HS2 has revealed the first images of one of HS2’s largest construction sites in the Midlands, which is being prepared for the launch of a tunnel boring machine (TBM) that will dig under Long Itchington Wood, creating a one mile twin bore tunnel, before the route heads North and swings into Birmingham’s Curzon Street Station.

This key site on the Midlands section of the HS2 route is managed by the BBV Joint Venture (Balfour Beatty Group and VINCI Construction), who will be one of the biggest recruiters in the Midlands over the next two years, expecting to recruit 7,000 jobs to support the delivery of its HS2 programme of work.

There are currently 60 workers on site including student engineers and apprentices. BBV is also one of the first companies in the country to be supporting the delivery of the new T-Level Construction qualification. Twenty students from Walsall College will complete their 45-day industry placement with BBV working on the delivery of HS2.


Current work on the 1km sq site entails a large and deep excavation, with 250,000m3 of material being excavated in layers before being transported and deposited locally to form environmental embankments for the main line.

The 2,000 tonne tunnel boring machine, which has been manufactured in Germany by Herrenknecht, is due for delivery on site in early 2021, will be launched in Summer 2021 and completion of the boring will be mid 2022. The tunnel will be around 9-10 metres in diameter.

On this stretch of the route there are two tunnels being built by BBV – the other one is Bromford Tunnel. There are also 100 bridges, 35 viaducts, 36 cuttings and 70 bridge structures on this part of the route.

The Long Itchington wood North Portal

HS2 Minister Andrew Stephenson said:

“It’s exciting to see construction of HS2 underway. These works will not only deliver a world class high-speed railway improving connectivity across the Midlands and beyond, but will have a lasting impact on jobs, skills and businesses here in the UK as part of the government’s Plan for Jobs.

“The BBV joint venture will be one of the biggest recruiters in the region over the next two years, as the construction of HS2 Phase One creates 7,000 jobs across the Midlands. That underlines how vital HS2 is to levelling up prosperity and opportunity across the country, as we build back better from this pandemic.”