Published: Mon, July 17, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Northern route of HS2 to be revealed

Northern route of HS2 to be revealed

United Kingdom firms Carillion, Costain and Balfour Beatty are leading consortiums to build tunnels, bridges and other civil engineering works on the first stretch of the new line.

The controversial HS2 high-speed railway will take another step forward on Monday with the awarding of major construction contracts and the confirmation of the route north of Birmingham through Yorkshire.

Following the news, Carillion shares were at the top of the FTSE 250, up 11% at 64.86 pence, while Balfour Beatty was up 3.5% at 272.00p and Kier Group shares were up 2.4% at 1,251.00p.

David Higgins, Chairman of HS2 Ltd, said: "HS2 was always created to be much more than just a high speed railway and today we can see the opportunities it brings right around the country".

"Business now has the surety to invest with confidence to build a legacy for Britain".

HS2 trains are expected to carry up to 300,000 passengers a day, freeing up thousands of seats on local services. The victor will advise on, and later take forward, mixed-use development opportunities, including new homes, offices and retail space above and around the revamped London Euston.

Mr Grayling said in addition to speeding up journey times, HS2 will support 16,000 jobs across the United Kingdom, with more than 100 Scottish businesses interested in the opportunities it will create.

The inclusion of Carillion, the troubled construction company, among the first tranche of contract winners will also raise eyebrows.

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Preparatory work has begun and major construction projects are due to launch in 2018/19.

In addition, HS2 stations at Euston, Old Oak Common and in Birmingham will be central to HS2 and the work needed to develop designs is also well underway. Last week, the invitations to tender for the station designs and for the role of Euston Master Development Partner were released to shortlisted bidders.

Carillion dismayed investors on July 10 by announcing weaker-than-expected profit growth, the departure of its chief executive officer, the suspension of full-year dividends and a write-down related to various projects that analysts said may include work on Royal Liverpool Hospital.

Mr Grayling's decision on the route from Crewe to Manchester and Birmingham to the East Midlands and Leeds confirms six of the seven changes included in the November consultation.

This means - subject to Parliamentary approval - this part of the route can open in 2027, 6 years earlier than planned, to bring the benefits of HS2 to the north and Scotland sooner.

The government has revealed details of the Phase One contracts for High Speed Rail 2 (HS2) and confirmed plans for the line to be extended to the north-west, East Midlands and Yorkshire.

The Government has been urged to ensure that long-awaited plans for high-speed rail links become a reality as Ministers have set out the huge economic benefits that the multi-billion pound improvements to the nation's beleaguered network will bring.

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