Phase One: London to West Midlands
Launching HS2’s first TBM
HS2 Ltd has announced the launch of the first tunnel boring machine from HS2’s South Portal site next to the M25 in Buckinghamshire.
What is Phase One?
Phase One of HS2 will see a new high speed railway line constructed from Euston to north of Birmingham, 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 London and Birmingham will run on 140 miles of dedicated track. Four brand new stations and two new depots will also be built. 22,000 workers will be needed to complete construction.
YouTube video: HS2 Phase One tour
Accessibility: Full video transcript.
Facts and figures
16,000 people have already worked on HS2. We’ve announced 22,000 further jobs, with more big contracts and jobs 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 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.
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
- Over 70 cuttings will be excavated, measuring over 44 miles (72km) in total.
- The longest is the Calvert Cutting (map link) at 2.5 miles (4.1km) with a maximum depth of 9.7m.
- The deepest is Lower Thorpe Cutting (map link) at 30.5m deep.
- Over 110 embankments, measuring about 38 miles (61km) long , will be constructed.
- The longest embankment will be Grendon Underwood (map link) at 1.8 miles (3km) long.
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.
HS2 will use the best of British skills and innovation to prepare and build the route.
Enabling Works contractors will complete the majority of the archaeological investigations, continue to clear the surface route, and deliver new habitat and tree planting as part of the Green Corridor project.
We will complete the set-up of the biggest construction site compounds, which will act as regional centres for construction and logistics, with hundreds of workers on each site.
The first tunnel boring machines (TBMs) will be completed and delivered ahead of their launch in 2021.
In 2021, the foundations for the Colne Valley Viaduct, the longest viaduct in the UK, will be laid.
Motorway bridges will be installed at the Interchange site and preparations at Washwood Heath – This is a maintenance depot just outside Birmingham where trains will be serviced and maintained.
We will begin restoration of the old Curzon Street station building, which will be converted into a local information centre adjacent to our new station.
Construction will begin at Old Oak Common with the construction partner starting to build the huge box from which the east-bound London TBMs will be launched and the new platforms built.
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
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)
- 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.
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
Our community websites
Our community websites
Visit our community websites to find out more about the route as it travels through communities, how it is being constructed and what we are doing to make this less disruptive. The sites host: local area plans, local engagement plans, contractor liaison plans and local event information.
- Bucks and Oxfordshire
- Euston and Camden
- Old Oak
More sites are being prepared to serve other areas. All community sites can also be found on the HS2 community site hub .
Phase One and Parliament
Learn about the Phase One Hybrid Bill and Undertakings and Assurances.
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.