Overhead catenary system job was originally pulled last August

HS2 has begun the search for specialist contractors to build the railway’s overhead catenary system between London, Birmingham and the north of England.

Contracts to build the entire overhead catenary system (OCS) for phases 1 and 2a, and the entire track for the phases 1 and 2b, in total worth £1.5bn, were pulled last August after contractors told HS2 to be more realistic with the amount of risk they could be expected to shoulder.


The contract will run the entire length of the first phase of the railway

Now the race for part of these contracts – worth an estimated £300m – has been relaunched.

The winner of the OCS package will be responsible for additional stages of design as well as manufacture, supply, installation, testing and commissioning of the systems.

It will be a single stage procurement, with the successful bidder delivering two separate contracts covering phase one and phase 2a – from London to Crewe, where HS2 services will join the existing West Coast Main Line railway.

The system will cover 589km single track, including 62 viaducts, 293 bridges and 15 tunnels. The successful bidder will be responsible for design and will be expected to work closely with HS2’s other rail systems suppliers to ensure integration of its design and throughout construction, testing and commissioning.

A shortlist is expected to be announced in the summer with contract award in 2022.

Earlier this week, HS2 launched contract opportunities worth £500m, covering tunnel and lineside mechanical and electrical equipment across phase one and 2a.

This includes the tunnel services within the shafts, tunnels and cross-passages and low voltage power services and distribution in the open route.

A shortlist is expected to be announced towards the end of the year, with contract award in 2022.