HS2 is beginning the process of building the project’s central control centre and maintenance depot, which is a real milestone and a huge long-term opportunity for Birmingham’s Washwood Heath area. With main works civils construction now well underway, HS2 Ltd is putting the specialist team in place to support operation of the new railway, which will create around 500 long-term jobs in the area.

The winning bidder will work with HS2 Ltd to transform the 30 hectare brown field site into the control centre of the HS2 network. From here, next to the main line into Birmingham Curzon Street, HS2’s fleet of bespoke high-speed trains will be serviced and maintained, 24 hours a day, seven days a week – ready to provide an unparalleled level of frequency and reliability for passengers across the UK.

The depot will include a 40,000m2 Rolling Stock Maintenance Building, Carriage Wash, Automatic Vehicle Inspection Building and 14 sidings where trains can be stored overnight.

Also on the same site will be the Network Integrated Control Centre, the centre of the network’s state-of-the-art signalling and control systems as well as office buildings for cleaners and drivers.

Once operational, Phase One and 2a will have a fleet of at least 54 trains which will be based at Washwood Heath. These 200-metre-long units can be doubled up to create 400-metre-long trains and will serve destinations beyond the HS2 network – like Liverpool, Preston, Carlisle and Glasgow – via a connection to the existing West Coast Main Line at Crewe.

Bidders are expected to be shortlisted for the single-stage design and build contract in the summer with contract award in 2023.