HS2 unveils major London logistics hub in Willesden

Described as the ‘beating heart of HS2 in London’, the vast 30-acre site near Willesden Junction in the capital has been officially opened by HS2 Ltd, with operations already well underway to begin its crucial role in processing materials coming both in and out of the major infrastructure project.

The hub has been constructed and is to be operated by Skanska Costain STRABAG joint venture (SCS JV), HS2’s Main Works Civils Contractor, and aims to take one million lorry movements off UK roads during its operational lifespan.

The site chosen for the logistics hub previously served as the Freightliner Terminal, first opened in 1967, as well as becoming one of nine regional freight terminals developed to specifically handle intermodal traffic from the Channel Tunnel. Since 2005, the site had fallen into disuse, but given its existing connections to the conventional railway, it had been identified as an ideal location to serve as HS2’s London logistical base of operations.

First freight train is loaded at Willesden

As part of this, it will be the site where earth removed from the 26 miles of tunnelling taking place in and around London for HS2 will be processed, as well as where critical construction materials such as precast tunnel segment rings are delivered.

A total of 5.6 million tonnes of earth is required to be excavated to construct HS2’s London tunnels.

After being processed at the Willesden site, it will then be taken by train to three UK locations to be put to beneficial reuse, such as filling voids which will then be used as a basis for redevelopment, such as housebuilding.

These selected sites are at Barrington in Cambridgeshire, Cliffe in Kent, and Rugby in Warwickshire.

The site will also see over 100,000 precast tunnel segment rings received by rail, from manufacturing sites across the UK. The first contract for these segment rings has already been confirmed by SCS JV and will see them delivered to the Willesden site from Pacadar UK’s factory in the Isle of Grain in Kent.

At peak operation, eight trains per day will depart and arrive at the vast logistics hub, helping to maximise the use of rail freight in the construction of HS2 in the capital.

Speaking at the opening of HS2’s Logistics Hub, HS2’s Chief Executive Officer, Mark Thurston, said: ““In building Britain’s new high-speed railway, HS2 is committed to protecting the environment and minimising our carbon footprint during design, construction and operation. As a result, we are moving as much material as we can by rail as part of our Materials by Rail programme.

“The logistics hub at Willesden will be the beating heart of our London logistics operation and is a critical part of how we are building HS2.”

The operation is being coordinated from a refurbished building on the site. Sheffield based SME, 3Squared, has developed a bespoke rail logistics software solution to manage and track the railway materials movements in and out.

Ongoing work at the Willesden logistics hub

SCS JV Managing Director, James Richardson, added: "The logistics hub is central to the London tunnels programme.

“Collaborating with other partners delivering HS2, we will remove 5.6million tonnes of spoil by rail and bringing in our tunnel segments, taking one million lorry journeys off the road.

“We are committed to reducing our environmental impact and by using rail we will reduce our carbon emissions for logistics by 40%."

Rail Technology Magazine latest edition APR/May 22

RTM APR/May 22

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion: An essential agenda for UK Rail's future

Our April/May 2022 edition of RTM is now live, packed full of insights and analysis of rail projects, innovations, and ambitions across the UK network. Jump in and hear from the likes of Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen on how they’re supercharging rail in the region, hear from RIA Chief Executive Darren Caplan as he outlines why ED&I is essential to the future of rail, and Alan Pattison breaks down the unique work which went into rebuilding Soham station, alongside much, much more…

Videos...

View all videos
TransCityRail Banner

TransCityRail

South \ 29 09 22
North \ 10 11 22
Mids \ 10 02 23

TransCityRail is a series of regional, interactive and insightful events across the country bringing together leaders, collaborators, problem solvers and innovators in a creative and invigorating way.
 

This series of events supports and informs the whole of the rail industry and connects suppliers with buyers, specifiers, leaders and decision-makers looking to procure a wide variety of innovative products and services for their region.

Podcast

The Green Rail Revolution

Maria Machancoses, Director of Midlands Connect discusses the importance of HS2 to the Midlands and the UK, their collaborative work with the Department for Transport, and how we need to embrace the railways again.

More articles...

View all