The U.K. government in late February announced a plan for an estimated $52-billion project to extend the country's only high-speed railroad northward to Birmingham and beyond. It aims to start construction of the line, dubbed HS2, later this decade, and hopes to see trains start running by 2026. “Countries across Europe and Asia are already pressing ahead with ambitious plans for high-speed rail,” said Transport Secretary Philip Hammond, launching the five-month public information process. “We cannot afford to be left behind.” In a first phase of the proposed Y-shaped system, the line would be extended from London by 225 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.