High Speed 2

High Speed 2 (HS2) is a new high speed rail network connecting Northern and Southern England. It will join eight of Britain’s largest cities, creating around 25,000 new jobs and bringing economic benefits worth over £92bn to the UK. It will drive the development of innovative and sustainable solutions within a major project environment and improve the skills and employability of a generation of new apprentices. Nichols is helping to ensure that HS2 is delivered in the most sustainable, innovative and inclusive way possible achieving value for money and enhanced connectivity for the UK.

Challenge
Significant parts of the UK transport network are full to capacity, making it difficult for people, goods and services to move efficiently around the country and beyond. The £55.7bn HS2 railway will provide 345 miles of new track, connect eight of the UK’s ten largest cities and help ease pressure on national transport networks, bringing the country together.

Delivering a new railway safely, on time, and to budget whilst integrating it with the existing rail network and being sensitive to local communities and their environment is a significant challenge. This challenge is extended by the huge importance of this project for the future of the UK.

Experience
In 2011, Nichols led the Project Assessment Review of the £27bn Phase 1 route from Euston to Birmingham. Our work was a critical element in providing assurance to the Secretary of State, ultimately enabling HS2 Ltd to deposit the Parliamentary Bill that led to successful Royal Assent.

Since 2015 Nichols has fulfilled a number of strategic roles for HS2 Ltd on both station and infrastructure elements of the programme. We supported the procurement strategy for complex railway systems, including consideration of potential private finance opportunities. We co-ordinated the response to the Cabinet Secretary’s review of scope and cost, and the production of the subsequent interim baseline.

We Chaired the Undertakings and Assurances Compliance Committee, providing oversight of, and confidence in, the process for discharging these binding commitments given to Parliament during passage of the Hybrid Bill. In addition, we supported the Director of Commercial Strategy to develop and execute a number of third party agreements arising from these Undertakings and Assurances. In 2018, we enabled the timely handover from the Secretary of State to HS2 Ltd of the first tranche of land at Old Oak Common and provided critical input in brokering a deal with Heathrow Express to vacate their Old Oak Common depot.

We initiated and continue to co-ordinate the development of the Phase 1 baseline (schedule, capital, and operational cost and benefits) that will give confidence in the Full Business Case submission to HM Treasury. If this is successful, HS2 will be able to begin the procurement of multi £bn contracts to deliver the main works.

We are currently providing a number of Sponsor roles and have successfully improved sometimes difficult relationships with key external stakeholders, constructively challenging those accountable for delivery and ultimately enabling outcomes and benefits to be realised.

A force for regeneration

We have played a key role in the project’s southern Senior Leadership team encompassing project delivery, fostering team building, embedding the inclusivity agenda, and mentoring. Through our exceptional sponsorship expertise and experience in a number of sectors, we have developed the Sponsorship model for HS2 and are working to progressively embed this within the organisation.

We have expanded our Sponsorship service offering to include programme delivery services to the Enabling Works contract for the southern part of HS2. This technically complex and politically high profile issue affects many communities along the route. We have been at the heart of the community engagement and instrumental in developing a new policy to compensate residents who are likely to be affected by prolonged disturbance caused by HS2.

Benefits
As this high profile project moves forward, Nichols is proud to continue acting as a trusted advisor to HS2 Ltd, contributing our experience and supporting on project sponsorship and delivery, lifecycle management, requirements management, and programme assurance and governance.

Nichols always strives to build client capability, leaving our clients better equipped and better able to manage future challenges. Nichols has actively supported HS2 to integrate good practice and better ways of working to assure the success of this iconic, challenging project.

We continue to support HS2 Ltd in developing its own capability, enabling the company to exercise effective internal sponsorship over the programme going forward. Our expertise has been instrumental in successfully establishing HS2 as one of the world’s largest infrastructure projects.

Stories

Transport for London London 2012 Olympic
and Paralympic Games
Crossrail Department for Transport Oslo Airport High Speed 2 Nuclear Decommissioning Authority Sellafield Office of Rail Regulation

Iconic Stories

Jubilee Line Extension Highways Agency Docklands Light Railway Hong Kong West
Kowloon Expressway
AVIVA Crossrail Early Years Department for Transport Intercity Express Programme Transport for London
Capital Programmes
Delivery Capability
Hong Kong
Highways Department
Network Rail Black Diamond A Major UK Bank Anglo American