Published: Mon, July 17, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

HS2 routes confirmed to Manchester and Leeds

HS2 routes confirmed to Manchester and Leeds

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 high-speed HS2 rail will eventually link London with central and northern England, with the total cost now said to be around 74 billion US dollars.

Contracts for the two stages of Phase One are worth an estimated £6.6bn and are expected to directly support 16,000 jobs. The second stage will be for the construction of the main works, which is expected to take between four and five years.

"So it is not where one business has to deliver, it is a group of businesses that have to deliver and they have all committed to doing so".

Mr Grayling added: "My wish is that Carillion get through their current problems, but we've made sure that it's not an issue for these contracts".

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The North Portal Chiltern Tunnels to Brackley was won by CEK, which includes Carillion (UK), Eiffage Genie Civil (France) and Kier Infrastructure (UK).

Grayling said: "The progress we are making with HS2 is clear evidence that the government is delivering on its commitments and is getting on with building the infrastructure needed to build a stronger, fairer, more prosperous Britain".

While it is welcome work for Carillion, it is now struggling to contain rising debts - a outcome of cost over-runs on other key contracts.

Despite the positive share price reaction on Monday, its stock remains more than 60% down on where it was trading early last week.

HS2 is a 190 kilometre high speed line linking London with Birmingham and the West Coast Main Line near Lichfield and is planned to open in 2026.

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The eastern route to Leeds will run east of Sheffield, with some trains going into the city on existing lines.

This will mean the demolition of a new housing estate in Mexborough, leading to outrage from residents that had moved in just months before. Joe Rukin of Stop HS2 referred to the project once again as a "white elephant", saying "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".

Mark Cutler, Balfour Beatty VINCI Managing Director for HS2, said: "This iconic rail infrastructure project will create significant opportunities for the United Kingdom construction industry and will drive growth in skills, jobs and prosperity".

A Department for Transport spokesman said Mr Byng's claims were "incorrect" and insisted: "We are keeping a tough grip on costs and the project is on time and on budget at £55.7bn". 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.

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