The UK’s High Speed 2 (HS2) has commenced the search for a specialist contractor to deliver the signalling and control systems that will help in the operation of the rail service.

The contractor will be responsible for the design and construction of the signalling systems that will control trains travelling between London, Birmingham and Crewe at speeds up to 360km/h.

HS2 plans to use high-tech signalling system, rather than traditional coloured lights, which will relay information to the cab that will permit faster and more frequent services.

The Control, Command, Signalling (CCS) and Traffic Management (TM) Systems contracts are valued at £540m.

The contracts include design, manufacture, supply, installation, supervision, inspection, safety authorisation, testing, commissioning and maintenance until the system is handed over for trial operations.

They also include a potential extension to cover Phase 2b, works for the Phase 2b alterations at Euston Station, and the provision of technical support services.

HS2 will announce the shortlisted candidates next year and the contract will be awarded in 2022.

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HS2 Procurement and Commercial director David Poole said: “Our state-of-the-art Command and Control Systems and Traffic Management systems will allow HS2 to offer fast, frequent and reliable low-carbon journeys for millions of people every year.

“I look forward to our team working with the suppliers who come forward and together ensuring that we deliver the best quality and value for the project.”

Last month, HS2 launched a search for a contractor to design, deliver and maintain 300 lifts and escalators for four new stations.

The UK Department for Transport (DfT) gave the Notice to Proceed for the construction of HS2.