UK construction firms Carillion and Kier have entered into joint venture (JV) partnership with France’s Eiffage to bid for the delivery of the UK’s HS2 rail project.
The JV of the three construction companies aims to be shortlisted to bid for the first set of tenders in September.
All three firms have expertise in the design, construction, operation, financing and maintenance of railway networks in Europe, including high-speed rail systems and their associated infrastructure.
The £42.6bn rail project has divided opinion across the UK due to its rising costs and the possible impact on the countryside and local communities.
According to a report from the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in 2013, the construction costs of the HS2 rail project could increase to more than £80bn, almost double the current estimated cost of £42.6bn.
The proposed HS2 line would run from London to Birmingham, the West Midlands, Manchester and Leeds.
Construction of the first phase is scheduled to start in 2017, with the first high-speed trains expected in service by 2026, while the full Y-shaped network is planned to open by 2032.
Carillion chief executive Richard Howson said: "We look forward to working together to support the delivery of HS2, which is a vital addition to the UK rail network."
The UK construction firms Kier and Carillion are currently involved in London’s £16bn Crossrail project, which will provide a rail link from Heathrow Airport through London to its eastern suburbs. It is due to open in 2018.
Eiffage is currently building the Bretagne to Pays de la Loire project, one of Europe’s latest high-speed rail projects, which is scheduled to be completed in May 2017.