Home Contract News PORR / Aggregate Industries consortium wins HS2 modular track contract

PORR / Aggregate Industries consortium wins HS2 modular track contract

A partnership which includes PORR UK Ltd and Aggregate Industries UK has won a major contract to design and manufacture the modular track system for HS2.

The deal will see the slab track segments manufactured at a new factory near Shepton Mallet in Somerset, helping to create up to 500 jobs over the life of the contract. Worth £260 million, the contract will see the PORR consortium manufacture all of the track (excluding tunnels and some specialist structures) between London and Crewe, where HS2 joins the existing west coast mainline.

Using a modular construction system known as Slab Track Austria, the concrete slab track will be manufactured offsite in Somerset before being transported to site. Once installed, the rails are then fitted onto the slab track.

This type of system – which is used on several high-speed railways across the world – will reduce maintenance costs and improve performance in comparison to traditional ballasted track.

HS2’s procurement and commercial director David Poole said: “HS2 is designed to provide reliable high frequency, high capacity rail services for millions of people across the UK. Slab track will provide long-term value for money with lower maintenance costs and greater reliability and that’s why I’m pleased that today we are awarding that contract to the PORR consortium.

“This award – and the announcement of the new factory at Somerset – is another example of how HS2 is already supporting companies across the UK, creating jobs and helping the economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic.”

PORR is one of Austria’s leading engineering companies and one of the first companies in the world to develop a slab track system. PORR’s slab track system has been used to lay more than 780 kilometres of track worldwide – with its first stretch operating almost maintenance free since being laid in Langenlebern, Austria, in 1989.

Aggregate Industries UK is one of Britain’s leading providers of construction materials, employing more than 3,700 people at 300 sites across the UK. The new factory is planned to be built at an existing Aggregate Industries site in Somerset.

Simon Jukes, managing director of PORR UK Ltd said: “The PORR Consortium is delighted to have the opportunity to contribute to this major contract and will bring a wealth of technical expertise and experience in high speed rail and slab track to the HS2 project. We are looking forward to working collaboratively with the HS2 team to deliver a world class sustainable rail infrastructure for the United Kingdom.”

A separate Track Systems contractor – due to be appointed in 2022 – will have overall responsibility for managing and coordinating the design and installation of the complex rail systems in each section of the route. This includes the installation of the slab track manufactured by the PORR consortium and the interface with signalling and overhead power supply.

Separate specialist contractors will also deliver the rails, switches and crossings, high voltage power supply, communications and mechanical and electrical systems.

Nigel Wordsworth BSc(Hons) MCIJhttp://therailengineer.com

SPECIALIST AREAS Rolling stock, mechanical equipment, project reports, executive interviews


Nigel Wordsworth graduated with an honours degree in Mechanical Engineering from Nottingham University, after which he joined the American aerospace and industrial fastener group SPS Technologies. After a short time at the research laboratories in Pennsylvania, USA, Nigel became responsible for applications engineering to industry in the UK and Western Europe. At this time he advised on various engineering projects, from Formula 1 to machine tools, including a particularly problematic area of bogie design for the HST.

A move to the power generation and offshore oil supply sector followed as Nigel became director of Entwistle-Sandiacre, a subsidiary of the Australian-owned group Aurora plc. At the same time, Nigel spent ten years as a Technical Commissioner with the RAC Motor Sports Association, responsible for drafting and enforcing technical regulations for national and international motor racing series.

Joining Rail Engineer in 2008, Nigel’s first assignment was a report on new three-dimensional mobile mapping and surveying equipment, swiftly followed by a look at vegetation control machinery. He continues to write on a variety of topics for most issues.

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