Under the deal, the consortium will build a new factory at an existing Aggregate Industries site near Shepton Mallet in Somerset to manufacture the segments using a modular construction system known as Slab Track Austria. The new factory is expected to employ up to 500 people.

The slab track system, developed by Porr’s Austrian parent company, has been used to lay more than 780km of track worldwide since the first section was laid in Langenlebern, Austria, in 1989. Porr says this section of slab track has been almost maintenance free since it was first laid.

This is the first of several track contracts to be awarded by HS2. A separate track systems contractor will be appointed in 2022 to manage and coordinate the design and installation of the track systems for each section of the new line including the installation of the slab track and the interface with the signalling and overhead power supply. Separate contracts will be awarded for the rails, switches and crossings, high voltage power supply, communications and mechanical and electrical systems.