HS2 train illustration

HS2 green light a massive boost for contractors

Posted on 20th April 2020 by

The construction of the High Speed 2 rail network can begin after the government issued a ‘notice to proceed’ on the new rail system on April 15th.

The approval of main construction works follows the prime minister’s decision to go ahead with the project despite the spiralling costs.

The news came as a welcome boost to the construction, rail and engineering sectors and the contractors who work within them, especially at a time when the UK economy is struggling because of the Covid-19 outbreak.

The high-speed rail network that will connect London, Birmingham, Manchester and  Leeds could cost more than £100bn, with the first trains not expected until 2026 on phase one, 2027 on phase 2a, and not until 2033 on phase 2b of the railway.

You can find out more about HS2’s building phases here.

HS2 London to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds

Building work will begin by Joint Venture companies following advice from Public Health England, to ensure the protection of the workers and the general public.

This next step in the project provides thousands of construction workers and businesses associated with the HS2 project across the UK with a boost at a time when the country certainly needs it.

Four of HS2’s seven ‘work packages’ cover the design and construction of phase one of HS2, connecting London and Birmingham.

You can find out more about HS2’s seven ‘work packages’ here.


It is hoped that the railway will do more for the UK as a whole rather than just be a new transport network. It should bring huge benefits to the economy both in the long-term, but also the short-term. Indeed, there are already 11,000 people working on the project, with that number expected to rise to 15,000 later this year and then up to 30000 in the longer-term.

HS2 will also help pro tackle the climate change issue by providing a new high-capacity electrified railway which it is hoped will persuade commuters away from car and aviation travel.


How does this help contractors?

Contractors from the construction industry and the engineering and rail sectors are vital to the success of HS2. With a number of key players in the construction industry struggling in recent months, and the outbreak of the Coronavirus, the level of uncertainty in these sectors has been massive and contract work has been more difficult to find.

HS2 being given the green light will not only deliver an immediate boost for directly involved businesses and their contractors but will also have a positive knock-on effect for related businesses and local businesses where the construction work will take place.

Let’s hope this is the start of something great for the UK’s economy and its residents alike.


If you are a contractor working in the construction, engineering or rail sectors, contact Caunce O’Hara for a quote for your business insurance.

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Author Phil Ainley, Marketing Manager