Tarmac expand supply of aggregates with reopening of rail connection at Hillhead Quarry, near Buxton
TARMAC have reopened a Peak District rail connection to expand the supply of aggregates to their customers via freight trains. Thanks to the development of new internal rail sidings, Hillhead Quarry, which operates on the High Peak Junction line, near Buxton, in Derbyshire, has been connected to the rail network to meet the current demands of the construction sector and other nationally important major infrastructure projects.
The sidings provide Tarmac with the capability to haul large quantities of bulk limestone aggregate each day, with rail transport also reducing carbon emissions. With the first train having departed from Hillhead Quarry earlier this month, the rail link is expected to increase to at least five trains per week over time.
Chris Swan, head of rail at Tarmac, said: ‘Developing a new rail siding at Hillhead and advancing our rail operations is a significant achievement for us. It puts us in an even better position to supply essential materials to our customers locally and further afield in a more sustainable way.
‘We’re proud to be working alongside different sectors of the rail industry, including HS2, Balfour Beatty VINCI, Network Rail, and GB Railfreight, to develop such important infrastructure which will support economic growth.’
Andrew Graham, conventional rail interface manager at HS2 Ltd, said: ‘It’s great to see the opening of this new rail link in response to demand from the UK construction industry. At HS2, we’re working with our joint-venture companies, Network Rail, freight operators and aggregate suppliers to make deliveries to our sites by rail where possible. In addition to cutting carbon emissions, this is also creating opportunities for companies like Tarmac to support local jobs and skills.’
Rory Kingdon, senior sponsor at Network Rail, said: ‘It’s great to see the new rail link in action after many months of work to reconnect Hillhead Quarry back on to the mainline railway so its aggregates can be transported long distances in an environmentally friendly way. This is why we’re delighted Tarmac are expanding their rail freight operations in the Peak District, which will support the country’s economic recovery and fight against climate change.’
Liam Day, commercial director for GB Railfreight, said: ‘It is fantastic to see our trains operating out of Hillhead Quarry. GB Railfreight will run up to five trains every week into the West Midlands and Oxfordshire for HS2. Every train we operate out of Hillhead Quarry will replace an average of 75 lorries – reducing congestion on the roads and lowering the carbon emissions of Europe’s largest infrastructure project.’
Matthew Munn, head of supply chain management at Balfour Beatty VINCI, added: ‘Today’s announcement by Tarmac to open a new rail link is great news for the area, and further proof that this project is having a positive impact on the wider region’s economy. As HS2’s construction partner in the Midlands, we’re proud to be playing a key role in creating new opportunities for communities along our stretch of the route.’
With more than 60 rail-connected sites nationwide, Tarmac are one of the country’s biggest users of the rail freight network, transporting significant quantities of materials across the UK every year.