posted on 26th Mar 2021 18:58
On 12 March 2021, the 100th freight train arrived at HS2’s main construction site at Calvert in Buckinghamshire. Each train arriving at Calvert carries around 1,600 tonnes of aggregate (crushed rock) from quarries in the west of England and is the equivalent of around 70 HGVs. In the first year, 180 of them are due to arrive on site.
In Buckinghamshire, the first 100 trains - operated by DB Cargo and Hanson for HS2 contractor EKFB - 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 26,200 m2 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.
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. Despite taking a major hit last year, the amount of freight on Britain’s railways in the last three months is now 2 % above pre-pandemic levels. Construction traffic, including HS2, showed the largest increase, according to figures released by the Office for Rail and Road earlier this month. 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.
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 80 km 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 3 km of earthworks along the southern edge of the Calvert site on behalf of East-West Rail.