Rebar facility, via HS2

HS2’s innovative rebar facility to combat construction materials deficiencies

In a bid to combat ongoing materials shortages, HS2 has established an innovative rebar threading facility at the Copthall tunnel construction site in Hillingdon, thus generating new jobs whilst reducing waste and unnecessary vehicular transportation.

This fresh facility will facilitate the creation of the 92,000 rebar couplers needed to construct the Copthall tunnel. The teams constructing the tunnel have been combating delays from a shortfall of available prefabricated fatigue rated rebar couplers.

The new threading will produce these requirements, as well as producing significant financial savings for the project in an environmentally sustainable and efficient effort. Construction of the 880 metre long cut and cover will see a team of 14 engineers working six days over eight hour shifts throughout a three-year period to meet the supply needs.

This facility was actioned and constructed over a 20-week period, seeing the team receive their CARES certification (assured certification for the constructional steels industry) for the work and securing the required equipment from a Sheffield based partner company. This marks a historic achievement, being only the second time that a CARES certification has been awarded for on-site activity.

The stock rebar that has been purchased is then processed on-site, prior to it then being taken through a four-step threading process before being delivered to the Copthall tunnel construction area.

To remove the need for unnecessary lorry movements, these works will take place in the site boundaries, decarbonising the process and supporting HS2’s Net Zero carbon targets.

The solution was devised by Ray Moloney, Senior Project Manager for SCS JV, who explained the approach, saying:

“Uncertainties in the market and the need to meet the requirements of the HS2 construction programme meant that we had to look at an innovative solution for supplying fatigue rated mechanical reinforcement connections. In mid-2022 we started engaging with partners including Leviat and CARES to develop an on-site processing scheme and within 20 weeks, we were processing our first order.

“The solution has created new jobs, offered new training opportunities for engineers and means that we can remove the risk of any delays in construction due to supply shortages.”

HS2’s Project Client, Malcolm Codling, said:

“We are always looking at ways in which we can improve construction efficiency and are pleased to support our construction partners in developing solutions like this and getting them off the ground. Ray and the team have developed an approach that means we can stay on track, save money, and can be replicated elsewhere.”

This kind of innovation has the opportunity to transform the construction side of rail infrastructure projects, with the model offering a blueprint for other major schemes across the UK. The team is currently observing how they can further improve productivity in the manufacturing process to create additional capacity that can, in turn, support other supply needs for the entire HS2 project.

Want to know more about the opportunities to become a key supplier to the UK rail industry? Attend TransCityRail and access an exclusive marketplace of buyers from Network Rail, HS2, Train Operators, Major Contractors, and all other tiers of the supply chain. For more information and to secure your place click here.  

RTM Mag Cover, Feb/March 23


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This episode of Track Talk sees a discussion with Conservative MP for Milton Keynes South Iain Stewart, Chair of the Transport Committee. The focus of this episode revolves around disruptive technologies within the rail sector, specifically the impact that the new, innovative advancements and trends might have across all modes of transport. The Transport Committee are taking proposals from people in the sector who are in the know about innovations that deserve more attention, so we have given them the platform to discuss the process and hear what the committee is looking for. 

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