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HS2: Endless Procurement Possibilities

HS2_ Endless Procurement Possibilities

High Speed Two (HS2), is a high-speed railway network that is planned to link London to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. Trains will travel at 250 mph, (125 mph faster than the current UK standards), meaning that travel from London to Manchester will be possible in just over an hour.

The project has been in the developmental stage for over 10 years. However, the government recently gave the project the green light to continue as planned, with an inflated budget of nearly £90bn. This makes HS2 Europe’s largest current infrastructure project and brings massive opportunities for prospective bidders across the UK.

Varied Opportunities

These opportunities are not limited to construction or transport industries either. HS2 contracts are due to cover a huge range of industries and sectors. Similarly, contracts are not restricted to large corporations. Indeed many smaller contracts and subcontracts will be available to SMEs. The HS2 website has a dedicated page for all related contract opportunities. Opportunity areas include:

  • Construction
  • Corporate
  • Railway Systems
  • Rolling Stock

The site also has a useful list of future contracts, so you can start planning your tender response as early as possible.


As of late 2019, no track or tunnel for HS2 had been built. However preparatory work has now begun at over 250 sites. This mainly comprises of construction work, clearing the way for the track to be laid. 28 construction contracts have been awarded so far. Values have ranged from £1m to £3bn, so construction companies of any size should keep an eye out for HS2 contracts.

The HS2 contract website currently lists three construction contracts that have yet to begin the procurement process, with values between £100m-£250m. It’s a safe bet that more contracts will become available through the upcoming years as work on the network intensifies. Therefore, it’s worth checking back regularly to see if anything catches your eye.


As corporate contracts cover a wide variety of services and industries, they make up the bulk of HS2 contracts being awarded. ‘Corporate’ is an umbrella term used to cover any service that is not directly involved in the physical construction or installation of the network. Contracts include:

  • Legal Services
  • IT systems & Software Development
  • Events Management
  • Design and Visual Services
  • Recruitment
  • Property and Facilities Management
  • Security
  • Vehicle Hire

Corporate services represent valuable opportunities for a range of businesses, with contract values ranging from less than £1m to £250m+. This means that many corporate contracts are of particular interest to SMEs. Many corporate contracts have already been awarded. However, many more will no doubt become available over the coming years.

Railway Systems

Contracts for railways systems include everything from track design, manufacture and installation, to tunnel ventilation systems. Basically, anything that allow the train to run. Many such works will take place some years in the future as the project progresses, so aren’t available to bid for now.  However, you can start preparing your tenders now, as future contracts can be found online.

Rolling Stock

Rolling Stock (anything that runs on the track) is the most niche industry area in HS2 and only really of interest to train manufacturers and suppliers. The HS2 network will require a fleet of 60 new trains in Phase One alone. With each capable of seating 1,100 passengers .

Bidding for the first wave of rolling stock opened in 2017, and is currently in the evaluation stage, with a contract value of £2.7bn. However, in 2013 the cost of rolling stock for HS2 was estimated at £7.5bn, and this figure is likely to increase, so it’s probable more contracts will appear in the coming years.

The Future

HS2 is a truly massive infrastructure project that will take decades to complete and has a budget larger that the GDP of most countries. As such, it will remain a fixture in public procurement until at least 2040.

Opportunities are not just for construction conglomerates or train manufacturing multinationals, but a for SMEs in a wide variety of industries. It’s therefore worth periodically checking the contracts website to see if there are any new contracts that your company could bid for. If you see anything you like the look of, get in touch and we’ll be happy to advise you!


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Updated on March 16, 2020

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