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‘Beating heart of HS2 in London’ unveiled at logistics hub

Skanska’s Costain STRABAG JV, working for HS2, has unveiled the 30-acre logistics hub where London tunnels’ waste will be processed.

The hub is located near Willesden Junction and will form the beating heart of the logistics operation for HS2 in London. It has been constructed and will be operated by the Skanska Costain STRABAG joint venture, HS2’s main works civils contractor.

Construction of HS2’s 26 miles of London tunnels will require 5.6 million tonnes of earth to be excavated. After being processed at the hub, it will be taken by train to three locations across the UK – Barrington in Cambridgeshire, Cliffe in Kent, and Rugby in Warwickshire – where it will be reused, filling voids which will then be used as a basis for redevelopment, such as house building.

The site will also receive more than 100,000 pre-cast tunnel segment rings to build the walls of the London tunnels, delivered by rail from UK manufacturing sites. The SCS JV has already confirmed that the first contract for pre-cast tunnel segment rings has been awarded to Pacadar UK, and will be delivered to the site from their factory on the Isle of Grain in Kent.

At its peak, eight trains will leave and arrive at the logistics hub every day, maximising the use of rail freight in the construction of HS2 in London and reducing by one million the number of lorry movements on the UK’s roads.

James Richardson, Managing Director of Skanska Costain STRABAG JV, said: “The logistics hub is central to the London Tunnels programme. Collaborating with other partners delivering HS2, we will remove 5.6million tonnes of spoil by rail and bringing in our tunnel segments, taking one million lorry journeys off the road. We are committed to reducing our environmental impact and by using rail we will reduce our carbon emissions for logistics by 40 per cent.”

Speaking at the opening of the logistics hub, Mark Thurston, HS2 Chief Executive Officer, said: “In building Britain’s new high-speed railway, HS2 is committed to protecting the environment and minimising our carbon footprint during design, construction and operation. As a result, we are moving as much material as we can by rail as part of our Materials by Rail programme.

“The logistics hub at Willesden will be the beating heart of our London logistics operation and is a critical part of how we are building HS2.”

The site’s connections to the conventional railway make it an ideal location to coordinate HS2’s London logistics operation.

The logistics trains are operated by GB Railfreight as part of a meticulously planned operation between HS2, Network Rail, SCS JV and HS2’s supply chain. The first train left the site at the end of June, taking 1,470 tonnes of spoil to Barrington in Cambridgeshire.

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said: “Today’s opening marks a huge commitment to reducing the impact of carbon emissions caused by construction and we’re proud to jointly recognise this with HS2 by unveiling the fittingly rebranded Class 66, ‘The Green Progressor’.

“HS2 Willesden’s logistics hub promises to support the growth of rail freight in the UK by removing one million HGVs from our capital’s roads alone. By increasing the amount of material transported by rail freight for the construction of HS2 in London, GBRf will continue to play a leading role in the delivery of the Government’s net zero targets and the decarbonisation of transport.”