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HS2 celebrates Bucks rail freight milestone as 100,000 lorry journeys taken off local roads

  • Massive achievement as one million tonnes of aggregate delivered by rail to HS2 construction sites in Buckinghamshire, taking the equivalent of 100,096 HGV journeys off Britain’s roads and cutting 11,399 tonnes of carbon emissions

  • Download photos of the train being loaded with the millionth tonne at a Hanson quarry in the west of England.

HS2 today confirmed that more than a million tonnes of construction material have been delivered by rail to the high speed rail’s work sites across Buckinghamshire, taking the equivalent of 100,096 HGV journeys off local roads.

The huge milestone was achieved over eighteen months, with 583 trains delivering aggregate to three locations around Calvert and Aylesbury. Transporting this material by rail instead of by road is estimated to have saved 11,399 tonnes of co2 emissions.

The construction of HS2 – which is designed to improve links between London, Birmingham and the north, help level-up the economy and provide a low carbon alternative to car and air travel – is now well underway across Buckinghamshire, with the aggregate used for early works and temporary site access roads.

The first freight railhead opened at Calvert at the end of 2020, with only 180 trains scheduled to deliver aggregate from Hanson quarries in the west of England. Following the success of the project, new railheads were established near Calvert and Aylesbury to allow a massive increase in the amount of material delivered by rail.

The work is being managed by HS2’s main works contractor EKFB – a team made up of Eiffage, Kier, Ferrovial Construction and Bam Nuttall. The freight trains were operated by DB Cargo and Hanson and coordinated by rail freight specialists, Fishbone.

HS2 Project Client, Rohan Perin said: “We are serious about reducing the impact of construction on the local community and every freight train delivering material to site is the equivalent of around 70 trucks that would otherwise be on local roads.

“HS2 will offer zero carbon journey for passengers, but it’s also important that we drive down the amount of embedded carbon in construction. We’ve been working closely with Network Rail, EKFB and the Freight Operators for a number of years to make deliveries by rail possible and it’s great to see that our freight trains have now passed the one million tonne mark.”

Across the whole HS2 project, 15,000 freight trains are set to haul 10 million tonnes of aggregate to construction sites – taking the equivalent of 1.5 million HGVs off the UK’s roads.

Head of EKFB Logistics and Security, Chris Barton said: “The EKFB Logistics Team always strives to optimise deliveries where possible and the Material by Rail strategy is central to that. With the support of our partners, Fishbone Solutions, Hanson, DB Cargo, RFS and Mendip Rail, this strategy has allowed EKFB to remove a substantial number of vehicles from the roads adjacent to the construction sites and critically reduce the impacts on local communities, but also transform how we manage logistics on this project.

“It is no small task and we are all immensely proud of our achievements so far, and we now look forward to the next million tons.”

The construction milestone comes as HS2 continues to make significant progress across the county. The two tunnelling machines excavating the Chiltern tunnel have both dug almost three miles, the designs for the Calvert Infrastructure Maintenance depot revealed and the first ‘green tunnel’ at Chipping Warden has begun construction.

Some of the first archaeological finds will soon go on display at the Discover Bucks Museum in Aylesbury.


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