HS2 Ground Investigation Engineer

What is HS2?

HS2 is the planned high speed railway connecting Birmingham with London and on to Manchester and Leeds. It will be the biggest project of its kind in the UK. The trains will move more people around the country, and faster. Each train will travel at speeds of up to 225mph, and carry up to 1,100 passengers. When the whole route has been built, HS2 will carry nearly one million people a week!

Careers at HS2 will range from engineers, construction workers and railway technicians to designers, environmentalists and business staff. It’s estimated HS2 will create around 100,000 jobs, including the people needed to drive and operate the trains and local jobs sparked by the development around HS2.

What is an HS2 Ground Investigation Engineer?

First of all, it’s good to know what ‘ground investigation’ is! Also known as GI, ground investigation gives designers and engineers the information they need about the ground where we’re building our tunnels, bridges and other structures. It’s connected with geotechnics, which is all about the way engineering and the ground affect each other. Making the design of the railway and the structures around it safe and efficient is key, so an HS2 GI Engineer is responsible for organising the testing of the ground along the route, and sharing the information their team finds out about it.

What does an HS2 Ground Investigation Engineer do?

A typical day for an HS2 Ground Investigation Engineer can include:

  • Planning and monitoring detailed field investigations – this involves drilling and analysing samples of the ground
  • Making sure working conditions for your team are safe and healthy
  • Advising on problems with the ground that might affect how the railway is built
  • Helping hire contractors to carry out GI work
  • Managing staff, including engineering geologists, geotechnical engineers, consultants and contractors
  • Managing a department budget
  • Reviewing historical information and reports about the site
  • Studying and understanding HS2 designs for structures like tunnels and bridges.

Is an HS2 Ground Investigation Engineer career right for me?

Do you like working with the natural environment, and applying your scientific and engineering knowledge to find the best solution? Can you work with teams with very different interests and backgrounds? If so, being an HS2 Ground Investigation Engineer could be for you.

How to become an HS2 Ground Investigation Engineer

Make sure you study the right subjects at school – the sciences will be useful, especially physics and biology, as will geography and maths. These will help put you on the right path for university – but don’t underestimate the value of work experience along the way. Contact some of the organisations listed below and see if you can organise some time working with ground investigation or geotechnical engineers.

The following degree subjects are particularly relevant:

  • Geology
  • Geophysics/geotechnology
  • Engineering geology
  • Mineral/mining engineering
  • Civil engineering

Above all, find out about the HS2 project – we’re always impressed when interview candidates can show they’ve done their research.

Institution of Civil Engineers

Institution of Materials, Minerals and Mining

Geological Society


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