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HS2 construction worker stars in ‘Railway Heroes’ museum exhibition


Photo courtesy of Charlotte Graham.

Lin Qi, a 26-year-old assistant project manager from Birmingham who works for HS2’s construction partner Laing O’Rourke and J. Murphy joint venture (LMJV), is one of 16 ‘Railway Heroes’ chosen to star in a brand-new exhibition at The National Railway Museum to celebrate the vital role played by railway key workers during the pandemic.

The new exhibition launched online on Monday 15 February, ahead of the National Railway Museum in York and Locomotion in Shildon opening their doors to the public. Lin’s story is one of the first to feature, charting the crucial role that she is playing in the delivery of Britain’s new high-speed railway.

Work to deliver Europe’s biggest engineering project has continued at pace during the pandemic and Lin’s role, managing the programme of a construction build, has been no exception. Lin was part of the team that delivered the very first permanent infrastructure components for the HS2 project, which saw the installation of two giant modular bridges spanning the M42 and A446 in Solihull and Warwickshire.

Lin studied architecture at Bath University ahead of joining Laing O’Rourke’s graduate scheme as a planner in 2017. Her job within the engineering project is complex, but she likens it to constructing a bicycle – taking in all elements including the design, sourcing of materials, agreeing costs, making the components and then putting them all together. Her role encompasses all five elements to ensure the final product is assembled and delivered on time.

On being selected to take part in the exhibition, Lin said:

“It was an honour to be asked to take part and fly the flag for LM and the region, and I hope to inspire more young people, particularly women, to consider a career in the construction and engineering industry.

“Five years ago, I wouldn’t have imagined I’d be working in this sector, and on a project the sheer scale of HS2, but I love being part of a big team and helping to deliver this unprecedented UK railway.”

Judith McNicol, Director of the National Railway Museum, said: 

“This exhibition is an opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to the thousands of railway key workers who have kept the country going over the last year. The stories featured in the exhibition are an inspiration and fully deserving of wider recognition.” 

Lin is passionate about the development of future talent and ensuring that young professionals chose to stay in the West Midlands to realise their career ambitions. Outside of work she’s heavily involved in Birmingham’s Professional Services construction industry committee, which is designed to nurture and retain local talent.

Simon Russell, Project Director at LMJV said:

“Lin is part of a generation of bright and confident young people that are building their careers on this exciting project. She’s an excellent role model and we’re hugely proud of her achievements to date, and that she’s been chosen to be part of this exhibition, to demonstrate how we’re preparing the route for Britain’s new high-speed railway”.

To view the new exhibition, which features portrait photographs from renowned press photographer Charlotte Graham, visit

New modular bridge installed over M42 ahead of schedule


Laing O’Rourke joint venture LM has completed the installation of a 65-metre bridge, spanning the width of the M42, ahead of schedule today (9 August) – the first permanent structure to be delivered for HS2.

In an engineering feat led by British engineering specialist Expanded, working on behalf of HS2 enabling works contractor, LMJV (Laing O’Rourke and J. Murphy & Sons Joint Venture), the 2,750 tonne bridge structure was carried along the motorway on a self-propelled modular transporter. The 448-wheel transporter took just one hour 45 minutes to move the bridge 150 metres into position, where it was affixed to a composite concrete deck to complete the overall bridge structure.
The successful installation marks the completion of the first of four bridges to be built close to the new Interchange Station. It will form part of the major remodelling of the regional road network to improve the circulation of traffic around the HS2 railway line and connect the existing road network to the new Interchange Station.
Mark Thurston, HS2 Ltd’s CEO said:

“This new road bridge is the first permanent structure to be installed along the route of Britain’s new railway, so today represents an important milestone for the project and the West Midlands region. 

“Constructing the bridge off site and using innovative engineering practices to install it over the motorway enabled us to carry out the work in just two days, keeping disruption to a minimum for road users”.

Simon Russell, LM project director, said:

“This is British construction design and engineering innovation at its finest. Major components of the bridge and its supports were built offsite under safe, high quality conditions, then transported to site for assembly. Advanced digital capabilities allowed us to design all elements of the structure in a virtual world, before building it for real. Great work by the team for delivering the placement ahead of schedule!”

The new road bridge over the M42 was built using a  Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) strategy. Expanded Structures led the construction programme on site, with 1,610 tonnes of precast and insitu concrete delivered, including 115 modular abutment shells and 298 precast deck components.

These major structural elements of the bridge supports and deck were made at Laing O’Rourke’s Centre for Modern Construction (formerly EIP) in Nottinghamshire.  Regional supplier Cleveland Bridge supplied 1,130 tonnes of steel plate girders. 
The modular bridge strategy has been developed by Expanded over several years and was successfully implemented on several major projects, such as the A453 upgrade and the Staffordshire Alliance upgrade to the West Coast Main Line.  Digital design and modular construction methodology have the potential to dramatically improve delivery on major infrastructure projects.
Peter Lyons, Business Unit Leader, Expanded, said:

“Offsite manufacturing and modular construction offer substantial benefits in terms of greater efficiency, higher quality, safety, and reduced time on site and disruption to local communities and road users.  By delivering factory made components and assembling them on site, we have constructed abutment walls in 5 days, compared to between 8-12 weeks for traditional methods, achieved with a site team averaging just eight operatives.” 

Later this year, a similar operation will take place to position a bridge over the A446, also as part of remodelling of road networks around the future Interchange Station.  The LM team will also be installing two further bridges which will span the high-speed line itself.  

Mr Thurston was joined on site by West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street; Solihull MBC leader, Councillor Ian Courts; MP for Meriden, Saquib Bhatti and Midlands Connect’s Director, Maria Machancoses. The delegation joined forces to mark the engineering milestone, recognising it as an important first step in cementing the West Midlands’ status at the heart of the HS2 network.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands said:

“Seeing major construction activity like this in Solihull is hugely encouraging as it shows HS2 is now truly underway. In just a few years, the HS2 station at Interchange and further investments in public transport will help make Solihull one of the best-connected places in the UK. Today’s work also comes at a critical time for the West Midlands, as we look to bounce back economically from the coronavirus crisis. Major infrastructure projects like HS2 have a critical role to play as they help stimulate demand and create and secure local jobs for local people”.

Over 9,000 people and 2,000 UK businesses have been part of the HS2 journey so far, and it is estimated that the project will support at least another 20,000 roles as it hits peak construction. 

North East engineering company delivering for HS2


Cleveland Bridge, a world-leading steel engineering company involved in the construction of the Wembley Arch and the Shard, have produced twenty-four massive steel girders that will form part of the first bridges to be built on the HS2 project.

In 2019, County Durham-based Cleveland Bridge won a major contract on Britain’s largest infrastructure project to supply 1,130 tonnes worth of steel girders to HS2’s early works joint venture LM (Laing O’Rouke / Murphy), which is constructing four modular bridges at the site of HS2’s new Interchange station in Solihull.

Sixteen of the 20 metres girders have been pre-assembled in the Cleveland Bridge factory as 50 tonne pairs to minimise the amount of delivery vehicles on the road. During the last week, specialist haulage equipment transported the girders to the site, where they will be assembled in a purpose built area using 8,500 high-strength bolts, to make a 65 metre single span.

The assembled steel bridge structure, which will span the M42, will work in conjunction with a composite concrete deck to provide the overall bridge structure. Once the fully-decked bridge has been completed, this 2,750 tonne structure will be moved into its final position over the motorway.

UK specialist engineering company Expanded has supported the bridge delivery for LM, with the modular supports for the bridge on either side of the motorway made offsite in Nottinghamshire by Explore Manufacturing.    

The two modular bridges are being constructed near the site of the new HS2 Interchange station, forming new connections to a triangle of land formed by the M42, A45 and A452. They are the first permanent structures to be built by HS2 and will span the M42 and A446 respectively, with a further two bridges to take roads over the new high speed line. They are part of a remodelling of the road network in the area to divert the roads out of the way of the new HS2 line and at the same time connect the current road network to the new station.

Based at a 22-acre site in Darlington, Cleveland Bridge employs around 250 people, with the vast majority from the local area. The company also employs more than 15 apprentices, a number of whom have been working on the HS2 contract.

Chris Droogan, Managing Director of Cleveland Bridge UK, said:

“We’re incredibly proud to play a part in the delivery of the UK’s largest infrastructure project and this is a significant addition to our track-record for producing structures for iconic developments around the world.  It reflects our strategy to maintain our position at the heart of the development of major infrastructure, which utilises our extensive facilities and the capabilities of our highly-experienced workforce, while creating opportunities to develop future generations through our award-winning apprenticeship programme. We’ve been very conscious of the need to continue work during the COVID-19 crisis and have put extra measures in place to ensure we met government guidelines and follow best practice. This has enabled us to continue operating at 100%, which has been key to us staying on track to deliver our product on time.”

Simon Russell, LMJV Project Director said:

“Digital design and offsite manufacturing have enabled us to develop these bridges virtually, and then assemble the components on site.  The beams will be assembled and then the concrete deck and parapets added to form the new bridge in a custom worksite beside the motorway.  We are using modular concrete components produced off site to form the deck and parapets, which improves programme reliability and reduces the amount of on-site working. The composite steel and concrete superstructure will be driven into place this summer. This is engineering innovation at its best – the assembly of high quality components, built in safe factory environments, and delivered to site when needed, mean less impact on the local community, fewer vehicle movements, and greater construction efficiency for the project. We’re proud to be at the heart of this landmark moment in HS2’s delivery.”

Bill Price, HS2’s Head of Enabling Works, said:

“It’s fantastic to see construction work stepping up a gear on the first permanent structures to be built by HS2, and to see how this work is creating jobs and opportunities for people right across the country. Businesses and employees in every region of the UK are helping to build HS2, and over 9,000 jobs are now supported by the programme, with 98% of over 2,000 contracts going to UK registered businesses like Cleveland Bridge. These highway works are a major project in their own right, involving construction workers, specialist engineers, designers and project managers. We’re utilising cutting edge technology and world-leading construction techniques such as this modular bridge design, to deliver the highest level of quality and efficiency as we build Britain’s new railway.”

Launch of HSR Group Apprentice Network


High Speed Rail Group welcomed over thirty apprentices to Birmingham this week for the launch of a new Apprentice Network.

Launched as part of National Apprenticeship Week, HS2 Ltd CEO and former apprentice Mark Thurston welcomed the apprentices, saying “HS2 will develop the next generation of technical skills to not only design and build HS2, but to deliver Britain’s future infrastructure ambitions, and leave a lasting skills legacy for the country. I started my own career as a technical apprentice working on the London Underground. It framed my outlook and I learned a huge amount from the people around me. I’m a great believer in networking, mentors and mentoring – which is why I fully support the High Speed Rail Group’s Apprentice Network and look forward to seeing how it will prosper in the years to come.”

Both Laing O’Rourke and J. Murphy & Sons Ltd are members of the High Speed Rail Group, and two of our apprentices joined the event.

The network aims to connect apprentices from across the HSR space and will look to demonstrate that the rail and infrastructure sector is a high quality place to work. Apprentices have a unique experience at work and network members will use their own first-hand experiences to communicate best practice in the sector.

Isabel Coman, Director at High Speed Rail Group, said: “ we are delighted to have launched this new Apprentice Network, which will provide apprentices working on the HS2 project with support and guidance around their learning and working practices.  We hope that by providing apprentices with a space in which they can liaise with peers, as well as getting advice from more senior industry colleagues, HSRG are contributing to the delivery not only of HS2, but future major infrastructure projects that the Government is ambitious to complete.”

With almost 2,000 apprentices currently working on the scheme, HS2 will provide a once in a lifetime opportunity to train and upskill the next generation of young people, who will deliver future infrastructure and rolling stock projects. HS2 is already supporting 11,000 jobs, is set to support 15,000 jobs by year end and 30,000 jobs at peak construction and train building activity.

For further information, click here: HSR Group Apprentice Network.

HSRG apprentice event HSRG apprentice event HSRG apprentice event HSRG apprentice event

Community Event

Curzon Street Station Design Information


Look out for our information boards based at New Street Station and Millennium Point showcasing the design of the new HS2 Curzon Street Station. If you would like to discuss the design, drop in to one of our open sessions to talk to the Curzon Street Station design team.

High Speed Two (HS2) is the new high speed railway for Britain.

Better by Design – LM achieves independent endorsement for carbon reduction


A national carbon reduction standard has been achieved for the Laing O’Rourke and J. Murphy & Sons Ltd team working on route preparations for the HS2 high speed rail project.

LM, a joint venture of two of the UK’s largest engineering and construction companies, has achieved PAS 2080 third party verification from Lloyd’s Register for Quality Assurance (LRQA), for reducing carbon usage in its £500m enabling works programme in the West Midlands.

LM’s task is to clear an 80km corridor for the new high speed line in and around Birmingham, with construction of major road and rail bridges and interchanges at several locations. Demolition of empty buildings and new habitat creation project are also part of LM’s remit, so that when main construction commences, work can proceed at pace.    

The construction industry is widely regarded as a negative hotspot for carbon use, especially due to the quantities of concrete and steel used.  Working with expert advisers DJV (WSP & Ramboll), LM is predicting an 18% reduction in carbon against baseline, with a target of 30% set across all projects in its portfolio.

“Integrated planning with our designers, our client and most importantly our supply chain has made this substantial reduction possible,” said LM head of sustainability Rachael Riley. “ By reducing the use of materials, or replacing them with low carbon alternatives – all  identified and agreed with designers and suppliers early in the delivery construction process, we’ve been able to plan our work with carbon reduction in mind.  This helps to make a positive impact on our performance, by planning to perform better from the outset, thus making savings not only easier, but also making us more efficient as well.”

DJV is LM’s sustainability advisor and their lead carbon specialist, Mike Hardisty, has played a key role in assessing the construction programme designs and managing areas where carbon can be saved.  

Some of the initiatives identified include:

  • Prefabrication of major components off site – reduces vehicle movements and site based construction
  • Retention and reuse of existing site assets wherever possible
  • Use of low temperature asphalt
  • Use of concrete products with the highest possible concrete replacement content
  • Procurement of low carbon steel
  • Storage and reuse of subsoils on site 

Finding new uses for waste materials


LM, working with HS2 to prepare the route for Phase One of the high speed line in the West Midlands, has been clearing large areas of former industrial premises in readiness for eventual construction.

At Washwood Heath in Birmingham, the former railway works is being cleared, and will have a new life as the depot and maintenance facility for HS2’s trains.

As we’ve been clearing the site, recycling and reuse have been a key element of the demolition process. The bricks are sorted and graded, and will find a second life in new buildings across the region. Metals are also separated, and will be melted down to find new use.  Even wood waste, including redundant pallets, can be recycled.

Working together with Jericho Woodshack, a community enterprise has benefitted hugely from the donation of wood materials.  Click on this link to find out all about them.

HS2 and supply chain recognised at National Equality and Inclusivity Awards


HS2 and its Tier One suppliers won big at the Employers Network for Equality & Inclusivity (ENEI) Awards. The awards recognise organisations whose initiatives and achievements demonstrate a commitment to providing an inclusive environment where individuals can be themselves at work. HS2 came away with two awards, a Gold in both the Inclusive Employer, & Disability Confident categories.

The Birmingham-based, LM joint venture was awarded the ‘Team of the Year’ and ‘Small Employer of the Year’ at the awards. LM, a joint venture of Laing O’Rourke and J. Murphy & Sons Ltd, is delivering the preparatory engineering and construction work for HS2’s Phase One across Birmingham and the West Midlands.  The team is based in Birmingham and has approx. 200 staff currently based in the city.

Mark Lomas, Head of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI), from HS2 said: “HS2 sets ambitious EDI requirements for our supply chain. It’s wonderful to see our combined efforts recognised for these ongoing efforts and sustained investment that are helping us to deliver a legacy benefit of improved EDI practice across the sector.”

Birmingham based LM received accolades that recognise their work to encourage and celebrate social differences in the workplace, creating diversity across their team, and throughout its wider supply chain. LM is already recognised as the highest performing contractor on the high speed rail project when it comes to equality, diversity and inclusivity, with a workforce that is 47% female, 16% Black, Asian, minority & ethnic (BAME), and 10% disabled (including supply chain).

Over the past year, LM has achieved:

  • 704 days of work placements
  • 180 days of school engagement
  • 84 days engagement with the National College for High Speed Rail
  • 31 workless people supported into employment
  • 8 apprentices joined the LM team – through LM directly or through Supply Chain
  • 11 existing apprentices in LM and Supply Chain
  • 12 individuals supported through professional status attainment
  • Accreditation with Disability Confident
  • An EDI International Standard to allow disabled people or those with learning difficulties to engage with our website
  • 10 Archaeology trainees
  • 10 deaf students from a Midlands school on a work based placement through the Deaf & Blind Cultural Centre

“These are incredible achievements for our small team, and I’m so proud that their hard work and dedication has been recognised at a national level,” said LM project director Richard Kirkham. “HS2 is a transformation project in so many ways, and creating opportunities for talented people – whatever their background – is vital for our industry.  LM’s Claire Brough, Naheem Ahmed and Naomi Bates are doing sterling work and fully deserve these awards – construction and engineering are key to the UK’s future, and their achievements are helping grow the talent pool for the future.”

HS2 reaches 9,000 jobs (HS2 Press Release)


HS2 Ltd today confirmed that work on Britain’s new high speed railway is supporting 9,000 jobs around the country. The news comes as work on the route from London to Birmingham continues to gather pace, with activity on over 250 work sites.

Over 2,000 firms across the UK now have contracts with HS2, 70% of them SMEs and 98% of them British. At peak construction, over 30,000 people will be needed to design and build the railway. Since Royal Assent in 2017, there have been 324 apprenticeships within HS2 Ltd and the supply chain.

Activity across the first phase of the route is part of HS2’s enabling works. These are designed to prepare the way for viaducts, embankments, stations and ultimately the railway line itself. Works include land clearance, demolitions, tree planting, archaeology, utility diversions, and environmental mitigations, and much of this is centred around HS2’s new station sites in Birmingham, Old Oak Common and Euston.

Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, said: “Delivering HS2 is a manifesto commitment. Today’s announcement shows HS2 is happening and is yet another example of how this government is making sure Britain works for everyone, delivering jobs and growth across the country. And this is just the beginning. At its peak HS2 will directly provide 30,000 jobs not only on the route but across the UK and when ready will deliver the vital extra capacity – both new intercity capacity and in the space it releases for freight and intra-urban commuter services on existing lines – and connections needed to not only drive productivity growth but to deliver regeneration across the Midlands, North of England and beyond.”

Mark Thurston, Chief Executive of HS2 Ltd, said: “HS2 is more than a railway, it’s also an opportunity to leave a lasting legacy for the country. The jobs and skills that we will create in every corner of the country will give us an industry to be proud of, and one that we can export to other countries. As work gathers pace on the project, the jobs and opportunities for British businesses to get involved mean the benefits are here and now. Britain once led the world in railway engineering, and it can once again be at its forefront through HS2.”

Matthew Fell, Chief UK Policy Director at CBI, said: “HS2 is a critical piece of national infrastructure, central to the country’s future prosperity. It offers a golden opportunity to boost economies across the North and Midlands, creating thousands of new jobs - both during construction and for years to come - by attracting investment from home and abroad.”

The Curzon Street site in Birmingham

This site, which will be the home of the city’s new landmark station, is spearheading multi-million pound investment and regeneration proposals as a result of HS2’s arrival. The station site, and surrounding Eastside district, which offers the first glimpse of the city for millions of passengers arriving by train, is filled with cranes and plant operatives preparing the way for its new lease of life.

  • Work at the Curzon Street site carried out by LM (Laing O’Rourke and J Murphy & Sons Ltd) has transformed the area in preparation for Birmingham’s brand new HS2 station.
  • The site spans 25,000 square metres, and 20,000 tonnes of concrete have been broken up, crushed and ready to be re-used on site.
  • The crushed concrete has been levelled to provide a working platform for archaeological investigations and remediation. It will be left as such until the site is developed at a later date.
  • Two buildings are being demolished at the site of the former Unite student accommodation which covers an area of 3,000 square metres. This will yield around 30,000 tonnes of material, with works being undertaken by the Birmingham-based demolitions firm, DSM.

Washwood Heath in Birmingham

Signs that Birmingham is getting HS2-ready continue 2.5 miles away in Washwood Heath, as another Midlands firm Total Reclaims Demolition makes way for HS2’s new train maintenance depot.

  • The immense old site of the Alstom Rail Depot is 110,282 square metres – the size of 15 football pitches - and will yield 412,000 tonnes of material that will be recycled.
  • With 50,000 hours of labour required to clear the site, the team is now 75% of the way through the work programme.
  • Situated in the heart of one of Birmingham’s most deprived wards and constituencies, the site has been neglected for almost 15 years.
  • The new depot will play a pivotal role in regenerating the area, and once complete over 500 jobs will provide opportunities for local people.
  • Through HS2 Ltd’s supply chain, 12 local residents have already been supported into jobs through early works contractor LM-JV and security firm Servest.

Mother Nature given helping hand by HS2’s Green Corridor


An overgrown eyesore in North Warwickshire has been transformed into a wildlife haven as part of environmental works by High Speed Two (HS2) Limited.

A new grassland and wetland habitat created by HS2 in Coleshill, North Warwickshire.

Situated on the banks of the River Tame adjacent to a sewage works in Hams Hall, the 1.65 hectare (16,500 square metre) site north of Coleshill contains a mix of grassland and wetland habitat. The area is to be used for the translocation of 5 rare plant species, including marsh willowherb, yellow loosestrife, great burnet and bog stitchwort.

Native species

The site was previously rife with non-native Himalayan balsam, which can reduce the pollination of native species. The invasive plants were cleared earlier this year before Five Rivers Environmental Contracting Ltd installed new shallow ponds, known as scrapes, which are also designed to attract amphibians, such as newts and frogs.

A popular public pathway skirts the boundary of the new habitat, ensuring it is visible to locals and commuters walking to and from the Hams Hall Distribution Park.

As well as transforming the UK’s transport system, boosting the economy and unlocking new jobs and opportunities, HS2 aims to be one of the most environmentally responsible infrastructure projects ever delivered in the UK.

A new grassland and wetland habitat created by HS2 in Coleshill, North Warwickshire.

The Hams Hall site is one of more than 100 new wildlife habitats being created in the West Midlands and Warwickshire by HS2 Ltd, alongside landscape architects and ecologists, DJV (a joint venture of WSP and Ramboll) and the early works contractor, Birmingham-based LM JV (a joint venture of Laing O’Rourke and J Murphy & Sons Ltd).

Green Corridor

These sites form part of HS2’s Green Corridor, consisting of new wildlife habitats, native woodlands and community spaces. They will help integrate the new railway into its surrounding landscape and environment, and leave a lasting legacy of high quality green spaces all along the route. With the tree planting season now at an end, more than 350,000 trees have already been planted along the Phase One route (Birmingham to London).

Peter Miller, Environment and Town Planning Director, HS2 Ltd, said: "Managing our impact on the environment during construction is a high priority, and we are committed to building a railway that supports new wildlife habitats, woodlands and community spaces which future generations can enjoy.

Our Green Corridor programme, along with various funds available for affected communities along Phase One of the route have seen our work on the ground accelerate over the last 12 months as we prepare for the main works.

As work progresses on building the railway, this will continue and people will see new sites developed as we create a network of environmental and community projects along the route."

Covering 33 square kilometres, the Green Corridor will see HS2 plant 7 million new trees and shrubs on Phase One, with more than 40 different species of tree being grown in its nursery, including those native to each area the railway passes through.

Site in Coleshill, North Warwickshire before environmental mitigation works by HS2 took place.

Other completed sites in the region include land near Stoneleigh Park where a training pond for otters has been created. The false riverbank includes an artificial holt and ensures that pups can safely adopt anti-predator behaviour and learn foraging and hunting skills, before they take to the waters of the nearby River Avon. Artificial burrows and perches are also provided for kingfishers for a similar purpose.

Roosting sites

The Stoneleigh Park habitat is also home to a bat house, which boasts a mix of roosting sites to attract different species. Ecologists predicted it would be 2 years before the building was occupied, but within weeks of it being installed, bats had already moved in.

Elsewhere, a new habitat near Burton Green in Warwick, will enable the relocation of a badger clan following the construction of a large artificial sett.

Andrew McPherson, Principal Landscape Architect, DJV, said: "Up and down the line of route we are creating new ecosystems that will allow native species to thrive. It may be Europe’s largest mega-project, but HS2 is also giving Mother Nature a helping hand and proving that biodiversity is at the heart of the new railway.

It’s not just plants and animals that we are focusing on, as much importance is being placed on preserving soil communities. Wherever possible, we are moving soil from the line of route to the new habitats to uphold the land’s unique nutrients and biodiversity value."

LM JV’s Ecology Manager, Dr Pamela Cramb, said: "Coleshill is an excellent example of the way new habitats have been established as we prepare the route for HS2. Across the West Midlands, we’re working with specialists to construct these sites and whether they’re in country areas or more urban locations, these initiatives are having a valuable and positive impact to the environment."

Community and business projects

In addition to the mitigation works, HS2 has a number of different funds and projects to support the environment and communities.

Community and Environment Funds and Business and Local Economy Funds have already contributed £2.5 million across 47 projects in 14 constituencies along the Phase One route.

A further £1 million has been allocated under the Woodland Fund, which will see 18 projects deliver 85 hectares of new woodland and 50 hectares of ancient woodland restoration.

Birmingham’s transformation as HS2’s work programme gathers pace


Andrew Jones MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, will visit Birmingham today to see how works are progressing at the region’s main HS2 sites.

As one of the most intensive construction sections along the 140 mile London to Birmingham section of the route, the West Midlands is set to benefit from two brand new stations and an infrastructure maintenance depot, creating jobs and opportunities for local people now and into the future.

Work at the city-centre based Curzon Street site has transformed the area in preparation for Birmingham’s brand new HS2 station:

  • The site spans 25,000 square metres, and 20,000 tonnes of concrete have been broken up, crushed and ready be re-used on site.
  • Two building are being demolished at the site of the former Unite student accommodation which covers an area of 3,000 square metres. This will yield around 30,000 tonnes of material, with works being undertaken by the Birmingham-based demolitions firm, DSM.
  • The extensive archaeology programme on site is already revealing facts about the development of Birmingham, and archaeology works will continue into the summer.

Photo caption: L-R Argiro Alexandri (HS2), Richard Kirkham (LMJV), Paul Faulkner (Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce), Christina Wallace (HS2), Andrew Jones MP, Liam Evans (LMJV)

Signs that Birmingham is getting HS2-ready continue 2.5 miles away in Washwood Heath, as another local Midlands firm Total Reclaims Demolition makes way for HS2’s new train maintenance depot:

  • The immense old site of the Alstom Rail Depot is 110,282 square metres – the size of 15 football pitches - and will yield 412,000 tonnes of material that will be recycled.
  • With 50,000 hours of labour required to clear the site, the team is now 75% of the way through the work programme.
  • Situated in the heart of one of Birmingham’s most deprived wards and constituencies, the site has been neglected for almost 15 years.
  • The new depot will play a pivotal role in regenerating the area, and once complete over 500 jobs will provide opportunities for local people.
  • Through HS2 Ltd’s supply chain, twelve local residents have already been supported into jobs through early works contractor LM-JV and security firm Servest. They are playing a crucial role in ensuring that safety standards are maintained at HS2’s work sites right across the West Midlands.
  • Birmingham based LM, a joint venture of Laing O'Rourke and J Murphy & Sons Ltd, has been working on behalf of HS2, paving the way for the new high speed line. Work over an 80 km trace across the West Midlands has included route clearance and ecological habitat creation as well as demolition works.

Fifteen miles further afield, in the borough of Solihull, vegetation clearance works and trenching have now been carried out at the triangular-shaped site which will be home to the brand new Interchange station site.

Photo caption: L-R Liam Evans (LMJV), Christina Wallace (HS2), Argiro Alexandri (HS2), Andrew Jones MP, Paul Faulkner (Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce), Richard Kirkham (LMJV)

Andrew Jones MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Transport said:

“HS2 is an incredible project that will transform our railway network, boosting capacity on our busiest lines, better connecting Birmingham with large cities across the country and building the Midlands Engine.

“The scale of works happening in Birmingham show the huge progress being made on HS2; they also show first-hand the fantastic jobs and opportunities HS2 is providing people across the country; I cannot wait to see the results of further construction, and for this vital railway become a reality.”

Mark Thurston, HS2 Ltd’s CEO said:

“Curzon Street will be the cornerstone of the new railway, putting Birmingham at the heart of the network. The transformation around this area demonstrates exactly how Britain’s new high-speed railway will drive forward regeneration and economic growth across the West Midlands.

“Across Phase One, we’ve now carried out environmental and ecological mitigation works, utility diversions, archaeology, demolition and land clearance works, all of which are drawing to a close ready for major construction works starting later this year.”

Paul Faulkner, CEO of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce said:

“HS2 is already playing a huge part of the Midlands’ success story, and when completed will add £14 billion to the West Midlands economy, supporting 100,000 jobs. Hundreds of Midlands businesses are already supporting the project, and there are more opportunities for firms across the region as the programme progresses.”

Involving local young people in developing the areas around Curzon Street Station


Birmingham Curzon Street Station, due to open in 2026, will be at the centre of significant development taking place in the east of Birmingham City Centre. Bordered by colleges and universities, the creative area of Digbeth as well as the Bullring retail district, it will become a destination in itself. Working with local stakeholders, HS2 is developing a vision for the area to set out key principles for how retail and public spaces surrounding the station will look.

Working with Young Giant, part of Digbeth-based social enterprise Beatfreeks, we recruited a group of young people to inspire, influence and generate ideas for the uses and look of these new public spaces. The group was made up of 14 people aged between 16 and 25 from east Birmingham, an area that will be impacted by HS2 construction, but will also benefit from increased connectivity once the new railway and other transport improvements are complete.

To help the group understand the context of the station, we took them on a tour of the site and to the Old Curzon Street Station before holding a creative ideas workshop. A local artist captured the young people’s views on the day and these views will be turned into an illustrated report that the young people will share with a group including HS2 and other local stakeholders later this year. This group will develop the vision for the areas around Curzon Street Station, giving local young people a genuine seat at the table in shaping the future of Birmingham and HS2’s legacy in the city.

First look at HS2’s Washwood Heath depot site


Ahead of High Speed Two (HS2) Limited beginning construction of a train maintenance depot in Washwood Heath, demolition of a former railway works in Birmingham is now well underway.

The demolition covers a site larger than 110,000 square-metres and is being carried out by HS2 Ltd alongside their early works contractor, Birmingham-based LM JV.  

The site at Washwood Heath was originally home to a depot that measured 782,622 cubic metres of buildings and structures, and these are now in the process of being demolished. This has yielded a total of 412,464 tonnes of demolition materials – the equivalent weight of 68 Birmingham BT Towers – and this will be predominantly reused on site, significantly reducing the need for landfill and lorry movements.

Mike Lyons, Programme Director of Phase One in the Midlands said:

“As we prepare for the construction of HS2, there is a huge amount of work going on at sites in the Midlands, including land clearance, habitat creation, tree planting, demolitions, archaeology, road improvement works and utility diversions.

“We currently have 62 live sites across the whole Phase One route, servicing over 250 work locations. Over 7,000 jobs are supported by HS2, and over 300 companies in the Midlands are already working on the project.”

HS2 trains will be maintained at Washwood Heath, and activities at the facility will include cleaning, servicing, and routine repairs of the new high-speed fleet. The depot will employ up to 500 staff working in shifts, either in jobs within the depot, maintenance and support workers, or train drivers who will start and finish their day there. It will be HS2’s only rolling stock maintenance depot for Phases One and 2a of the UK’s new high-speed rail network.

Formerly known as the Washwood Heath Railway Works, the site was last used by Alstom. It is the preferred location for HS2’s future depot because it is centrally located in relation to the completed HS2 network, which will extend to Leeds and Manchester.

Supply chain support for high speed rail


LM was honoured to support the High Speed Rail Industry Leaders (HSRIL) group and HS2 Ltd at an event at the House of Commons this week.  

The reception featured keynote addresses from Nusrat Ghani MP, HS2 Minister, and Andy McDonald MP, Shadow Transport Secretary, who reaffirmed support from both sides of the House for the high speed rail project. Over 70 suppliers and officials from all over the UK were present to demonstrate to MPs and peers the value to UK businesses of the project.

“This event gave leading Parliamentarians a real insight into the importance of major infrastructure projects to the UK economy,” said LM Project Director Richard Kirkham. “The Government’s support for HS2 is firm, and as part of the enabling works team, we are well advanced in preparing the way for Phase One’s construction. We were delighted that six of our supply chain partners joined us at the briefing – their specialist expertise is invaluable in ensuring delivery. The success story doesn’t stop there however – they are building their businesses and creating new opportunities thanks to HS2 – and that’s great news for Britain.”

Significant archaeological studies, groundworks, and the planting of thousands of trees, are taking place across the West Midlands, and this activity will increase throughout 2019.   

LM joins the UK’s Equality and Inclusivity top tier


LM, the joint venture of Laing O’Rourke and J. Murphy & Sons Ltd – two of the UK’s leading construction and engineering companies - has been listed in the top 50 of the UK’s most inclusive and diverse employers. 

Joining some of the country’s top businesses in the Inclusive Top 50 UK Employers List, LM has demonstrated to a panel of independent judges that it applies inclusivity and diversity across its staff, ensuring that everyone is treated equally regardless of age, race, faith, disability, gender, LGBT or religion. 

From its base in Birmingham, LM is delivering the northern section of HS2's Phase One enabling works, which is the new high speed railway being built between London the West Midlands.

As well as showcasing organisations that are already performing at a high standard in relation to Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, the Inclusive Top 50 UK Employers List helps organisations to make the changes that would allow them to become a more inclusive employer. 

Commenting on the listing, LM project director Richard Kirkham said:

“As a relatively new joint venture, I’m delighted that our efforts to create a team that’s committed to equality, diversity and inclusion have been recognised.  We’re delivering the advance works programme for HS2 in the West Midlands – one of the UK’s most diverse regions - and we’re dedicated to ensuring that our business treats everyone equally, and offers opportunities to applicants regardless of their backgrounds.” 

Naheem Ahmed, LM’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity (EDI) representative, said:

“Over the past two years, EDI has moved from being a common thread across our organisation to part of our DNA – for LM, EDI is considered ‘business as usual’.  Working with our procurement teams we have ensured EDI training and support is present in our offices and on site, we ensure everyone is supported and has a voice.

“We’ve trained our workforce in Fairness, Inclusion and Respect, which means everyone exhibits the right behaviours, resulting in a culture of inclusion and respect. Being recognised as one of the UK’s top employers in this area is an honour, but will drive us forward to perform even better!”

Mark Lomas, HS2’s Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) said:

“At HS2, we want to make sure the sector is equipped and ready to deliver on the diverse needs of HS2 as well as future projects. To do this, we need equality for those already working in the infrastructure industry, more diversity in those we aim to attract, and working practices need to change to be truly inclusive.

“Through our inclusive procurement model we aim to remove barriers and support our supply chain to focus on their EDI practices. It’s fantastic that LM, an HS2 Tier One Enabling Works Contractor, has been recognised as one of the best employers when it comes to diversity, equality and inclusion.”

Birmingham engineer has her cake and eats it by winning global competition


Using roly-poly cakes and rich tea biscuits to explain how demolition materials can be recycled has won a West Midlands civil engineer first place at the global final of Pitch 200, an international competition held by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE).

Imogen Graves, assistant design manager at LM (a joint venture of Laing O’Rourke and J Murphy & Sons Ltd, delivering advance works for HS2 in the West Midlands), beat the 12 other finalists at the global final, held at ICE’s London headquarters on Monday evening. The event was hosted by TV presenter Rob Bell and included contestants from across the UK, as well as the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Bangladesh and Australia. Her presentation: ‘Demolition: what a load of rubbish!’ which she has used to engage school children in civil engineering, explored the importance of thinking about the reuse and recycling of construction materials.

Using two models, made of roly-poly cakes and rich tea biscuits, Imogen clearly demonstrated the difference between a more traditional “smashing” method of demolition, whereby materials become contaminated and are unable to be reused, compared to the process when carried out with a demolition plan which can, in some cases, allow for up to 90% of materials to be recycled.

As part of ICE’s bicentenary celebrations, Pitch 200 issued engineers the challenge of explaining an engineering concept to the public in an engaging and creative way in only 200 seconds. Contestants were encouraged to use props, presentations and anything their imaginations could conjure.

Pitch 200 winner Imogen Graves, Design Engineer, said:

“I am absolutely delighted to have won. My competition was strong, the other finalists had very impressive pitches. It feels amazing to be recognised for something that I’m extremely proud of, on a topic that is really important.  Working on a big project like HS2, a lot of my job is communicating complex schemes to non-engineers, though usually in a less messy fashion! This pitch is one I use when engaging with school children, encouraging them to think about civil engineering as a future career. I look forward to continuing to communicate ideas and concepts about our industry as ICE Ambassador next year.”

Chair of the judging panel, Sir Peter Bazalgette, ITV Chair and great-great-grandson of engineer and past ICE President Sir Joseph Bazalgette, said:

“The 13 finalists were extraordinarily impressive, passionate, innovative, articulate, and very topical about some of the challenges facing the world. It is great to see such talent coming through for the civil engineering we will all rely on in the future.

“Imogen presented a cutting-edge approach to waste reduction in demolition, and if that sounds dry, her presentation was anything but. A really talented civil engineer.

ICE Immediate Past President Professor Lord Robert Mair said:

“Although civil engineering directly transforms people’s lives, this isn’t always immediately obvious to the public. Pitch 200 has challenged our members to explain civil engineering in a clear and creative way to help highlight the importance of our industry.  Imogen gave a highly imaginative and hugely engaging presentation amid a tough field of talented and skilled competitors. I congratulate her on very well-deserved win and wish her the best of luck as ICE Ambassador in 2019 and a fruitful career beyond.”

Judging the pitches alongside Sir Peter Bazalgette were Stephen Metcalfe MP, HM Government Envoy for Year of Engineering; Dr Marty Jopson, Inventor and Reporter for the BBC's The ONE Show; and Ayo Sokale ICE President’s Future Leader 2017/18. In their comments, the judges said Imogen came across as witty and engaging and was certainly Ambassador material. They commended her extremely well-presented pitch, which clearly connected engineering concepts with wider society.

Imogen won £1000 and will be an ICE Ambassador in 2019, using her communication skills to improve the understanding of the general public that civil engineers transform their lives.

Akshay Budhihal Ashokkuma from TU Delft in the Netherlands, representing Europe, was awarded second place. He introduced the audience to the concept of ‘Plastic Roads’, whereby plastic waste is used to create a composite material which can replace concrete in the construction of roads. The judges found Akshay to be extremely articulate and confident in his presentation. They complemented his ability to present a complete idea in 200 seconds, which was particularly topical in today’s society.

Third place was awarded to Catriona Salvini from Heriot-Watt University, representing the Scotland region. Her Great ICE Bake-off style presentation used the analogy of baking Rocky Road to the creation of concrete and discussed the possibility of using supplementary materials to improve sustainability. The judges said her presentation was the “most brilliant analogy of the evening”. They liked the ecological approach of her presentation and were impressed by her knowledge about concrete structures and the longevity of their use.

HS2 to support 15,000 jobs by 2020

As the programme moves to construction, the number of roles supported by HS2 is forecast to reach 15,000.

•Over 7,000 roles already supported by the project 

•Over 2,000 business have already won work with HS2 

•Over 100 apprentices already working on the project, with 2,000 expected over its lifetime 

•30,000 jobs supported by HS2 at peak construction

A whole generation of engineers, designers, architects and geologists will benefit from the construction of the new high-speed railway as the project gears up to support 30,000 jobs and create opportunities for British businesses to upskill their workforce.

Today HS2 Ltd sets out its programme of skills, employment and education interventions that will ensure the UK not only has the skills to deliver the HS2 project, but to become a worldwide leader in high speed rail.

Over 7,000 roles are already supported by the project. With construction starting next year, many more jobs around the country will help build a skills base to export around the world.

Mark Thurston, Chief Executive of HS2 Ltd, said: “Our skills strategy, launched today, shows how we will create a sustainable pipeline of jobs and skills for companies across the whole country, which boost regional economies and help Britain compete internationally. 

“Our programme will tackle the skills challenges faced by the wider transport infrastructure sector, and ensure the UK has the best skills to deliver HS2 as well as major infrastructure projects in the future.”

HS2 Minister, Nusrat Ghani MP, said: “HS2 will provide the backbone of our future rail network and is already driving jobs and economic growth across the country. HS2 already supports over 7,000 jobs, forecast to reach around 15,000 by 2020, and is building the talented workforce of the future that this transformative project needs.

“The ambitious programme of skills, employment and education set out today will see the economic benefits of HS2 fully realised across the UK, boosting productivity and sharing prosperity across the country.”

Apprenticeships and Skills Minister, Anne Milton, said: “Apprenticeships offer incredible opportunities for young people. Everyone studying an apprenticeship with HS2 will be able to look back and say they played a role creating our country’s future. Not only that, the apprentices are also learning the skills that future employers are looking for, that’s what apprenticeships are all about.

“HS2 is creating 2,000 apprenticeships and is a fantastic example of a national project that is providing opportunities for everyone, whatever their background and wherever they come from. I look forward to meeting some of the apprentices that have been a part of making it happen.”

New initiatives will be introduced over the next 12 months to stimulate interest in STEM subjects and encourage more young people into transport infrastructure related careers. Opportunities will be opened up through a new Job Brokerage Service to help people access the jobs created by the HS2 supply chain, and a new Secondary Education Engagement Programme will inspire the next generation to enter transport infrastructure careers.

Through HS2 contracts, there are already hundreds of businesses creating opportunities for their workforce. Explore Manufacturing, part of the Laing O’Rourke group, has won a contract with LM joint venture to supply major bridges as part of the early works on Phase One of the project.

The modular components will be manufactured at Explore Industrial Park in Workshop, North Nottinghamshire, and then brought to site in the West Midlands for assembly. The company recruits a minimum of 4 apprentices each year and when the HS2 related work commences in the factory it will create 35 new jobs.

Alan Clucas, Director of Explore Manufacturing, said: “We are proud to be working on the biggest rail infrastructure programmes in the country. For Explore Manufacturing it means a significant contribution in digital design and high quality off site manufacturing, which shortens time needed on site, and has big benefits in safety, efficiency and programme costs.”

Richard Kirkham, LM Project Director, said: “By working on the HS2 project, and linking to the National College for High Speed Rail with 4 apprenticeships, as well as other schools and college liaison across the region, we’re giving local people the opportunity to gain world class skills and knowledge, create a sustainable pipeline of jobs, and be in a great position to win future work with large-scale infrastructure projects.”

LM announces new Commercial Leader appointment

9 July 2018

LM, the joint venture of Laing O’Rourke and J. Murphy & Sons Limited, has announced the appointment of Garry O’Dwyer as its new Commercial Leader. 

LM is currently delivering the enabling works programme for the northernmost section of HS2 Phase One, which covers the Greater West Midlands, and represents approximately 80km of the new high-speed line’s route. 

Garry will be responsible for leading all strategic commercial aspects of LM’s business operations, and will be based at LM’s offices in Birmingham’s business district. He takes over from Andrew King, who has moved within Laing O’Rourke to a new role in Australia. 

Garry has an outstanding track record of success in major infrastructure projects, with extensive experience across the London 2012 Olympic Games and Crossrail projects, as well as supporting Laing O’Rourke’s Design for Manufacture & Assembly (DfMA) strategy and offsite solutions business.

“This is the most exciting infrastructure project in the country and it’s an honour to be leading the commercial team for LM,” said Garry. “We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to play a major role in a project that’ll make a substantial improvement to the UK transport network. Having grown up in the local area and seen at first hand the wider economic benefits that major infrastructure projects can create for communities I’m delighted to be supporting the delivery of HS2 in the West Midlands and the benefits it will bring to the region.”

LM cyclists’ 140-mile challenge raises money for Hearts & Minds

A team of 17 cyclists from LM – a Birmingham based joint venture of Laing O’Rourke and J Murphy & Sons Ltd – has completed a gruelling 140 mile cycle ride from London’s Euston station to Birmingham Curzon Street, to raise money for charity.

‘Hearts and Minds’ is a fundraising initiative established by Laing O’Rourke to support both physical and mental wellbeing, and as part of mental health awareness week, staff took part in a number of events to raise money for the British Heart Foundation and Mind. Both partner companies took part in the ride, with the 17 engineers, including deputy project director Rob Gray, crossing the finish line together just 30 hours after starting.

“Although most of us are regular cyclists, we knew the route would be hard, but by far the most challenging part was the hilly section around Berkhamsted - a few of us definitely struggled at times”, said Rob.  “Nevertheless, we all made it, and there’s great satisfaction in doing something really worthwhile like this to help others.” 

Laing O’Rourke and J Murphy & Sons Limited are two of the UK’s leading engineering and construction companies.  The joint venture is helping to deliver HS2 – the UK’s new high speed railway. It is responsible for enabling works within the Greater West Midlands, along the phase one route.

For further media information regarding LM, contact: Jeremy de Souza, Communications Leader.  Tel: 07770 – 830085 or email:

Donations can be made at:

Images of the cycle team are available on request.

Happy ending for Birmingham dog rescue

Date: 9 April 2018

A delightful three-year-old dog that had been abandoned during the height of the snowy weather, has been saved, thanks to quick work by LM’s security team and Birmingham City Council’s dog wardens. 

During a check of vacant business premises in Washwood Heath, a senior security manager from LM – a joint venture of Laing O’Rourke and J. Murphy & Sons Ltd, delivering the enabling works for HS2 in the West Midlands – spotted a three year old Lurcher that had been abandoned.  Despite his best endeavours, the frightened and hungry animal evaded capture.  

With the help of Birmingham City Council’s dog wardens, it was caught and checked over.  Suffering only from cold and a lack of nourishment, Hans – as he has become known – has been nursed back to health at the Council’s stray dog kennels at Birmingham Dog’s Home, and will shortly be placed with a new owner.

“The poor dog had been abandoned on a large vacant factory site, with no food or shelter, during one of the coldest periods Birmingham has experienced in years,” said LM Security Manager Nick Jones. “We knew we needed to act quickly to help it.  Kelly and Kerrie from Birmingham’s Dog Warden team were amazing – they answered our call for help and quickly ensured he was caught.”

Experts from the Birmingham Dogs Home near Solihull have nursed Hans back to full health again, building up his strength and confidence amongst humans and other dogs.  

“His progress has been excellent and it’s been lovely to see how quickly he’s regained his character,” said Vikki Allwood, Senior Animal Health and Welfare Officer, from Birmingham City Council.

“Hans has already found a new owner through Birmingham Dogs Home, and will be off very soon to enjoy a new life.  We’re delighted to have a happy ending to this dog’s tale!”


Best Foot Forward campaign kicks off in Birmingham

Date: 31/01/18

A new campaign to help unemployed people prepare for job interviews has been launched in Birmingham.

Best Foot Forward is the brainchild of the Suited for Success charity, which offers free high-quality interview clothes and coaching support to unemployed men and women returning to employment.  Good quality shoes, especially men’s, are in particularly short supply, and the new campaign is to seek donations from businesses and individuals who can help.

Patricia White, Suited for Success Managing Director said, “First impressions are vital when it comes to a job interview. Research shows that it takes a potential employer just ‘nine seconds’ to make up their mind about an applicant. As we celebrate our first-year anniversary this week, we're delighted to have provided many interview suits for over 350 unemployed people, but we’re finding quality shoes in short supply.  ‘Best Foot Forward’ is a call for help to those who can spare a pair or two - they could literally change someone’s life with their donation.”

LM Project Director Richard Kirkham said, “It’s an honour to help Suited for Success with this initiative.  As a new business in Birmingham, we’re still finding our feet in the community, but we recognise the scale of the challenges that face those looking for a new job.  We’ve asked our 140-strong workforce to donate whatever they can, and call on businesses across the city to support this very worthy campaign. An unwanted pair of shoes could be the first step along the road to a new career”.

Since being introduced to the charity, LM is exploring further support including interview coaching, mentoring programmes, work experience, and training workshops.

Suited for Success is based in Ladywood, Birmingham. It provides free high-quality interview clothes, along with styling and interview preparation skills for unemployed men and women who have a confirmed job interview. Gently worn suits and smart workwear are typically donated by professional men and women in corporate companies, law firms, banks, offices and businesses across the city.  Unemployed men and women are referred to their centre from a variety of frontline agencies supporting people experiencing significant barriers to unemployment. These include: long-term unemployed, ex-offenders, care leavers, recovering addicts, homeless people, single parents and ex-servicemen.

LM is a joint venture of Laing O’Rourke and J Murphy & Sons Limited, two of the UK’s leading engineering and construction companies.  The joint venture is helping to deliver HS2 – the UK’s new high speed railway. It is responsible for enabling works within the Greater West Midlands, along the phase one route.

For further media information regarding LM, contact: Jeremy de Souza, Communications Leader.  Tel: 07770 – 830085 or email:

Images are available on request.

For further information regarding Suited for Success:


Big Birmingham Sleepout – LM raises over £3500

27 Nov 2017

A hardy group from the LM JV (Laing O’Rourke and J. Murphy & Sons Limited joint venture) has raised over £3500, taking part in the Big Birmingham Sleep Out 2017 this weekend.

On one of the coldest night of the year so far, the 18 intrepid LM souls, braved the elements to take part in the charity fundraiser, raising money for Birmingham’s St Basils charity. They joined around 800 fellow fundraisers sleeping rough for the night in the grounds of Birmingham Cathedral in the heart of the city.

Home for almost everyone for the night was a temporary cardboard village built by each person and group, with an astonishing variety of designs and structural concepts on display. At midnight, a brief service was held in the Cathedral to thank everyone taking part, including a brief address by Birmingham’s mayor, Andy Street.

“This is the biggest event of the year for St Basils, and I’m proud of everyone in the team for taking part,” said Naheem Ahmed, LM’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion leader. “From first-hand experience, I know how hard being alone and unsupported can be, and the cold city streets are no place for vulnerable people. St Basils helps to give those in need a place to call a temporary home, but more importantly, equip them with the skills and resources to rebuild their lives."


Unprecedented conservation project starts in Warwickshire

7 August 2017

As part of preparations for Britain’s new high-speed railway, HS2 (High Speed Two) Ltd is starting to create its first new wildlife habitats anywhere along the line of route.

Work at the Finham Brook site in Kenilworth, Warwickshire, starts this month and includes the creation of 6 new ponds as well as new woodlands featuring over 6,200 trees and shrubs. It’s expected to be complete by the end of the year.

The new habitats will support local wildlife species ranging from birds to great crested newts. They are part of an unprecedented conservation project, which will see a green corridor of connected wildlife habitats created alongside the railway, including up to 7 million new trees and shrubs, as well as wetland, ponds, heathland and meadow.

Anthony Coumbe, HS2 Ltd’s Head of Environment for this region said “The new habitats at Finham Brook will be the first of many to come between London and the West Midlands. They will help us to care for the local environment and serve as a new home to wildlife affected by the future development of the railway.

“At Finham Brook, we’re creating a bigger and better habitat than local species such as great crested newts currently have.  We’ll relocate newts to the habitat next year, once it has become properly established, while other wildlife will start to use the area naturally over time.  Ultimately, we’re aiming to create a railway that works for nature as well as passengers, with a green corridor of connected habitats running through the spine of the country”

Richard Kirkham, project director for LM, enabling works contractor for the northern section of HS2 phase 1, said ”Our experts carried out extensive ecological studies along the route, and we’re confident these new habitats will become a welcoming home to the wildlife.”  

Various preparatory works for the first phase of HS2, from London to the West Midlands, are currently underway, ranging from nature conservation activity to archaeology investigations. Main construction work is set to start in 2018/19 following detailed design work. 

Notes to editors:

The works at Finham Brook are being delivered by LM – a joint venture between Laing O’Rourke and J. Murphy & Sons. LM is HS2 Ltd’s enabling works contractor for the northern section of the phase one route.

LM joint venture unveiled as sponsor for digital construction technology drive

29 March 2017

LM, a joint venture of Laing O’Rourke and J. Murphy and Sons Ltd, delivering the enabling works aligned to the West Midlands route for the HS2 high speed rail project, has joined with the West Midlands Combined Authority to back a cross-region training framework intended to drive essential supply chain skills needed to work on 21st century infrastructure projects.

BIMwm is a specialist training framework of high-tech engineers and consultants to equip the regions manufacturers and subcontractors with advanced construction technology and Building Information Modelling (BIM) skills needed to win work on major projects such as HS2.

Through BIM, the UK construction industry is undergoing its very own digital revolution. BIM is a universal way of working enabling engineers and construction experts to use intelligent 3D virtual models and digital construction methods to more efficiently plan, design, construct and manage infrastructure projects and building works.

BIMwm will provide a platform for regional SMEs to become tech-driven and tech-enabled suppliers, providing a framework to coach new digital construction skills and its proficient use to promote and showcase manufactured materials, component assemblies and product designs to potential new clients including rail transportation chiefs, designers, engineers and buyers. 

Senior Supply Chain & Procurement Lead of LM joint venture, Sean O’Brien, said: "We are delighted to be backing this dedicated training framework in partnership with the West Midlands Combined Authority. “At LM JV, we recognise the opportunities that digital design and offsite manufacturing presents and have seen the advantages of fully integrating BIM into our approach when working with every aspect of the construction supply chain. By sponsoring BIMwm, LM JV is supporting the WMCA’s vision for BIM adoption across the SME community. We hope that as many of the region’s businesses as possible will take advantage of this fantastic opportunity to ensure that they are up to date with the latest technological advances, giving them a real business advantage going forward.”

BIMwm imparts every aspect of BIM knowledge from basic people development skills for beginners through to advanced 3D design technology, digital model hosting, BIM object & data creation services. 

Steve Massey, Supply Chain Development Manager for the West Midlands Combined Authority said: "The West Midlands has a world-class manufacturing base and by sponsoring our BIMwm framework, LM JV are helping SMEs from across the region to use new technology and have the right skills in place to make our region's supply chain stronger and more competitive. “We’re delighted to have a large and successful partner such as LM JV helping the regions SME’s to adopt BIM and access new clients through the digital marketing of their products and components.”

Through this pioneering framework, we are offering practical and affordable support to help SMEs develop specialist and essential work-winning skills.”

The launch of the BIMwm framework coincides with the opening of a cloud -based virtual BIM suite, a specialist mobile technology suite, kitted out with the latest virtual engineering software to coach digital construction skills and capabilities needed to build and run major procurement projects. The mobile facility, known as the LM JV BIM Technologies suite will host a series of special ‘BIM Awareness webinars, workshops’ and ‘Meet the Designer sessions’ themed around the design and build requirements for real-life projects including those aligned to rail transportation such as new stations, freight terminals, metroline expansions, traffic management, commercial developments and new housing schemes.

To find out more about the BIMwm framework or to attend forthcoming BIM Awareness Workshops – visit the West Midlands Combined Authority website or contact the BIMwm team by e-mailing

HS2 names enabling works contractors

16 November 2016

LM, the joint venture between Laing O’Rourke and Murphy, has been named as one of three contractors for HS2’s enabling works. 

LM, along with Fusion JV and CS JV, will deliver essential early works – including archaeology, site clearance and setting up construction compounds – ahead of the start of the main civil engineering work.

The £900m enabling works contracts cover the whole of Phase One, from London to Birmingham and the connection to the West Coast Main line at Handsacre in Staffordshire, with work due to begin next spring.

The following joint ventures will be appointed:

  • Area South - CS JV (Costain Group Plc and Skanska Construction UK Limited)
  • Area Central – Fusion JV (Morgan Sindall Construction & Infrastructure Ltd BAM Nuttall Limited and Ferrovial Agroman (UK) Limited)
  • Area North - LM JV (Laing O’Rourke Construction Limited and J. Murphy & Sons Limited) -  covering the section from Birmingham Interchange north to Curzon Street and the connection to the West Coast Main Line at Handsacre.

The contractors will also deliver a range of activities including utility diversions, ecology surveys, demolition, ground remediation, watercourse activities, highways realignments, monitoring and instrumentation, structural reinforcements and drainage work.

Jim Crawford, HS2 Ltd managing director – construction, said: “Over the coming years, our new partners will deliver the essential preparatory work we need to deliver the main construction programme on time and on budget, as well as creating jobs and training opportunities for thousands of people all along the route from London to the West Midlands and across our UK-wide supply chain.”

Paul Sheffield, managing director, Engineering Enterprise, Laing O’Rourke, said: “It is a privilege to have been selected with Murphy to begin work that will lead to the creation of the UK’s new high speed line. Projects like this are great news for the UK’s economy and its transport links. They also mean the creation of new jobs and opportunities for suppliers right across the country. We’re delighted with the news, and keen to get started.”

Steve Hollingshead, CEO of Murphy, said: “Over the past year, we’ve established a strong and close partnership with Laing O’Rourke. We’re ready to hit the ground running having engaged with a supply chain that’s looking forward to working on the project. Together we will work with HS2 Ltd, key stakeholders and local communities along the route to make sure we carry out this project in a structured and sensitive way.”


Murphy reaches end of the tunnel – right under London  

11 October 2016

LFM joint venture member J. Murphy & Sons Limited (Murphy) has broken through under London, to complete a 3km tunnel. This breakthrough in east London is the culmination of almost two years’ work underground to create a 2.85-metre wide tunnel running under the tube network, train lines, the river Thames and London’s busy roads.

UK Power Networks have invested £27 million to create a tunnel that will house its electricity superhighway, carrying an extra 400 megawatts of electricity, with enough capacity to deliver power to 130,000 homes. The tunnel, lying 23 to 30 metres below ground, links substations from south-east of the Thames across to east London.

Murphy broke through to the final tunnel reception chamber in Tower Hamlets in east London, right on target – having allowed for a variance of just 50 millimetres from the start of the tunnel in Southwark, south-east London. The Murphy team selected the company-owned Lovat tunnel boring machine ‘Fionnuala’, a 91-tonne machine built to Murphy’s specifications.  Fionnuala’s components were first lowered into the tunnel chamber in south-east London in August 2014 in three main sections, taking two weeks to build below ground and has since progressed at a highly impressive rate of 23 metres per day, with up to 3bar external water pressure.

The skilled Murphy teams of engineers, surveyors, project manager and operatives monitored the ground conditions constantly to work safely and as efficiently as possible with the various terrains found beneath London, each of which required different mining parameters – ranging from heavy London Blue Clay, the Lambeth group of silty clay, fine silts and gravels, Thanet Sands, through to chalk-containing flints at the deepest levels.
They subsequently spent two weeks taking Fionnuala apart onto 70m of back-up sledges, guiding all the equipment through a custom-sized junction chamber in Tower Hamlets before lifting her out of a shaft using a 350 tonne mobile crane.

The tunnel connects substations north and south of the River Thames to meet London’s demand for electricity. By choosing to tunnel from one substation to the other, Londoners avoided months of disruptive roadworks for cable installation, upgrades or repairs.

Darren Ramsay, from Murphy said: “I am so proud of the work of our team, spending two years underneath London to help ensure reliable power supplies in the capital, working collaboratively with our client UK Power Networks. Each milestone was successfully negotiated, from the challenges of tunnelling underneath the River Thames, the Jubilee tube line and train tracks running into London Bridge. The final breakthrough in Tower Hamlets has been achieved with minimal disruption to Londoners and the environment. This breakthrough was testament to the work of our team, successfully achieving break-through despite difficult ground conditions without deviating from the original tunnel line - impressive given the 3km distance and given that each end of the tunnel was bored nearly two years apart.”

Nirmal Kotecha, director of capital programme and procurement at UK Power Networks, said: “London’s power needs are increasing all the time and we are constantly investing in new infrastructure to ensure we maintain reliable electricity supplies. This essential project will increase the resilience of electricity supplies for residents and businesses for years to come. By working deep underground with the Murphy specialist team, we were able to avoid digging up roads along the entire route, helping keep the impact of this major project to a minimum.”

The tunnel will now be lined with hundreds of cable support brackets to carry 132,000-volt electricity cables, connecting substations between south-east London, the City and east London. Work to fit out the new tunnel will start in July and last seven months. The new cables are due to go live next summer.

Project Facts:

  • The work involved over 290,000-man hours – all achieved without any lost injury time, a result of the Murphy safety culture development programme and “Never Harm” ethos
  • 2,965m tunnel comprises of 17,790 individual segment linings weighing 750kg
  • Over 77,000 tonnes of excavated material have been transported from site
  • 99.7 % of surplus material removed from site has been recycled
  • Over 2,600 tonnes of cementicous grout have been injected behind tunnel linings
  • 71,200 bolts have been inserted to build the tunnel linings
  • Over 6,000 train journeys within the tunnel, a journey taking up to 30 minutes by the tail-end of the project
  • The project involved over 30,000 cranes raising and lowering operations into the drive shaft
  • Crossed under 13 Network Rail lines on viaducts originally built in 1830’s coming from London Bridge
  • Crossed under ‘live’ operational Jubilee lines with no settlement, plus crossed under the Thames
  • Carried out three ‘free-air’ tunnel boring machine interventions to inspect the cutter-head, a process that takes 4 days and nights, replacing the teeth and picks to work at maximum efficiency

Nadia Savage: We must shine a light on fantastic female engineers

18 April 2016

In recognition of International Women’s Day last month, Nadia Savage LFM JV board director, wrote a piece for Construction News about gender parity in the construction industry. Nadia puts forward a number of recommendations based on her professional experience, having started her career as a civil engineering apprentice 25 years ago.

Despite growing awareness about the need to address gender parity, the recent report mentioned in Nadia’s article Women in Rail highlights that women make up only four per cent of the current engineering workforce of the UK rail industry. In absolute terms, the total number of women employed in the rail industry is the same as it was 100 years ago at the dawn of World War I.

As Nadia writes the key to improving these statistics is “positive action”. She proposes that, “it is not because the sector, and everyone in it, is inherently biased or discriminate. Instead, I would suggest it is in part due to our image. As an industry, we have failed to engage with the general public, the source of the workforce, to sell what a fantastic career construction can offer everyone, whether male or female.”

In the article, Nadia says that, “We must celebrate success by shining a light on our fantastic female engineers, managers, administrators, surveyors, planners, designers and many others that already contribute to the success of the industry.” She makes clear that it is also about modernising work practices as a whole, “not just to attract more female workers, but for the health benefit of everyone in the industry.” 

With major UK infrastructure projects both underway and on the horizon, Nadia says that the “conditions are perfect for a step change in gender balance in the industry. We can firmly place equality, diversity and inclusivity onto the table as a must-have requirement.”

LFM has made a firm commitment to being an equal opportunities employer. Laing O’Rourke, FCC Construction and Murphy all have a workforce that reflects the diverse society in which we live and work. 

As Nadia concludes, “Let each of us play our part in improving the gender imbalance; constructively challenge unconscious bias when you see it, make small changes wherever you can to improve working environments, such as our new female PPE, and, most of all, shine a light on success. Parity is possible …don’t keep it a secret.”

Read the full article as it originally appeared here: