Background and milestones

Laing O’Rourke is founded on 166 years of experience. The history of Laing O’Rourke is one of energy, passion, ambition, people and teamwork. With origins stretching from 1848, the company has grown into an international organisation with operations in Canada, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia, delivering some of the most iconic construction projects in the world. London 2012, Heathrow Terminals 5 and 2, and a host of commercial, healthcare, defence and educational projects form an enviable portfolio of past successes. The company won many accolades for its achievements on the Staffordshire Alliance upgrade of the West Coast Main Line for Network Rail, and is currently completing several major projects for Crossrail, as well as further extensions of Manchester’s Metrolink network. Laing O'Rourke, in joint venture, is also working with EDF Energy as the main civil engineering construction partner for the Hinkley Point C new nuclear power station.   

The Murphy Group has been serving the UK since 1951 and has an enviable record of successful delivery in infrastructure projects. The 1970s saw the company’s first national rail reconstruction projects and, in the years that followed, Murphy worked on schemes including Stansted Airport rail tunnel and Waterloo International Terminal, as well as major infrastructure upgrade schemes across the UK rail network. In recent years the company has been involved in major projects that include high speed rail tunnels for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (HS1), tunnelling and underground power lines for London 2012 and, most recently, tunnelling beneath the River Thames for the south eastern branch of the Crossrail project. Murphy continues to grow and has operations across the world in the Middle East, Canada and Australia. 


High speed rail

Both LM partners have significant experience in the design and construction of rail infrastructure around the world.

Laing O'Rourke played a multidisciplinary role in HS1 – the UK’s first dedicated high speed railway line – and has been integral in critical high-speed-rail packages in Taiwan and Hong Kong, where its innovative tunnelling and station construction is changing the face of rail in the Far East.

Murphy’s expertise helped deliver twin rail tunnels beneath the River Thames for HS1, the UK’s first dedicated high speed line, and the company also played a key role in construction of the Waterloo International Terminal in London for Eurostar. 

Rail civil engineering

LM’s joint venture partners have created memorable and interesting railway stations, structures and associated developments.

Both Laing O'Rourke and Murphy were involved in creating the Waterloo International Terminal in London, the original London terminus for Eurostar. With the completion of HS1, Laing O’Rourke also played a key role in transforming St Pancras from a dark and gloomy domestic station to the current Eurostar international gateway.

Away from London, both companies continue to set new standards in rail infrastructure delivery.  Murphy is a highly regarded partner of Network Rail in its Control Period 5 (CP5) national UK infrastructure upgrade programme, a multi-billion pound portfolio of works, including a large volume of civil engineering, structures and earthworks schemes. Murphy has also been working on Network Rail’s National Electrification Programme.

Laing O’Rourke completed the £250m upgrade of the West Coast Main Line between Crewe and Stafford, the UK’s first alliance-based rail project and delivered under budget and over a year ahead of schedule. In Manchester, Laing O’Rourke is part of the MPT consortium that is working with Transport for Greater Manchester to undertake a £1.1bn upgrade to the city’s Metro network.

Two cranes lowering a rail bridge


Murphy's expertise in boring tunnels through challenging conditions has been invaluable on numerous rail schemes. So too has its capability to provide all of the associated civil structures, tunnel lining, ventilation, ancillary and consents works.

During the 1980s, the company delivered Stansted Airport’s first rail connection. Considerable infrastructure tunnelling work beneath London followed in the 1990s, which resulted in the company winning engineering awards. Working in partnership, Murphy constructed twin rail tunnels beneath the River Thames for the Channel Tunnel Rail link and the company played a key role in complex tunnelling in the infrastructure for the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games. These tunnels took high voltage power lines beneath the site and formed one of the major engineering contracts of the Games. Most recently, the company was appointed by Crossrail to deliver the new rail line beneath the River Thames in London to serve the new line’s Abbey Wood branch.

Laing O’Rourke has considerable experience in working underground, with significant highlights as part of the new station construction for Crossrail, including work at Bond Street (in a joint venture), Tottenham Court Road, Liverpool Street and Canary Wharf. In Hong Kong, the company is completing several major sub surface station projects for the MTR Corporation.

A tunnel boring machine in operation


Together, the LM team has designed, developed and delivered many of the most well-known and recognisable engineering and infrastructure projects in the UK and around the world. 

LM partners have worked in recent years on the design, construction and redevelopment of major passenger interchanges, individually huge infrastructure projects in their own right, including the highly acclaimed London Heathrow Terminals 2 and 5, St Pancras station, the new London Crossrail station at Canary Wharf, and the £35m so-called ‘flat pack’ Custom House Crossrail station in east London.

LM’s expertise extends to major project success in leading the development of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and expanding Manchester’s Metrolink network to three times its original size with new lines and stations, as well as numerous defence, healthcare, educational and commercial projects.   

Diversity of business

With a significant combined workforce of highly adept and committed employees, the LM partnership offers a highly resilient solution to the specialised rail infrastructure market.

By using an internal supply chain and directly employing its own people, LM can provide an integrated team, with greater levels of control and predictability than hiring sub-contractors. It has its own specialised precast, mechanical and electrical manufacturing facilities, which are currently helping to transform the rail and construction industries.

These aspects are complemented by our vast and diverse in-house plant, equipment and site accommodation solutions. From cranes of all types and sizes to piling rigs, tunnel boring machines (TBMs) and transport, LM offers the very latest in plant, bridge and tunnelling technologies.

From offices in Birmingham city centre, LM is ideally placed to serve the UK’s growing number of major rail infrastructure projects. We serve millions of passengers in multiple countries, and our wider projects and business interests reach out to infrastructure, systems and networks across the globe.