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HS2 supply chain summits draw ‘huge’ industry interest

Close to 1,000 firms are to attend HS2’s Supply Chain Conferences in London and Manchester, as the rail industry prepares for £10bn worth of contracts to be made available for the first phase of the high speed route between the West Midlands and London.

The first event takes place in the capital today at London’s Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre while the second event will take place on 23 October at Manchester Central.

It is expected that more than 1,500 delegates, coming from as far as Dundee to Devon, will attend the conferences to hear from HS2 about what will be needed from the industry as preparations are made to start building the first section of the line in just over two years’ time.

Simon Kirby, chief executive at HS2 Ltd, said: “The pace of HS2’s development is accelerating so we’re ready to hit the ground running, assuming Royal Assent in 2016. It is excellent to see such massive support and interest from industry in making the new north-south line a reality.

“To build HS2 between the West Midlands and London is a huge undertaking: £10bn worth of contracts and at peak construction we’ll be employing around 40,000 people to deliver the first part of this strategically important piece of infrastructure that is an investment in the country’s future stretching decades ahead.”

The first of the tenders is expected to be released next month, when a £60m job to assess the condition of land between London and Birmingham is to be awarded.

Other contracts due to be released during the next few months include one worth £2.9bn for early stage tunnelling work; £2.7bn for the surface route; £2.6bn for stations; £600m for enabling works; £1.5bn for railway systems; and £350m for design services.

Building work is programmed to start at the turn of 2016-17 and take around nine and half years to deliver at a total targeted cost of £17.16bn, including rolling stock.

Commenting ahead of the conferences, transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:  “HS2 is a vital part of the government’s long-term economic plan, creating tens of thousands of job opportunities for people and businesses across the country.

“These supply chain summits are crucial to ensure UK industry, people and businesses are well placed to take advantage of the tremendous opportunity the new railway presents. It is imperative we make the best use of our skills and workers in building the high speed rail network and squeeze every possible benefit from HS2.”

(Image: c. Sindre Wimberger)

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