The first rail freight delivery of aggregate has arrived at HS2’s Washwood Heath site in Birmingham, signalling the start of the major project to take up to 1.5 million lorries off the roads to cut carbon emissions.
Over the next decade, up to 15,000 freight trains will haul 10 million tonnes of aggregate to HS2 construction sites.
With each freight train that runs, around 70 lorries are off the road, meaning a huge drop in carbon emissions and marking an important investment for Britain’s rail freight sector.
The Washwood Health Railhead site, managed by HS2’s main works civils joint venture Balfour Beatty VINCI, took the first delivery from HS2 preferred aggregates supplier Rail Stone Solutions (RSS) and their rail haulage partner GB Railfreight.
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.
At Washwood Heath, 10 trains per week will arrive at the site and supply 1,500 tonnes of aggregate supplied by RSS, which will be used to build a large piling platform for the Bromford tunnel approaches, railway embankments, as well as roads around the site, which helps to limit the number of vehicles on the public highway.
Bromford Tunnel is the most northerly tunnel on Phase One, taking the railway in to Birmingham towards its destination at Curzon Street station.
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.”
Nick Coles, HS2 Programme Manager, Freight and National Passenger Operators at Network Rail said: “Network Rail has been collaborating with HS2 Ltd and its supply chain partners on the HS2 Materials by Rail programme for the past 2 years – 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, said: “The construction and infrastructure industry have 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.”
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