HS2: 10 Million Tonnes Of Material Moved By Rail

posted on 14th May 2023 13:52

On 11 May 2023 HS2 announced that 10 million tonnes of material have been delivered to - and removed from - construction sites by rail, a major milestone in HS2’s plan to cut carbon emissions by removing lorries from roads. Businesses involved came together to celebrate at an event at Tarmac’s Tunstead Quarry, including HS2 Ltd, Network Rail, aggregate suppliers, transport solution companies, and four freight operators - along with a unique line-up of locomotives from each company.

When HS2 launched its ‘Materials by Rail’ programme in 2020, the target by 2030 was to haul 10 million tonnes of aggregate to and from sites, taking up to 1.5 million lorries off the roads using up to 15,000 freight trains.

Working strategically with joint venture partners, Network Rail, freight operators and building materials companies, HS2 has already moved over 10 million tonnes of materials by rail in just over two years. It is now expected that HS2 will move 20 million tonnes of aggregate across the Phase One programme, removing three million lorries from the strategic road network on 30,000 freight trains. HS2 has been working with Network Rail for a number of years to ensure that capacity on the rail network is available for HS2’s contractors to deliver their requirements by rail rather than road. 

Representatives from transport solutions companies also attended - Fishbone, Rail Stone Solutions (RSS), Legge infrastructure and Mendip Rail, along with the four freight operators - DB Cargo UK, DC Rail (part of the Cappagh Group of Companies), Freightliner and GB Railfreight (GBRf), and aggregate suppliers - Tarmac, Aggregate Industries, CEMEX UK and Hanson UK.

One of the Class 66 locomotives at the event, 66 796, was rebranded by GB Railfreight with an HS2 design in 2021 to mark the opening of the project’s London logistics hub. The HS2 locomotive was named ‘The Green Progressor’ by 17-year-old HS2 enthusiast, Jermaine from Leeds, who was also present at today’s milestone event.

All HS2’s main works contractors have contributed to the materials by rail milestone - Align (a joint venture formed of Bouygues Travaux Publics, Sir Robert McAlpine, and VolkerFitzpatrick), BBV (Balfour Beatty VINCI), BBVS (Balfour Beatty VINCI SYSTRA), EKFB (a team made up of Eiffage, Kier, Ferrovial and Bam Nuttall) and Skanska Costain STRABAG.

Along with freight operators and aggregate companies, UK businesses are already benefitting from contracts on HS2. There are now nearly 30,000 jobs supported by the programme and around 2,500 British-based businesses have delivered work on HS2 so far. Once HS2 opens and moves long-distance, inter-city passenger services on to dedicated high-speed lines, the new railway will free up space for even more freight services across the country, as well as additional local and regional passenger trains.

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