HS2: Supported by Stainless Steel

Plans to build a new high-speed rail line linking major British cities continue with the recent government announcement of the contractors who will take responsibility for the first phase. HS2, as the planned line has been dubbed, will link London and Birmingham.

HS2 by Numbers

  • The contracts to build bridges, tunnels and embankments along the line’s first stretch are worth £6.6bn

  • The UK firms named by the government are Carillion, Balfour Beatty and Costain, who between them will create 16,000 new jobs

  • Trains using the new line will be up to 400m long

  • Each train will provide as many as 1,100 seats on each journey

  • Comfortably surpassing even the fastest train operating speeds in Europe, HS2 trains will travel at up to 250mph

  • Trains will run up to 14 times an hour in each direction, equating to nearly 15,000 seats per hour; this is three times current capacity

  • Building the HS2 line is predicted to cost around £56bn

  • The first phase of the railway is due to open by December 2026

  • Further phases linking Manchester and Leeds to the HS2 line will begin construction by 2025, with the line opening by 2032

  • Journeys between London and Birmingham will be cut from 1hr 21 mins to 49 mins, between London and Manchester down from 2hr 8mins to just over an hour

  • HS2 could transfer 4.5m journeys per year from air travel and 9m from roads

The entire HS2 line, not to mention the new high-speed trains that will use it, will make extensive use of stainless steel in in their construction. In the early stages, tunneling work will involve great usage of rebar which is usually held in place using stainless steel wire. Stainless steel is the material of choice due to its superior strength combined with an excellent resistance to corrosion. The metal will also avoid any unsightly staining of the exterior concrete.

Speaking about the HS2 project, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling commented: "As well as providing desperately needed new seats and better connecting our major cities, HS2 will help rebalance our economy."

Once again, as with countless construction projects all over the world, stainless steel will play a leading role. Find out more about stainless steel wire on our website.

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