The bill, which was passed by 399 votes in favour to 42 against, must now go the House of Lords before receiving royal assent, which is expected at the end of the year. Approval of the third reading means the project is on course for construction to start in 2017, and the line is due to open in 2026.

HS2 Ltd also confirmed on March 23 that it has shortlisted nine bidders for Tranche 1 civil engineering contracts, which have a total value of between £7.1bn and £11.8bn.

The following bidders have been shortlisted for at least one package each:

  • Align Joint Venture (Bouygues, VolkerFitzpatrick, Sir Robert McAlpine)
  • ASL (Acciona Infraestructuras, John Sisk, Lagan)
  • BBV (Balfour Beatty, Vinci BeMo)
  • Catalyst (Bechtel)
  • CEK (Carillion, Eiffage, Kier)
  • Fusion (Morgan Sindall, BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman)
  • LFM (Laing O'Rourke, FCC Construccion, J. Murphy)
  • Momentum Infrastructure (Dragados, Hochtief, GallifordTry), and
  • SCS (Skanska, Costain, Strabag)


CH2M, Atkins and Sener have also been appointed to act as engineering consultants for Phase 1.

HS2 says contractors that deliver "the best results in terms of value and efficiency" will be eligible to bid for contracts to build Phase 2A between Lichfield and Crewe, which is due to open in 2027. A formal route decision on Phase 2, including the branches to Leeds and Manchester, is expected in the autumn.