HS2 and East West Rail
It’s just north of Quainton where HS2 and East West Rail are bound closer than ever before. Once it’s swept through the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre’s car park, HS2 follows the route of the Great Central Railway’s London Extension for approximately 15 miles as far as Westbury (just to the south of Brackley), where it is planned to diverge on a new alignment through Northamptonshire.
What that means is that nearly eight miles of EWR work has been authorised under the High Speed Rail (London-Birmingham) Act 2017, and work must fit into HS2’s delivery timetable.
Speaking to RAIL a year ago ( RAIL 834), East West Rail Alliance Director Dominic Baldwin said: “With HS2 we share a footprint and corridor. We did an engineering study and identified that there were lots of efficiencies to be had by building within the same corridor.
“On the back of that, we identified that our schedule would need to be accelerated to be within the HS2 blockades of that part of our route next year. If it wasn’t, then the delivery of this project would probably have been deferred back to Control Period 7 [2024-29]. Furthermore, it would cost both projects a lot more money, as it’s far more efficient to do both works at once. Both parties agreed, and it was subsequently agreed to find additional funding out of current commitments.
“The issue we have is that we have significant dependencies on each other where HS2 intersects with our railway. They have an obligation to do the civils work, and we the railway systems on our bit. It’s a very clean handover and design, and construction responsibility is all very clearly documented and all signed off by the DfT.”
With HS2 and EWR passing through Calvert, what will happen to the famed ‘bin liner’ trains?
The trains will continue to run, but they will no longer park and shunt on the remains on the London Extension. New sidings will be built north of the unloading facilities near the remains of Calvert station. Shunting operations will be contained within this new yard, in order to minimise disruption to EWR.