Spanish company wins major HS2 contract

In a surprise move, the Anglo-Swedish-German joint venture building HS2’s London tunnels have chosen Spanish company Pacadar to supply the tunnel linings.

Skanska Costain Strabag Joint Venture (SCS JV) has awarded Pacadar the first of two contracts for the manufacture of concrete precast tunnel segments.

Pacadar is no newcomer to the UK – it already has a factory in the Isle of Grain, Kent, and recently provided 7.5 miles of tunnel segments for the Thames Tideway Project – but this is the largest UK contract it has ever won. Although the value of the contract was not disclosed, it will support 180 jobs in the UK.

Production will begin at the Isle of Grain factory in January 2022, just before SCS JV’s two tunnel boring machines get to work building the tunnels. The segments will be transported by rail to the tunnel boring machines’ launch site in West Ruislip, where they will begin construction of the five-mile twin-bored Northolt Tunnel West.

A massive 160,000 cubic metres of concrete will go into the making of the segments. Each segment weighs seven tonnes, and each ring of the tunnel has seven segments and a key. The twin-bore tunnels will cover the 13 miles between Euston and West Ruislip, making 26 miles of tunnels. The first tunnel is set to be completed in 2024.

Pacadar’s state-of-the-art factory with rail access helped the company win the contract. SCS JV managing director James Richardson said that delivering all the segments by rail would save one million lorry journeys, helping the project to cut carbon and reduce its environmental footprint.