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Fri October 30 2020

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Austrian system wins £260m HS2 slab track contract

5 Oct An Austrian-Swiss partnership has won a £260m contract to supply slab track segments for the HS2 high-speed railway.

Porr's Slab Track Austria system has already been used to lay more than 780km of track worldwide
Porr's Slab Track Austria system has already been used to lay more than 780km of track worldwide

Austria’s Porr, which set up a UK branch office in 2016, has teamed up with LafargeHolcim’s UK subsidiary Aggregate Industries to win the contract to design and manufacture the modular track system.

Using a modular construction system known as Slab Track Austria, the concrete slab track will be manufactured offsite at a new purpose-built factory at an existing Aggregate Industries site near Shepton Mallet in Somerset.  Once delivered to site and installed, the rails are then fitted onto the slab track.

Porr’s slab track system has been used to lay more than 780km of track worldwide – with its first stretch laid in Langenlebern, Austria, in 1989. It is expected to perform better and cost less to maintain than traditional ballasted track.

HS2 Ltd’s procurement and commercial director, David Poole said: “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.

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“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.”

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 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.

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