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HS2 seeking contractors for £1.55bn M&E contracts

HS2 Ltd has today opened the initial bidding on £1.55bn of mechanical and electrical (M&E) work on sections of line between London, Birmingham and Crewe.

The contracts involve track and overhead catenary system works, as well as tunnel and lineside work, including tunnel ventilation.

Specifically, the process is about choosing HS2 Ltd’s main contractor on phases 1 and 2a of the project, with responsibility for both the construction and dynamic testing ahead of the first trial runs.

Along with the M&E aspects of the work, there is also provision in the contract for construction within the new stations and tunnels, coupled with the design integration and coordination of other contractors and the provision of engineering trains to link each site.

Officially, today’s announcement marks the release of the pre-qualification questionnaire before the tendering process begins in full. It will lead to a specific group of appropriate contractors chosen to bid at a later date.

Mark Thurston, HS2 Ltd’s chief executive, said: “We’re looking for the smartest, most cost-effective solutions that the industry has to offer through these contracts, which form part of the overall railway system for HS2.

“These two essential contracts are fundamental to HS2 operating safely, reliably and efficiently for the millions of people who will use and come to depend on it.”

The work is split into two, with the construction section the first part of the questionnaire, while the second section is limited to the £330m lineside and tunnel M&E and ventilation works – including the installation of safety equipment, lighting and alarm systems.

HS2’s delivery has taken a blow recently with the fall of Carillion, one of the network’s major contractors. But the other two firms involved in the work, Eiffage and Kier, are expected to pick up the slack, causing minimal disruption.

The company recently released the first concept images of its planned Colne Valley Viaduct, which will be a major feature of new connections in the north west.

Thurston, who joined HS2 in early 2017, is scheduled to appear soon 2018’s UKRIA event, taking the mantle of keynote speaker from last year’s speaker Sir Peter Hendy, Network Rail’s chairman.

In the latest issue of RTM, John Downer, director of High Speed Rail Industry Leaders, wrote about HS2’s construction phase and explained the work that has begun so far, while pointing to the next major milestones coming up in 2018.

Top image: HS2

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