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100th freight train arrives at HS2’s Bucks construction site

Posted: 26 March 2021 | | No comments yet

The first 100 trains into HS2’s main compound in Buckinghamshire have now taken the equivalent of 7,500 HGVs off Britain’s roads and cut over 24,000 tonnes of carbon emissions.

100th freight train arrives at HS2’s Bucks construction site

Credit: HS2 Ltd

The 100th freight train has arrived at HS2’s main construction site in Buckinghamshire, and the latest figures show that construction of the UK’s new high-speed railway has helped the rail freight industry bounce back from the pandemic.

Operated by DB Cargo and Hanson for HS2 contractor EKFB – the first 100 trains have so far delivered 150,000 tonnes of aggregate for use around the Calvert Railhead. Transporting this material by rail instead of road has already taken the equivalent of 7,500 HGVs off local roads.

The temporary 26,200m2 Calvert Railhead site is being built by HS2’s main works contractor EKFB – a team made up of Eiffage, Kier, Ferrovial and Bam Nuttall – and will be the main construction and logistics hub during work on the central section of the HS2 project.

New temporary access roads will then be used to move people and materials from the railhead, helping to take construction traffic off local roads. Once HS2 is complete, the railhead and temporary access roads will be removed and the site landscaped, leaving only a small infrastructure maintenance depot.

Ambrose McGuire, HS2 Project Client Director, said: “We are serious about reducing the impact of construction on the local community and promoting sustainable construction methods. That’s why I’m so pleased to see material arriving into Calvert by rail instead of road. We’ve been working closely with Network Rail, EKFB and the freight operators for a number of years to make this possible, and to deliver not only low carbon journeys for our passengers, but also cut carbon in construction.”

Despite taking a major hit in 2020, the amount of freight on Britain’s railways in the last three months is now two per cent above pre-pandemic levels. Construction traffic, including HS2, showed the largest increase, according to figures released by the Office for Rail and Road (ORR) in March 2021.

Across the whole HS2 project, 15,000 freight trains are set to haul 10 million tonnes of aggregate to construction sites – taking the equivalent of 1.5 million HGVs off the UK’s roads.

Peter Bimson, EKFB Project Director, said: “EKFB strives to be at the forefront of carbon reduction in the construction industry, so reducing our impact on the environment and delivering our section of the HS2 project with as little impact as possible is aptly demonstrated through our use of rail over road.”

At the peak of construction, more than 650 people will work at the Calvert Railhead. They will be some of 4,000 jobs set to be created by EKFB over the next two years working a 80km section of the railway between the Chilterns and south Warwickshire, including 17 viaducts, 81 bridges and three ‘green tunnels’.

The railhead is also next to a section of disused railway which is being brought back into use as part of the East-West rail project which is set to link Oxford, Milton Keynes, Bedford, Aylesbury and Cambridge. The two teams are working closely together on their construction plans, with HS2 set to deliver three bridges and 3km of earthworks along the southern edge of the Calvert site on behalf of East-West Rail.

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