date posted: 24-04-2017

The estimated cost of HS2 is £56 billion and work on the high-speed railway, which will join the capital with cities in the midlands and the north, is expected to run right through until 2033. The project represents the largest transport infrastructure investment in the UK for a generation.  

When completed, journey times across the country will be slashed and capacity for passengers will increase dramatically. With phase one scheduled to open at the end of 2026, it will be a long time before commuters feel the benefit of the developments but contractors are already reaping the rewards.  


Whilst pay in the UK has been fairly stagnant for most workers, pay for construction workers on railways and undergrounds has been rising steadily over the last few years. We predict that due to high demand and a shortage of skilled workers this is likely to continue. An estimated 5000 contractors a month are needed to work on HS2 during phases 1 & 2 - the future is looking positive for contractors with the right skills to work on this pioneering project!


The range of roles created by an infrastructure project of this scale and complexity will be varied.  Opportunities will include the following areas:


  • Rail
  • Tunnelling
  • Civil Engineering
  • Structural Engineering
  • Design
  • Construction
  • Environmental Impact Programme
  • Project Management

Hundreds of jobs will also be created in train building and maintenance and then there will also be the various employment opportunities that result from the knock-on effects of economic development as HS2 starts to take shape.

Contractors with relevant experience are likely to find that their skills are in demand and there will also be opportunities for apprenticeships in relevant areas. 


HS2 fact file


  • The high-speed rail link will connect London with Birmingham, Sheffield, Leeds and Manchester.
  • Projected costs - £56 billion
  • Phase 1 is from London to the West Midlands
  • Phase 2 is from the West Midlands to Leeds and Manchester. Phase 2 is split into two sub-phases. Phase 2a is from the West Midlands to Crewe. Phase 2b will extend the project from Crewe to Manchester, and the West Midlands to Leeds.
  • Journey time from Birmingham to London will be reduced from 1hr 21mins to 49mins.
  • Journey time from Manchester Piccadilly to London will be reduced from 1hr 27mins to 1 hr 7mins.
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