A consortium of Porr UK and Aggregate Industries UK has secured a £260m contract to deliver a modular track system for the High Speed 2 (HS2) project in the UK.

As agreed, the consortium will design and manufacture slab track segments for the high speed line.

Overall, the Porr consortium will deliver all track, excluding some special structures, for the line between London and Crewe.

The concrete slab track will be manufactured using a modular construction system called Slab Track Austria and will then be transported to the site for installation. Subsequently, the rails will be fitted onto the slab track.

The system is said to be cost-effective and ensures better performance compared to traditional ballasted track.

A new factory will be developed at an Aggregate Industries site near Shepton Mallet in Somerset for manufacturing these slab track segments. The contract will create up to 500 jobs.

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HS2 procurement and commercial director David Poole said: “HS2 is designed to provide reliable high-frequency, high-capacity rail services for millions of people across the UK. 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.

“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.”

HS2 will appoint a separate track systems contractor in 2022 to manage the design and installation works of the complex rail systems in each section of the route. It will include the installation of the PORR consortium-manufactured slab track.

Last month, Booth Industries secured a £36m contract to deliver tunnel safety doors for the HS2 project.