With significant focus on the green impact of major infrastructure projects across the UK recently, the opening of a new railhead near the village of Calvert has been welcomed as it helps HS2 reduce its environmental impact.
The new extension – the second to be built at Calvert – will allow HS2 to continue to deliver key construction materials to its largest Buckinghamshire site without the need to put additional lorries on local roads.
An extra 150 aggregate trains will now be able to be ran by HS2 over the next two months, saving approximately 8,300 tonnes of carbon and taking the equivalent of 24,000 trucks off the roads.
Once completed, HS2 will pass by Calvert in a 2.5-mile cutting, roughly following the route of the disused Great Central Railway, with a spur off to a new Infrastructure Maintenance Depot from which engineers will repair and maintain the new line.
The new Infrastructure Maintenance Depot is expected to create around 180 jobs locally and will sit alongside the new East-West Rail line which is currently being reopened in stages between Oxford, Milton Keynes, Bedford and Cambridge.
Closed in the 1960s, the reopened East-West Rail line will cross HS2 just north of Calvert.
As part of efforts to reduce overall disruption for local residents and boost efficiency, HS2 are also delivering 3km of earthworks for East-West Rail, at the site where it crosses the HS2 route, including a spur to allow a potential East-West Rail extension to Aylesbury.
HS2 Ltd’s Senior Project Manager, Paul Marshall said: “We’re making strong progress at Calvert and the opening of the new railhead means that we can continue to deliver huge amounts of materials by rail – taking trucks off local roads and reducing disruption for the local community.
“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.”
Already 369 freight trains have arrived at the first Calvert railhead constructed. This equates to more than 840,000 tonnes of construction materials having been delivered by the end of the year; the equivalent of 84,000 trucks off the roads and saving 29,000 tonnes of carbon.
Construction is being managed by HS2’s main works contractor, EKFB – a team made up of Eiffage, Kier, Ferrovial and BAM Nuttall.
EKFB Operations Director, Peter Bimson, added: “We are delighted to be at the forefront of carbon reduction in the construction industry, and bringing this aggregate into Calvert by train instead of road is not only more efficient, but significantly reduces our impact on the environment.
“Removing thousands of HGVs from the roads in the Calvert area also demonstrates our commitment to the local community in delivering EKFB’s section of the HS2 project with as little impact as possible.”
Across the entire HS2 project, 15,000 freight trains are set to be used to haul 10 million tonnes of aggregate to construction sites along the route – taking the equivalent of 1.5 million HGVs off UK roads.