A ton of HS2 freight trains call at Calvert

The 100th freight train to call at Calvert railhead is unloaded.

More than 100 freight trains have now called at HS2’s main construction site in Buckinghamshire, delivering 150,000 tonnes of aggregate for use around the Calvert railhead and taking the equivalent of 7,500 heavy lorries off local roads.

The temporary 26,200 square-metre Calvert railhead site, which will be the main construction and logistics hub during work on the central section of the HS2 project, is being built by contractor EKFB – a joint venture of Eiffage, Kier, Ferrovial and Bam Nuttall.

New temporary access roads will then be used to move people and materials from the railhead, helping to take construction traffic off local roads. Once HS2 is complete, the railhead and temporary access roads will be removed and the site landscaped, leaving only a small infrastructure maintenance depot.

Ambrose McGuire, HS2.

HS2 project client director Ambrose McGuire said: “We are serious about reducing the impact of construction on the local community and promoting sustainable construction methods. That’s why I’m so pleased to see material arriving into Calvert by rail instead of road.

“We’ve been working closely with Network Rail, EKFB and the Freight Operators for a number of years to make this possible, and to deliver not only low carbon journeys for our passengers, but also cut carbon in construction.”

Despite taking a major hit last year, the amount of freight on Britain’s railways in the last three months is now 2% above pre-pandemic levels. Construction traffic, including HS2, showed the largest increase, according to figures released by the Office for Rail and Road earlier this month.

Peter Bimson, EKFB.

EKFB project director Peter Bimson added: “We are excited to have reached this 100th freight train milestone into the Calvert Railhead so quickly, already removing thousands of HGVs from the road in the local area.

“EKFB strives to be at the forefront of carbon reduction in the construction industry, so reducing our impact on the environment and delivering our section of the HS2 project with as little impact as possible is aptly demonstrated through our use of rail over road.”

At the peak of construction, more than 650 people will work at the Calvert Railhead. They will be some of 4,000 jobs set to be created by EKFB over the next two years working a 80km section of the railway between the Chilterns and south Warwickshire, including 17 viaducts, 81 bridges and three ‘green tunnels’.

The railhead is also next to a section of disused railway which is being brought back into use as part of the East-West rail project which is set to link Oxford, Milton Keynes, Bedford, Aylesbury and Cambridge. The two teams are working closely together on their construction plans, with HS2 set to deliver three bridges and 3km of earthworks along the southern edge of the Calvert site on behalf of East West Rail.

The first freight train arrives at HS2’s Calvert railhead in December 2020.

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