HS2 seeks guarantee on crisis-hit Carillion

HS2 seeks guarantee on crisis-hit Carillion

As well as the civils work, invitations to tender have been issued for the line's main stations, at Euston, Old Oak Common and Birmingham.

Plans were also confirmed to extend the route from Birmingham to the north west, East Midlands and Yorkshire.

With preparatory works already underway on phase one, the DfT says main construction work will start in 2018/19.

But today it was announced that alongside engineering group Kier and French construction company Eiffage, Carillion has been awarded two contracts worth a combined £1.3 billion to build tunnels on the central section of the route.

Nine bids were shortlisted for the project's major contracts with the work valued at around £6.6bn and estimated to support 16,000 jobs.

Government ministers have today set out the huge economic benefits that the multi-billion pound improvements to the country's rail network will bring - and said seat numbers will be boosted on busy services in the north including from Leeds towards Wakefield once the network is complete.

Announced by United Kingdom transport secretary Chris Grayling, the three packages are split into two stages: design and preliminary work, and full construction.

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"HS2 offers transformational opportunities for the local, regional and national economy through job creation, better connectivity, shorter journey times, improved onward services to Scotland and freeing up capacity on existing lines, so is it vital it is delivered in full".

" We will now get on with building the railway, while continuing to ensure affected communities get appropriate support and are treated with fairness, compassion and respect".

HS2 chief executive Mark Thurston said: "Today's announcements are a major milestone for the project - setting the scene for the next stage of the station design process".

Joe Rukin of the Stop HS2 campaign said: "The case for HS2 has been invented by the very cheerleaders who intend to rake in billions of taxpayers' money which is desperately needed elsewhere, so it really is time to ditch this big white elephant before it is too late".

The latest announcements come after business leaders met in Leeds last week and were told Yorkshire must make its voice heard, in order to guarantee the planned high-speed rail line is built in the region.

A year ago it was agreed that the line should serve the existing station at Sheffield, with plans for a link to Meadowhall scrapped. In a media interview Monday, Grayling rejected a weekend report by a quantity surveyor who claimed HS2 will cost nearly double the current estimate, taking the final bill to over 130 billion USA dollars.

But critics have warned that this will mean that homes on the new Shimmer housing estate in nearby Mexborough will be bulldozed.

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