United Kingdom awards $8.7 billion worth of contracts for 250mph rail line

United Kingdom awards $8.7 billion worth of contracts for 250mph rail line

Located in London's Old Oak Common - the site of UK's largest regeneration project - the new six-platform station will serve HS2, Crossrail and Heathrow Express services.

Engineering firm Costain Group PLC on Monday said it has been informed by High Speed Two Ltd that it is "minded to award" Costain with two contracts for the construction of the high speed London to Birmingham rail service.

Announced by United Kingdom transport secretary Chris Grayling, the three packages are split into two stages: design and preliminary work, and full construction.

In all the first phase of HS2 is expected to support 16 thousand jobs.

Preparatory works are already underway, with main construction work starting in 2018/19 following a period of detailed design work.

Balfour Beatty said its joint venture with construction company VINCI has won two contracts worth a combined GBP2.50 billion, under which it will deliver Lot N1 and Lot N2.

Both the design and master plan contracts will be awarded in the early part of next year.

"Together with the successful bidders, we will go on to deliver one of HS2's most tangible legacies - three brand new stations and the long-term transformation of Euston".

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Phase 2a will also connect Birmingham Curzon to Crewe, before the new high-speed line takes trains to Manchester Piccadilly and Warrington separately.

The announcement comes as leaders in Yorkshire have warned it is vital the project "is completed in full", as question marks remain that the proposed eastern leg of the project, from Birmingham to Leeds, Sheffield and York, could fail to materialise if future governments decide to press ahead with the western side only.

Grayling said: "This is a hugely important step in the construction of Britain's new railway and underlines this government's determination to deliver an economy that works for all".

David Higgins, chairman of HS2, said: "This is a huge day for the HS2 project and for the country".

The latest announcements come after business leaders met in Leeds this month and were told Yorkshire must make its voice heard, in order to guarantee the rail line is built in the region. In a media interview Monday, Grayling rejected a weekend report by a quantity surveyor who claimed HS2 will cost nearly double the current estimate, taking the final bill to over 130 billion US dollars.

Previous year it was agreed that the line should serve the existing station at Sheffield, with plans for a link to Meadowhall scrapped.

But this could see new homes in nearby Mexborough being pulled down, with numerous estate's residents finding out about the possibility just weeks after moving in. Joe Rukin of Stop HS2 referred to the project once again as a "white elephant", saying "The case for HS2 has been invented by the very cheerleaders who intend to rake in billions of taxpayers' money which is desperately needed elsewhere".

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