HS2 is a new high speed railway linking up London, the Midlands, the North and Scotland serving over 25 stations, including eight of Britain’s 10 largest cities and connecting around 30 million people.
The construction of the new railway is split into three phases – Phase One linking London and the West Midlands; Phase 2a linking the West Midlands and the North via Crewe; and Phase 2b completing the railway to Manchester and Leeds.
Skanska Costain STRABAG joint venture (SCS JV) is building the railway from Euston to West Ruislip as part of the London-based IPT. SCS JV has increased its workforce from 200 to 1,000 and expects to recruit a further 300 permanent staff and 67 apprentices as construction ramps up in 2021. It will conduct 7,000 inductions this year, including those for supply chain workers.
The first permanent works for HS2 in London were carried out in February 2021 when a 160 cubic metre concrete collar was poured around the Victoria Road ancillary shaft in North Acton. The work was the first step towards the launch of the tunnel boring machines (TBMs) that will be launched from the 25m-deep shaft and excavate the eastern end of the Northolt tunnels.
SCS JV is now building the Victoria Road Crossover Box on the same site, following the completion of 200 metres of sheet piling. The underground box, 130m long and 24m deep, will house a mechanism that allows trains to switch tracks as they approach and depart from Old Oak Common station.
West Ruislip will be the first site to launch tunnel boring machines (TBMs) in London. The machines will be assembled at the end of 2021 and launched in 2022, travelling five miles east to create the western section of the Northolt tunnel. Piling works at the site have been progressing well, with the second piling rig installed in April this year. A base slab for the TBM launch will be created in the autumn and the launch portal is due to be complete by the end of 2021.