Tuesday 25th August 2020 saw the first rail freight delivery of aggregate to arrive at HS2’s Washwood Heath site in Birmingham. This signals the start of HS2’s major programme to take up to 1.5 million lorries off the roads to cut down on carbon emissions.
Over the next ten years, around 15,000 freight trains will haul 10 million tonnes of aggregate to HS2 construction sites. Each freight train will replace around 70 lorries, representing a massive reduction in carbon emissions and marking a significant investment into Britain’s rail freight sector.
The Washwood Heath Railhead site, which is managed by HS2’s main works civils joint venture Balfour Beatty Vinci, took the first delivery from HS2’s preferred aggregates supplier, Rail Stone Solutions (RSS), and their rail haulage partner GB Railfreight. Over the next four months more than 150 trains will bring up to 235,000 tonnes of stone from quarries in the Peak District, equating to keeping an estimated 13,000 lorry movements off the UK’s roads.
Mike Lyons, HS2’s Civils Client Director said: “HS2 is already playing a vital role in Britain’s green economic recovery, and today marks a significant milestone in our ambitions to reduce the project’s carbon footprint throughout construction.
“We’ve been working closely with Network Rail, our Main Works Civils Contractors, and Freight Operators for a number of years to make this possible, and to deliver on our commitment to move as much material as possible by rail rather than road and help benefit the environment.”
At Washwood Heath, 10 trains a week will each bring around 1,500 tonnes of aggregate supplied by RSS, which will be used to construct a large piling platform for the Bromford tunnel approaches, railway embankments, as well as haul roads around the site, which helps to limit the amount of vehicles on the public highway. Bromford Tunnel is the most northerly tunnel on Phase One, taking the railway in to Birmingham towards its destination at Curzon Street station.
A peak of around 17 trains per day will serve the Phase One programme beyond 2022. Other sites include HS2’s Rail Logistics Hub at Willesden which will welcome up to eight freight trains a day between 2020 and 2024. These will haul a total volume of around six million tonnes from the Euston approaches, including excavated material from tunnel boring machines – saving the equivalent of up to 300,000 lorry movements.
HS2 has been working with Network Rail for a number of years to ensure capacity on the rail network is available for HS2’s contractors to deliver their requirements by rail rather than road.
Nick Coles, HS2 Programme Manager, Freight and National Passenger Operators at Network Rail, said: “Network Rail has been collaborating with HS2 Ltd and its supply chain partners on the HS2 Materials by Rail programme for the past 2 years – we’re delighted to see today’s first materials freight train to Washwood Heath and will continue to work closely with the programme in the years ahead to maximise the contribution the UK rail network and rail freight can make to the construction of HS2.”
Michael Dyke, Balfour Beatty VINCI Managing Director for HS2, said: “The construction and infrastructure industry has a huge part to play in Britain’s carbon emission mitigation, which is why today marks such a significant moment for the HS2 programme. Balfour Beatty VINCI is deeply committed to creating more sustainable ways to travel and the modal shift from road to rail freight is a perfect example of how we can reduce our carbon footprint.”
If you would like to read more like this, then please click here