High speed rail line work on offer

Contractors urged to seize HS2 opportunities

HS2Suppliers throughout the supply chain and across Britain were urged today to seize the opportunities being presented by the HS2 rail project.

Chief executive Simon Kirby, speaking to Daily Business as 170 suppliers gathered at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, said this was a chance for firms to get involved in building a complete rail system.

“We need signalling, telecoms, rolling stock. The whole supply chain sits behind this project,” he said.

Planning for the first phase of construction of the line from London to Birmingham is running in parallel with legislative and legal processes.

“HS2 is going to happen and we are engaging with as many businesses as we can to encourage them to get involved,” said Mr Kirby.

HS2 is the biggest infrastructure project to be built in Britain for decades and its proponents say it is a vital part of the UK government’s long term economic plan. An initial £11.5 billion of civil engineering contracts are up for grabs.

UK Transport Minister for HS2 Robert Goodwill, said: “The UK government’s ground-breaking HS2 programme provides a fantastic opportunity for businesses across the UK, including those here in Scotland. It will create some of the largest value contracts in UK construction history, creating job opportunities throughout the supply chain.

“With billions of pounds worth of contracts on the table, we hope Scottish businesses will take full advantage of this event, which will set out how firms can compete for work on this vital infrastructure project.”

Keith Brown, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities, said: “I have always maintained that we must extend the high speed rail network further and faster to Scotland in order to deliver significant economic benefits by boosting growth and providing more and better opportunities.

“Not only are the effective transport connections that a high speed rail network entails vital in ensuring that our businesses are able to compete and grow, but Scotland’s world class supply chain businesses can also play a key role in delivering this project, building skills, capability and jobs for the next generation.

“The Scottish Government is committed to see a high speed rail network built to serve Scotland and, as evidenced by recent large infrastructure projects such as the re-opening of the Borders Railway – the longest stretch of new railway line build in the UK in over 100 years – I am confident that Scotland has the skills and expertise to deliver a project of this scale.”

Bryan Buchan, CEO of Scottish Engineering, the support group for the engineering industry, said: “Scotland’s strong engineering base, particularly the specialist metal machining sector, puts a large number of Scottish companies in a position to contribute to the supply chain for HS2.

“Two major players in Scotland, Progress Rail and Network Engineering (part of Babcock International), for example already have specific expertise in railway construction and servicing.  The precision machine houses that support the oil and gas industry can also bring the expertise needed to deliver this major engineering project.”

Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell, added: “This is a large scale project with the potential for large scale opportunities for Scotland’s strong engineering base.  I would encourage companies’ right across our country to get involved in this event and learn more about the opportunities they could benefit from in the years ahead.”

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