Initial bidding has opened for £1.55bn of mechanical and electrical work on lines between London, Birmingham and Crewe. The contracts involve track and overhead catenary system works, tunnel and lineside work, including tunnel ventilation.

The process will select HS2 Ltd’s main contractor on phases 1 and 2a of the project. A pre-qualification questionnaire has been released before the tendering process begins in full. A group of appropriate contractors will then be chosen to bid at a later date.

The first part of the questionnaire focusses of the construction section work, while the second is limited to the £330m lineside and tunnel M&E and ventilation works, including the installation of safety equipment, lighting and alarm system.

HS2 Ltd Chief Executive, Mark Thurston commented: “We’re looking for the smartest, most cost-effective solutions that the industry has to offer through these contracts, which form part of the overall railway system for HS2″.