Review of HS2

We thought we would share with a quick review of the key points contained in HS2 latest suppliers guide. The guide is very interesting, more especially to those suppliers who wish to become an integral part of the supply chain.

HS2 is one of the most exciting mega transport projects in Europe and what’s more there will be thousands of contracting work opportunities created.  Suppliers will need to come from multiple business sectors and have an extensive range of skills and capabilities.  The mega size of the HS2 project will culminate in project works to be supplied by numerous companies over many years. HS2 confirm that they will be buying services from the following categories:-

  • Professional & design services.
  • Civil engineering – such as enabling works, archaeology, ecology, demolition, earthworks, tunnels, embankments, bridges, viaducts plus much more.
  • New stations for phase 1 and 2.
  • Permanent way, overhead line, electrification, telecommunications, traction power & signalling.
  • Rolling stock for phase 1 which will include initial maintenance. Phase 2 will follow later.

For each of the above categories HS2 plan on buying a number of high-value direct contracts which will cascade out to many more indirect opportunities being created.  HS2 estimate that for every 10 direct Tier 1 contracts given out that they are likely to generate tens of thousands of supply chain opportunities. It is these opportunities that will be of interest to the smaller SME’s and will not be subject to procurement legislation. In order to maximise opportunities for all suppliers Tier 1 contractors are mandated to use and advertise all appropriate opportunities and cascade this requirement down through to their own supply chains.

Suppliers wishing to register on HS2 e-procurement portal need to go to so that they can tender for any opportunities as they arise.

For phase 1 the enabling works contracts and main works civils contracts have been let with other major works packages to be procured by 2019.  To find out details regarding direct opportunities that are currently live, or for the details of those companies who have been invited to tender visit and search for HS2 contract opportunities.

High Speed 2 will be built in two phases to ensure that the benefits of high speed rail are here in the UK as quick as possible.

Phase One will consist of around 140 miles of track and connect a redeveloped Euston with stations at Old Oak Common in West London; at Birmingham Interchange near Birmingham Airport and the NEC; and at Birmingham Curzon Street.  Construction of this phase tarted in 2017 with the first trains running by 2026.

After phase 1 is complete phase 2a will start.  This build will be from Birmingham to Crewe and projected works are scheduled to commence 2027.  Phase 2b network will extend the lines to West Manchester and the East Midlands, Sheffield and East Leeds. Both phase 2 services are expected to start running by 2033.

There will be plenty of industry briefing days, national and regional roadshows and “meet the contractor days” which will be open to all appropriate supply chain organisations.  You can find out more about these events by going to and search for HS2 supply chain events.  It may also be advisable to check into your local Enterprise Partnership growth hub. Also The National College for High Speed Rail (situated in Birmingham and Doncaster) will provide the higher technical skills required to build HS2 and suppliers can help by donating equipment, providing experts to design & teach curriculum,  or even sending employees on  courses. Suppliers can get involved by contacting or visit

Deborah Lillis

About Deborah Lillis

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MECX network rail contractor
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