HS2 has begun construction of the first of five ‘green tunnels’ that have been designed to blend into the landscape.
The first tunnel is being built at Chipping Warden, Northamptonshire and will be 2.5 kilometres in length.
Instead of a traditional underground approach to tunnel building, this structure will be built on the surface using an off-site manufacturing approach that will speed up construction.
This was developed by HS2’s main works contractor EKFB – a team made up of Eiffage, Kier, Ferrovial Construction and BAM Nuttall – taking on board approaches used in the construction of France’s latest high-speed lines.
Designed as an m-shaped double arch, the tunnel will have separate halves for southbound and northbound trains, each the height of two double-decker buses.
Instead of casting the whole tunnel on site, over 5,000 concrete segments will be made by Stanton Precast at its Derbyshire factory and then assembled in situ.
Five different concrete precast segments will be slotted together to achieve the double arch – one central pier, two side walls and two roof slabs.
All 5,020 segments will be steel-reinforced, with the largest weighing up to 43 tonnes.
Once complete the tunnel will then be covered with earth, trees, shrubs and hedgerows to blend into the surrounding countryside.
“The Chipping Warden green tunnel is a great example of what we’re doing to reduce disruption for people living close to the railway and it’s fantastic to see the first arches in position.
“Our trains will be powered by zero carbon electricity but it’s also important to reduce the amount of carbon embedded in construction.
“The off-site manufacturing techniques being used will help cutting the overall amount of carbon-intensive concrete and steel in the tunnel and make the whole process faster, more efficient and therefore less disruptive for the community.”
The tunnel will be built in sections, with construction to be completed in 2024.
Similar green tunnels will be built at Greatworth, Northamptonshire, Wendover, Buckinghamshire and Burton Green, Warwickshire.
These will stretch for a combined total of more than four miles, with tailored landscaping plans for each tunnel to factor in the planning of trees and shrubs native to the local area.
Birmingham City Council has granted planning permission approval for HS2's Washwood Heath Depot, north-east of Birmingham city centre.
HS2's tunnel boring machines, Florence and Cecilia have passed the halfway point on their 10-mile journey excavating the Chiltern tunnels.
HS2 Ltd’s contractor, Align JV has installed the last of 292 concrete piles, forming the foundations for the UK’s longest railway bridge.
Network Rail has upgraded Banbury train depot to keep trains moving on the Chiltern main line during HS2 construction.
The first five-metre-tall V-shaped pier for the Curzon No. 3 Viaduct into HS2's Curzon Street Station in Birmingham has been installed.
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Huw Merriman MP, Minister of State at the Department for Transport, will give a keynote address at this year’s Rail Industry Forum.
HS2’s tunnel boring machine (TBM) Dorothy has begun its second one-mile tunnel bore under Long Itchington Wood in Warwickshire.
HS2 's Euston site construction team Mace Dragados Joint Venture is trialling a hydrogen fuel cell to power a fully electric JCB telehandler.
A second 140 metre long, 2,050 tonnes tunnel boring machine (TBM) has begun its journey across London for HS2.
The West Midlands Rail Executive (WMRE) has revised its strategy on how to grow and develop the region’s rail network over the next 30 years.
HS2’s workforce has almost hit the 30,000 mark. This is down to the recruitment of 2,300 new employees in the last three months.
HS2’s main works contractor, EKFB, has started working on two of the project’s longest cuttings in Buckingham and Oxfordshire.
HS2 has launched the first of six tunnel boring machines (TBMs) that will dig more than 26 miles of tunnels under London.
HS2 Ltd has opened applications for tech start-ups and SMEs to join the fifth group of its Innovation Accelerator programme.
HS2 has commenced work on the thirty-eight cross passages that will link the northbound and southbound Chiltern tunnels.
Dorothy, HS2’s 2000-tonne tunnel boring machine, has made its first breakthrough on the UK's high-speed rail line from London to Birmingham.
HS2 Ltd has contracted Laing O’Rourke to build the HS2 Interchange Station in Solihull at the heart of the high-speed rail network.
The first design images have been revealed for HS2’s maintenance and control centre at the Washwood Heath Depot in Birmingham.
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Birmingham City Council has granted planning permission to HS2 Ltd to construct two viaducts in Birmingham.
Balfour Beatty VINCI Joint Venture is trialling an electric, high-capacity drilling rig for construction in Warwickshire.
HS2 has announced that OpenSpace Group Ltd is using artificial intelligence (AI) and LiDAR sensors to develop future train stations.
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HS2 has reached an agreement to purchase Square One on Travis Street, Manchester from property provider Bruntwood.
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HS2 has unveiled updated environmentally-friendly designs for the Cubbington, Warwickshire section of the new high speed line.
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The two tunnel boring machines digging the HS2 twin tunnels under the Chilterns have reached the ventilation shaft at Chalfont St Peter.
HS2 has shared updated designs for its high speed railway terminus station at London Euston, which will be set across three levels.
The Mace and Dragados joint venture (MD JV) – HS2’s construction partner for Euston station – is ramping up procurement this month.
A new piling technology, known as hollow impressed precast energy reusable pile (HIPER), is being trialled at HS2’s Euston station site.
HS2 has signed the Rail Supply Group’s Work Pipeline Visibility Charter and will share its rail systems' technical specifications publicly.
The ‘High Speed Rail (Crewe-Manchester) Bill’ – HS2 Phase 2b Western Leg – will be introduced in parliament today (24 January 2022).
HS2 has chosen TK Elevator to manufacture and install approximately 160 lifts and 130 escalators at its four main stations.
HS2 archaeologists have excavated a vast roman settlement in Northamptonshire - one of over 100 sites HS2 has examined since 2018.
HS2 has published its Net Zero Carbon Plan, which sets out how it plans to make the project net zero carbon from 2035.
HS2 has revealed the first images of its 1.5 mile-long Greatworth tunnel - one of three ‘green tunnels’ to be built in Bucks and Notts.
Balfour Beatty VINCI (BBV) has launched a recruitment drive to support HS2 construction works planned for 2022 and beyond.
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The first of 56 giant concrete piers for the Colne Valley Viaduct has been cast. Once complete, this will be the UK's longest rail bridge.
The contract to design, build and maintain the HS2 rolling stock fleet for Phase 1 London-Birmingham has gone to the Hitachi Rail-Alstom JV.
The first tunnel boring machine working on HS2 in the Midlands launched on 2 December, excavating a one-mile tunnel in Warwickshire.
As part of Alstom's acquisition of Bombardier Transportation, the companies agreed to divest a number of assets, including the V300 ZEFIRO.
Stanton Precast has been awarded the contract to deliver three 'green tunnels' for HS2 by the main works contractor EKFB.
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The Integrated Rail Plan published today, 18 November 2021, announces a huge slash in new railway lines being built in England.
HS2 has published a shortlist of bidders for the Phase 2a Design and Delivery Partner contract. The winner will be announced next summer.
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HS2 tunnel boring machine ‘Florence’ has passed the one mile mark, cutting through a mix of chalk and flint beneath the Chiltern hills.
HS2 has invited six bidders to tender for a major two-part enabling works contract for its recently approved Phase 2a section.
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HS2 Ltd has published revised images of the Adelaide Road headhouse in Camden, after changes were made to the design.
Images of HS2’s Chesham Road rural headhouse, which will provide emergency access to the 10-mile-long Chiltern tunnel, has been unveiled.
The companies shortlisted to build HS2's Interchange Station in Solihull have been named by HS2 Ltd. The contract is to be awarded in 2022.
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SCS JV has signed the first of two contracts for the production of tunnel segments that will be used to construct HS2’s London tunnels.
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HS2 has begun its search for a team of specialist ground investigation contractors for the western leg of Phase 2b from Crewe to Manchester.
HS2 has launched Cecilia, the second of two 2,000t tunnelling machines that will excavate ten-mile-long tunnels beneath the Chiltern Hills.
Permanent works on HS2's Old Oak Common station have got under way today with phase 1 seeing the construction of a 750,000m3 underground box.
HS2 has obtained approval for a scheme that will use excavated material to create new chalk grassland, woodland, wood pasture and wetland.
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HS2 Ltd has published its shortlist of companies it has asked to tender for the high-speed railway's high-voltage power supply systems.
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Collins Earthworks has completed the preparation of the HS2 site in Warwickshire in readiness for tunnelling to start this summer.
HS2 Ltd has started its search for a contractor to build the rolling stock depot and control centre at Washwood Heath in Birmingham.
HS2 Ltd has revealed the design of the Euston tunnel headhouse that will sit alongside the West Coast Main Line in London.
HS2 Phase 2a, connecting the high-speed line from London to Crewe via Birmingham, has received royal assent in parliament.
HS2 has revealed its final design for the headhouse and vent shaft at Chalfont St Giles which will provide ventilation to the Chiltern tunnel.
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HS2 has started its search for a switches and crossings supplier for Phase 1 and Phase 2a of the high-speed line between London and Crewe.
The National Infrastructure Commission has published its Rail Needs Assessment report, causing widespread dismay over possible cuts to HS2.
HS2 Ltd has revealed the first images of the north portal for the Long Itchington Wood tunnel site southeast of Birmingham.
HS2 and the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) will work together on utility diversions in readiness of the metro eastside extension.
Network Rail has announced major works at Euston for the construction of the HS2 terminus and on the West Coast Main Line in 2021.
Midlands Voices report by the High Speed Rail Group says the eastern leg of HS2 up to Leeds is crucial for levelling up the country.
The tunnel boring machines that will excavate the HS2 Chiltern tunnel will be equipped with robotic arms to help with the concrete segments.
HS2 Ltd has published the updated designs for the Canterbury Works vent shaft headhouse, which will sit above the Euston tunnel in London.
HS2 Ltd has unveiled the design of two viaducts in Northamptonshire as a four-week consultation period for local residents gets underway.
The HS2 rail project has generated more than 400 apprenticeships to date, with a goal of creating 2,000 over the course of the project.
HS2 Ltd has signed a contract with contractor Skanka Costain STRAVAG JV for the first 2 tunnel boring machines to start on the HS2 project.
HS2 Ltd has launched a public consultation on proposed changes the Phase 2b of the high-speed rail project, including additional platforms.
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