Throughout the duration of the HS2 project, there has been a strong commitment to generating environmentally sustainable construction methods and incorporating natural habitats wherever possible. In keeping with these ambitions, HS2 has announced their successes in so far as 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.

This major milestone has been achieved over the course of 18 months, seeing a shift to rail haulage with 583 trains delivering aggregate to three locations around Calvert and Aylesbury. The transportation of materials through rail freight is estimated to have saved 11,399 tonnes of co2 emissions.

The first freight railhead at Calvert was opened at the end of 2020, seeing only 180 trains scheduled to deliver aggregate from Hanson quarries in the west of England. Due to the demonstrable success of the project, there have been new railheads established near Calvert and Aylesbury which willy massively increase the availability for haulage and material deliveries via rail.

transporting material via rail

Across the whole project, HS2 say that 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. This ‘megaton milestone’, therefore, represents only the tip of the iceberg – literally. “The EKFB logistics team always strives to optimise deliveries where possible, and the Material by Rail strategy is central to that”, said Chris Barton, their logistics and security head. “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.”

As has been a constant through the HS2 project, the works are being managed by the main contractor EKFB - a team made up of Eiffage, Kier, Ferrovial Construction and Bam Nuttall. DB Cargo and Hanson have conducted the freight haulage operation, being co-ordinated by rail freight specialists, Fishbone.