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Phase One: London to West Midlands

An aerial picture of tunnel boring machines sit on their launch pads in a cutting.
HS2 tunnel boring machines at the southern portal of the Chilterns tunnel.

What is Phase One?

Phase One of HS2 will see a new high speed railway line constructed from London to the West Midlands, where it will re-join the existing West Coast Mainline. Services will travel onwards to places like Manchester, Glasgow, Liverpool, Preston and Wigan. Phase One will open between 2029 and 2033.

The new line between will run on 140 miles of dedicated track.  Four brand new stations and two new depots will also be built. 25,300 workers will be needed to complete construction.

View the interactive route map. Find out more about the stations. Or watch the video below to understand the scale of construction.

YouTube video: HS2 Phase One tour

Take a tour of key sites along Phase One.

Facts and figures

20,000 jobs are supported by HS2, with more big contracts and employment opportunities to come. They will be constructing a railway that will be a feat of British engineering. The Phase One route will have more miles of tunnels than Crossrail and a bridge longer than the Forth Rail Bridge.


  • Phase One will have 32 miles (51km) of tunnels.
  • The Chilterns tunnel (map link) is 10 miles (16km) long and at 90m depth it is the deepest on the route.
  • The London tunnels (map link) are 13 miles (21km), with a maximum depth of 50m.
  • There will also be tunnels in Northamptonshire, Warwickshire and the West Midlands

HS2 tunnels


HS2 will build four new stations as part of Phase One construction. Curzon Street Station in Birmingham. Interchange Station in Solihull. Old Oak Common Station in West London. Euston Station in London. Find out more about these stations, and others served by HS2 services.

HS2 stations

Viaducts and bridges

  • Over 500 bridging structures will be constructed under and over the route.
  • Over 50 viaducts measuring about 9 miles (15km) in length will be built.
  • The UK’s longest viaduct will cross the Colne Valley (map link). It will be over two miles (3.4km) long, which is 0.6 miles longer than the Forth Rail Bridge.
  • Delta Junction (map link) outside Birmingham is 5.9 miles (9.5km) long and consists of 7 bridges and viaducts spanning 3 rail lines, 8 roads, 5 rivers and canals and the M6.

Cuttings and embankments

Construction approach

Construction will begin with the biggest engineering challenges – such as the stations and tunnels – then the main viaducts and bridges, and finally meets in the middle with the route surface works. As such, most activity during 2020 will be focused on the city centre station sites and the major construction compounds at Old Oak Common, South Portal, Calvert and Streethay.

All along the route this year, Enabling Works contractors will start to hand over to Main Works contractors with station construction also starting at Old Oak Common. Detailed design work will continue in parallel for the likes of Euston and the surface route, while procurement will continue for the later stages of the build, such as the Birmingham stations, rolling stock, track and overhead systems.

Construction highlights

People dressed in orange protective clothing stand next to a bridge abutment under construction
A construction worker stands on a raised walkway with a crane behind.
The circular cutting head of a tunnel boring machine under going assembly.
1: Prime Minister Boris Johnson with HS2 workers at the formal start of construction at the Interchange Station site. 2: a worker at the site of the Long Itchington Wood tunnel. 3: a tunnel boring machine under construction.


There are three main benefits of HS2:

  • Capacity – taking inter-city trains off the existing rail network will free up more space for commuter and freight services, helping to relieve overcrowding and take lorries off the road.
  • Connectivity – better transport links between our cities and regions is bringing more investment to the Midlands and North, helping to level up the country.
  • Carbon – HS2 will be the low carbon option for long distance travel, emitting 17 times less carbon than the equivalent domestic flight and 7 times less carbon than the equivalent car journey.

More information about HS2 Phase One construction

Early works and main contractors

Main contractors and early works contractors

Main contractors

The  joint ventures (JV) contractors are:

  • Birmingham to Leamington Spa – BBV JV (Balfour Beatty Group, Vinci Construction UK Ltd.) BBV Careers
  • Chiltern Tunnels and associated work – Align JV (Bouyges Travaux Publics, Volkerfitzpatrick, Sir Robert McAlpine) Align Careers
  • Leamington Spa to M25 –  EKFB JV (Eiffage Genie Civil SA, Kier Infrastructure and Overseas Ltd) EKFB Careers
  • Within M25 – SCS JV (Costain Group Plc, Skanska Construction UK Ltd, STRABAG)

Early works

  • 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)

As well as archaeology, site clearance and establishing site compounds, early works delivers a range of activities including utility diversions, ecology surveys, demolition, ground remediation, watercourse activities, highways realignments, monitoring and instrumentation, structural reinforcements and drainage work.

Careers with our supply chain

Find out more about careers in our supply chain and where our contractors are working.

Planning Forum

Planning Forum

The forum provides the opportunity for local authorities, the nominated undertaker and representatives from government departments to cooperate and carry out work for Phase One of the project.

Invitees to the forum include officers from qualifying local authorities, HS2 and the Department for Transport. Meetings are chaired by an independent Chair.

Details about the forum, its sub-groups and its minutes, back to 2013, can be found on GOV.UK

Phase One and Parliament

Learn about the Phase One Hybrid Bill and Undertakings and Assurances.

Phase One in Parliament

Other phases of HS2

Phase 2a: West Midlands to Crewe

The Phase 2a line will run between Fradley in the West Midlands and Crewe in Cheshire. There it will connect with existing high speed services to carry passengers between London and Crewe. Services will travel onward to places like Manchester, Glasgow, Liverpool, Preston and Wigan. Find out more about Phase 2a.

Phase 2b: Crewe to Manchester, West Midlands to Leeds

The Phase 2b line forms a Y shape, split into an eastern and a western leg. The western leg will connect to the high speed lines at Crewe and run through to Manchester. The eastern leg will connect to high speed lines in the West Midlands and run through to Leeds. Services will also travel onward to places like Glasgow, Liverpool, Preston and Wigan. Find out more about Phase 2b.

HS2 construction facts Phase One   30,000 jobs at peak HS2 construction. 70% of jobs created outside London. 2,000 HS2 apprentices.  Over 50 viaducts.  Over 70 cuttings.  Over 110 embankments.  Over 150 bridges.  7 million trees and shrubs to be planted.  15,000 freight trains used taking 1.5 million construction lorries off the road.  140 miles of railway.  2 new railway depots.  4 new stations.  Over 200 construction sites.  Over 1 million tonnes of steel.  Over 2,000 cranes, dumpers, tipper trucks and excavators.  10 tunnel boring machines.  130 million tonnes of earth excavated enough to fill Wembley Stadium 15 times. 64 miles of tunnelling.  Lowest points of the railway 90 metres below ground in the Chilterns tunnel.