Background and milestones

Laing O’Rourke is founded on well over 166 years of experience. The company’s history 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 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 successes.

The company won many accolades for its achievements on the Staffordshire Alliance upgrade of the West Coast Main Line for Network Rail, and completed 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 was 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. 

Working in partnership on HS2’s phase one enabling works, LM continues to deliver a diverse programme along an 80km trace across the West Midlands.

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.

Work on HS2’s phase one has involved demolition, site remediation, ecology  and environmental habitat creation, and detailed engineering and design in the creation of new bridges and associated structures. 


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 stations at Canary Wharf, Tottenham Court Road, Liverpool Street, as well as  and the 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.

Both Laing O’Rourke and Murphy have access to an internal supply chain and directly employ their own staff and operatives, providing an integrated team, with greater levels of control and predictability than hiring sub-contractors. A specific benefit is the Explore factory - specialised precast, mechanical and electrical manufacturing facility, which is 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 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.