HS2 rail freight deliveries will take 1.5 million lorries off UK roads

Hs2 rail freight, washwood heath

HS2 has started a major rail freight delivery programme to take up to 1.5 million lorries of the roads and to cut carbon emissions

The first rail freight delivery of aggregate arrived yesterday (25 August) at HS2’s Washwood Heath site in Birmingham. Over the next decade, up to 15,000 freight trains will deliver 10 million tonnes of aggregate to HS2 construction sites. Each train will replace around 70 lorries, which will lead to a reduction in carbon emissions and will mark a significant investment for Britain’s rail freight sector.

The Washwood Heath Railhead site, took the first delivery of aggregates and over the next four months, more than 150 trains will bring up to 235,000 tonnes of stone from quarries in the Peak District, equating to keeping an estimated 13,000 lorry movements off the road.

Aiding the green recovery

Mike Lyons, HS2’s civils client director, said: “HS2 is already playing a vital role in Britain’s green economic recovery, and today marks a significant milestone in our ambitions to reduce the project’s carbon footprint throughout construction. “We’ve been working closely with Network Rail, our Main Works Civils Contractors, and Freight Operators for a number of years to make this possible, and to deliver on our commitment to move as much material as possible by rail rather than road and help benefit the environment.” At Washwood Heath, which is managed by HS2’s main works civils joint venture Balfour Beatty VINCI, 10 trains per week will each bring around 1,500 tonnes of aggregate supplied by Rail Stone Solutions (RSS), which will be used to construct a large piling platform for the Bromford tunnel, railway embankments, and haul roads around the site.

Bromford Tunnel is the most northerly tunnel on Phase One, taking the railway in to Birmingham towards its destination at Curzon Street station. Michael Dyke, Balfour Beatty VINCI managing director for HS2, said: “The construction and infrastructure industry has a huge part to play in Britain’s carbon emission mitigation, which is why today marks such a significant moment for the HS2 programme. “Balfour Beatty VINCI is deeply committed to creating more sustainable ways to travel and the modal shift from road to rail freight is a perfect example of how we can reduce our carbon footprint.”

From road to rail

A peak of around 17 trains per day will serve the Phase One programme beyond 2022.

Other sites include HS2’s Rail Logistics Hub at Willesden which will welcome up to eight freight trains a day between 2020 and 2024. These will haul around six million tonnes from the Euston approaches, including excavated material from tunnel boring machines, saving the equivalent of up to 300,000 lorry movements. Almost one million tonnes of spoil arising from Euston station will also be removed by rail – the equivalent of up to 50,000 lorry movements.

Also, approximately six million tonnes of aggregate will be delivered for works in the central area of the Phase One route, preventing up to 335,000 lorry journeys. HS2 has been working with Network Rail for a number of years to ensure the switch from road to rail. Nick Coles, HS2 program manager, said: “We’re delighted to see today’s first materials freight train to Washwood Heath and will continue to work closely with the programme in the years ahead to maximise the contribution the UK rail network and rail freight can make to the construction of HS2.”

Michael Dyke, Balfour Beatty VINCI managing director for HS2, added: “The construction and infrastructure industry has a huge part to play in Britain’s carbon emission mitigation, which is why today marks such a significant moment for the HS2 programme. “Balfour Beatty VINCI is deeply committed to creating more sustainable ways to travel and the modal shift from road to rail freight is a perfect example of how we can reduce our carbon footprint.” Jon Fisher, chief executive of GRS Group which operates Rail Stone Solutions, commented: “The time and effort we have invested planning the delivery of millions of tonnes of aggregates to HS2 is beginning to pay off and we hope this is the first of many achievements over the next decade.

“As a preferred supplier on several sections of HS2, we’re looking forward to long-term relationships with both BBV and EKBF to deliver bulk materials in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible for the project.”

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