HS2 shows support towards rail sector to build back better

Posted: 25 January 2022 | | No comments yet

To support the UK’s transport industry to build back better, HS2 has established new measures to enhance the visibility of supply chain opportunities for its rail systems contracts.

HS2 shows support towards rail sector to build back better

HS2 supports rail sector to build back better: Artists impression of an HS2 train from the side. Credit: HS2 Ltd

Independent research commissioned by the Rail Supply Group (RSG), who were tasked by government to lead the rail industry COVID-19 Taskforce, found that improving work pipeline visibility was the number one priority for UK rail businesses.

As a mark of its commitment, HS2 signed up to the Group’s Work Pipeline Visibility Charter and is now making the Technical Specifications for all its Rail Systems packages publicly available. This means that prospective tier two and three suppliers can access the same level of technical information as tier one businesses bidding for HS2’s key Railway Systems contracts, which have an estimated value of over £3 billion and cover track, overhead catenary, mechanical and electrical, telecoms, power, and signalling.

“We’re acting on feedback to provide UK businesses with a heads up on the opportunities that will soon filter down from HS2’s multi-billion-pound rail systems contracts,” commented Robin Lapish, Senior Supply Chain Manager at HS2. “This enhanced transparency puts smaller businesses in a strong position, allowing them to engage directly with our main contractors and gear up for the vast programme of work that’s on the horizon.”

Kate Jennings, Railway Industry Association Director, and High Speed Rail Group Board Director, said: “We are really pleased to see HS2 Ltd improving the visibility of upcoming work for rail businesses. The greater visibility rail suppliers have, whether multi-nationals or SMEs, the better they are able to plan and invest in the teams and capabilities needed to deliver complex projects, such as on HS2, ultimately allowing them to deliver even more jobs and investment across the UK. Given the importance and the scale of the project, greater visibility of supply chain opportunities will be vital to ensuring it is delivered as efficiently as possible too. The industry looks forward to continuing to support HS2, a truly transformational project that will help spur an economic recovery whilst improving connectivity for people across the UK.”

In December 2021, HS2 announced that Britain’s next generation of high-speed trains would be built in the UK by a Hitachi/Alstom joint venture, supporting 2,500 jobs. The £2 billion contracts signal the start of a major boost for Britain’s rail sector, with companies down the supply chain now set to benefit from work packages linked to the design, manufacture, assembly, and testing of the 54 fully electric units.

HS2 has already published its ‘Rolling Stock Train Technical Specification’ to allow component manufacturers and suppliers to fully understand HS2’s requirements and consider their product offerings.

HS2 expects to begin awarding its core Railway Systems contracts from the end of 2022.