Green light for key HS2 maintenance depot designed to service high-speed railway

Buckinghamshire Council this week gave the green light for HS2’s state-of-the-art maintenance hub, which will bring around 300 jobs to Calvert in Buckinghamshire.

Taking its inspiration from the style of local agricultural buildings and the industrial heritage of the area, the Infrastructure Maintenance Depot (IMD) will house the people and equipment that will keep HS2 running smoothly and efficiently, day in, day out.

The approval is a major milestone for HS2 – which will almost halve journey times between Britain’s two largest cities, while freeing up space for more local services on the most crowded part of the existing West Coast Main Line.

Approved under schedule 17 of the HS2 Act, the depot will be halfway between the villages of Calvert and Steeple Claydon. It will include workshops, offices, storage and training facilities as well as a base for the British Transport Police.

The main buildings will be clad with naturally aging red brick – as a nod to the Calvert brickworks which operated throughout most of the twentieth century before closing in 1991. Gently curved roofs, timber and low-reflection metal finishes will also help to reduce the visual impact of the buildings.

During the design process, the size of the depot area has been cut by 33% with the track layout reduced and simplified in order to speed up construction and cut disruption for the community. This smaller footprint also means that there will be 600,000 cubic metres less excavation required.

Recent design work has also increased the amount of landscaping and new woodland planting that will screen the depot from Steeple Claydon, with around 15,000 trees and 20,000 shrubs set to be planted amid new woodland paths, ponds and other wildlife habitats.

Iain Smith, HS2 Ltd’s Systems Delivery Director said:

Once complete, HS2 will dramatically improve journeys between our two largest cities and also free up space on the existing mainline for more local and freight trains.

“The maintenance depot at Calvert will be at the heart of the HS2 project – keeping the new railway running smoothly every day and supporting around 300 jobs. It’s great to get the green light for the design, and we look forward to making the vision a reality.”

 Sustainability is at the heart of the design. The Calvert IMD will achieve a minimum of BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating, under the world’s leading sustainability assessment method. Materials have been carefully selected for the building and landscaped areas; for their appearance, low maintenance and longevity, as well as low-carbon, sustainable considerations.

The depot will operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with landscaping to block noise and light. A fleet of dedicated On-Track Maintenance trains will be based at the depot, accessing the mainline at night – while the HS2 trains are not running – to maintain the track and systems.

Connections to East-West Rail (EWR) – which passes to the south of the site – will also allow heavy equipment and materials to be delivered to the depot by rail.

To reduce disruption for the community and speed up construction, HS2 contractors also built two bridges, one underpass and 3.4km of adjacent earthworks for EWR where the two projects cross. Addison Road and Gawcott Road are both now reopen.

The depot was designed by HS2’s design contractor WSP, working with architects Grimshaw and Grant Associates. The earthworks and landscaping are being delivered by HS2’s main works contractor EKFB, a team made up of Eiffage, Kier, Ferrovial Construction and BAM Nuttall. A separate contractor will be appointed to build the depot.