HS2 are preparing to let £5bn of contracts as the programme hits ‘peak construction’ in 2024.

The high-speed railway project will let the contracts to oversee track building, power, signalling, overhead lines and a new network control centre.

There will also be a contract for a telecom system so that passengers can conduct uninterrupted phone calls and streaming on the line, including through tunnels.

HS2's executive chair Sir Jon Thompson said: “This is a project of phenomenal scale and ambition and we’re immensely proud of the progress made between London and the West Midlands throughout 2023.

“There will be no let-up in delivery in 2024.”

Early in 2024, it is expected there will be a breakthrough of the first machine being used to bore the 10-mile Chilterns tunnel, which will be the longest on the route.

Work will also formally start on the new Curzon Street high-speed station in Birmingham.

Currently, 11 contracts are out to tender and are expected to be awarded in 2024.

They include contracts for the design, logistics and installation of the track system and maintenance depot at Calvert, in Buckinghamshire.

The tracks will carry HS2 services at speeds of up to 225mph.

The new contracts mark a pivotal point in the HS2 development as they are entering a new phase to focus on the railway systems.

For the first time this year, the project has a workforce of over 30,000 people.

2023 also saw work start on the 14 new platforms at Old Oak Common rail hub in West London, the launch of two tunnel boring machines to dig the Bromford tunnel and, crossing the halfway point in the construction of Colne Valley viaduct, the UK’s longest rail bridge.

Physical construction of many parts of the rail system is expected to start in 2026 to 2027 when the main civil engineering work reaches its conclusion.

Despite the cancellation of the second phase of the project to carry services north of Birmingham, it remains the UK’s biggest infrastructure project.

It is expected that HS2 will almost half the journey time along the 140-mile route between London Euston and Birmingham when it opens between 2029 and 2033.