A huge HS2 construction compound and a new hill which will take high-speed trains through the countryside in Three Rivers are a step closer this morning.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has launched the bidding process for seven contracts for phase one of HS2.

Three construction compounds look set to be built in West Hyde during the building of the line between London and Birmingham.

Up to 500 workers could be on the site 24 hours a day for at least eight years and 250 workmen could be living there during the construction of the controversial railway.

The compound is needed while the Chiltern Tunnel and the Colne Valley Viaduct are built – two major aspects of phase one of HS2.

But this morning it has emerged that Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne is trying to woo some of China’s biggest investors to be part of the project.

Earth embankments will also be created in Three Rivers and it is estimated 6 million tonnes of material will be needed to form the West Hyde embankment. The new hill will be built to the south-west of West Hyde.

HS2 Ltd Chief Executive Simon Kirby said the “winners of these contracts will go on to build 230km of bridges, tunnels and earthworks and create thousands of jobs across the construction industry”.

He added: “The start of the civil engineering bidding process is a major milestone for HS2 as we continue to move towards the start of construction in 2017”.

In March, West Hyde residents went to Parliament in a bid to secure compensation because of fears over vibrations from the tunnel, “blight” on their properties and increased traffic in the area.

Speaking in China, Chancellor George Osborne said: “This government is committed to rebalancing our economy and building a Northern Powerhouse, and improving transport links and launching HS2 is key to supporting long-term economic growth across the North and Midlands.

“That’s why I’m here in China today opening the bidding process for construction contracts worth £11.8bn, which will propel HS2 forward. “We are truly entering a golden era of cooperation between our two countries, and it’s crucial that businesses and communities from across the UK feel the full benefit of forging closer economic links with China.”

The route for the controversial project will take trains from London Euston, through an 8 mile tunnel to Ruislip before continuing to the Colne Valley, in the London Borough of Hillingdon.

It will then go over a viaduct, which is estimated to be more than two miles long and 15 metres high, and into Three Rivers, where it will continue on earth embankments to the Chiltern Tunnel.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “HS2 provides an excellent opportunity for businesses across the UK with 25,000 jobs created during construction and 3,000 when up and running.

“The start of the procurement process for these significant contracts is a major step towards construction on HS2 getting underway in two years’ time and a massive opportunity to help rebalance our economy long before the trains start running in 2026.”