Procurement of the so-called main works packages is split into three stages, the first of which covers civil works. Tranche 2 contracts covering stations, and tranche 3 for railway systems will be tendered in 2016 and 2017.

Pre-contract notices have been published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) for the following tranche 1 civil engineering contracts:

  • London Euston tunnels and approaches (£600m-£900m)
  • Northolt (west London) tunnels (£850m-£1.4bn)
  • Chiltern Tunnels and Colne Valley Viaduct (£800m-£1.3bn)
  • Chiltern Tunnels north portal - Brackley (£800m-£1.4bn)
  • Brackley - Long Itchington Wood tunnel south portal (£600m-£900m), and
  • Long Itchington Wood tunnel south portal - Delta Junction and Birmingham Spur (£900m-£1.5bn).

A further contract covering connections to the WCML at the northern end of the route will also be tendered and this has an estimated value of £800m-£1.3bn.

In addition to these contracts, a contract notice is due to be published in the OJEU in the first quarter of next year for a notified body and designated body.

Osborne announced the tenders during a visit to China, when he confirmed that a HS2 partnering day will be held to explore the possibility of joint bids between British and Chinese contractors. The chancellor is also inviting Chinese participation in a new HS2 skills college, which is due to open in 2017.

Construction is due to begin on phase 1 in 2017 following royal assent of the Phase 1 Hybrid Bill, which is currently being considered by parliament.