Deliveries of tunnel segments for HS2’s London Tunnels have begun from Hartlepool, using the UK’s rail network to minimise road traffic and drastically reduce carbon emissions. STRABAG, the company manufacturing the pre-cast concrete segments for the London tunnel drives, opened a new state-of-the-art factory in the town earlier this year. The new factory has direct access to the rail network through a rail head that had not been used in over 15 years.
STRABAG have made a significant investment in Hartlepool, re-developing an old oil-rig fabrication site into a modern automated precast concrete facility which is initially being used to support the HS2 project in the UK. The HS2 contract has helped create over 100 jobs for local people, including a number of people who were previously unemployed.
The investment has extended to the rail head which runs alongside the factory, working with Network Rail to bring the disused line back into service and connecting it to the UK rail network.
STRABAG are also utilising the local supply chain, sourcing aggregate from local quarries and using UK recycled steel.
Malcolm Codling, Project Client Director for HS2 Ltd, said:
“As we prepare for the next set of tunnel drives in London, the start of deliveries of these vital parts is a further sign of momentum in the construction of HS2, building between London and the West Midlands.
“STRABAG’s investment in Hartlepool is an example of how HS2 is benefiting the UK economy. Reinstating the rail head demonstrates a commitment to a long term future for the factory, and supports HS2’s commitment to reducing its environmental impact through construction.”
Simon Wild, Managing Director of STRABAG UK, said:
“Following on from our multi-million pound investment into Hartlepool, we’re delighted to see the first trains leaving for London. The direct access from the factory to the rail network is a huge location advantage that enables us to reduce the number of journeys by lorry and carbon emissions.”
HS2’s London tunnels contractor, Skanska Costain STRABAG joint venture (SCS JV), will receive the segments at is London Logistics Hub which is near to Willesden Junction. From there, the segments will be transported to Victoria Road Crossover Box in Acton.
The segments will be used to construct the Northolt Tunnel East, a 5.4km twin bore tunnel drive from Victoria Road in Acton to Greenford. At Greenford, the tunnel will connect to the Northolt Tunnel West, and combined will complete the 13.4km tunnel taking HS2 services from Old Oak Common Station to the edge of the capital.
The next two TBMs, named Emily and Anne, will be launched by SCS JV in the new year. They were recently lowered into the ground using a 750-tonne crane and blessed by a local priest.
James Richardson, Managing Director of Skanska, Costain, STRABAG joint venture, said:
“The first delivery of tunnel segments from Hartlepool prepares us for a great year of delivery in 2024 on the HS2 London Tunnels project. From January our two newest TBMs, Emily and Anne, will use the segments to construct the eastern section of the Northolt Tunnel.
“By using rail to move 83,000 tunnel segments, we will reduce road congestion, cut CO2 emissions by 76 per cent and pave the way to a greener, cleaner future.”
The freight trains, operated by Freightliner, can carry up to 20 segment rings for the tunnels, which will be used to build 38 metres of tunnel. Each train which makes the seven hour journey from Hartlepool to London will remove the need for 40 lorries on the UK’s road network, reducing congestion and carbon emissions. Trains will run six times a week between Hartlepool and London.
STRABAG have also been awarded the contract to supply the segments for HS2’s Euston tunnel between Old Oak Common and Euston. Following the government’s Network North announcement in October, alternative funding arrangements for Euston are being considered.
For both the Northolt Tunnel East and Euston Tunnel, over 83,000 precast tunnel segments will be produced. Each ring has an 8.8m outside diameter, is 35cm thick and weighs seven tonnes.