Plans for $45 billion investment in a 540 km core network of high-speed railroads were launched by the U.K. government on March 11. Work on an initial 206 km line between London and the Birmingham area, estimated to cost up $26 billion, could start around 2017, forecasts the Department for Transport. “Building this network would not only revolutionize Britain’s transport, but would also present significant new opportunities for the U.K.’s design, engineering, construction and manufacturing sectors,” says transportation secretary Andrew Adonis. At this stage, the government expects the project to be publicly funded. The core Y-shaped network, for 400 km
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.