the 140 mile/225km route Phase 1 are estimated by the Department of Transport to be between £35-45bn with passenger services expected to partially start between Old Oak Common and Birmingham sometime between 2029 and 2033. Full Phase 1 services to and from Euston are expected to start between 2031 and 2036.

Linking London with the West Midlands, Phase 1 will see ten TBMs working on the project. With 32 miles of tunnel , the London tunnel will be the longest at 13 miles/21km long and 62m deep; the Chiltern tunnel at 10 miles /16km long will be the deepest at 90m max depth.

Construction work will begin with the biggest challenges – the tunnels and stations – followed by the viaducts and bridges, then other surface work. The project will also require more than 50 viaducts to be built, including the one proposed across the Colne Valley which, at over two miles long, will be the longest in the UK.