Tenders for Washwood Heath scheme now set to go back this April

The bidding process for one of the last major building projects yet to be awarded on the first phase of HS2 has been extended by three months.

The £275m scheme at Washwood Heath in Birmingham will serve as both the railway’s network control centre and its rolling stock maintenance depot once the line opens.

Tenders had been due back last week but the three bidders chasing the deal have been given an 11 week extension meaning submissions will now be made in the middle of April.

Washwood Heath 2

The Washwood Heath site was formerly home to the Metro-Cammell railway works, which closed in 2004.

Turkish contractor Gülermak is the surprise name on a three-strong shortlist for the job and is up against a pairing of Vinci and Keltbray and a team featuring VolkerFitzpatrick and VolkerRail.

A HS2 spokesperson said: “We have extended the tender deadline to give tenderers time to consider some recent design changes agreed as part of the planning process. This will not affect the completion date for the project.”

Contract award is expected to be in October with a start on site planned for the following January. Work is expected to take four years to finish.

The 30ha scheme was given the green light by the city council last week with the depot including a rolling stock maintenance building, carriage wash, automatic vehicle inspection building and 14 sidings where trains can be stored overnight.

Also on the same site will be the Network Integrated Control Centre, the hub of the network’s signalling and control systems as well as office buildings for cleaners and drivers.

In total, over 550 jobs are expected to be based across both the depot and control centre. Architect on the scheme is Birmingham practice Glenn Howells.

A team from HS2’s enabling works contractor LM, a pairing of Laing O’Rourke and Murphy, completed the demolition of the buildings on the site in 2020. The Washwood Heath site was formerly home to the Metro-Cammell railway works, which closed in 2004.

HS2 is also planning to build an infrastructure maintenance deport at Calvert in Buckinghamshire. This is scheduled to open in 2025 and will house the people needed to look after the railway such as track, overhead power and tunnel maintenance. Designed by Grimshaw Architects, it is expected to be built by the EKFB team, which includes Kier and Bam, carrying out work in the area.