A vital part of Britain’s HS2 project is being packaged and put together ‘like a giant Lego set” at a huge factory in Kent.
Pacadar UK will be manufacturing every major element of the 880 metre-long Thame Valley Viaduct for the high speed railway scheme at its factory on the Isle of Grain.
Work on the first of 68 precast concrete pier started earlier this week (May 18) at the firm’s base in Medway.
Once complete the elements will then be transported to the site in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire to be slotted together “like a giant Lego set”.
The design team decided on a simple structural solution with two 25m long hollow beams per span, which cuts the amount of carbon-intensive concrete and steel.
The 97 tonne beams, and the 42 tonnes piers that support them, are being manufactured at the Kent factory which is also producing ten miles of wall segments for HS2’s London tunnels.
Tomas Garcia, HS2 Ltd’s head of Civil Structures said: “HS2 will offer zero carbon journeys from day one, providing a cleaner, greener way to travel and help the fight against climate change.
"But we’re also serious about cutting embedded carbon in construction, reducing cost and programme and improving safety, performance and durability.
“Thame Valley is a great example of how our contractors are embracing the latest engineering techniques to do just that.
“It’s great to see the start of work at Pacadar UK and I look forward to seeing assembly begin on site, later this year.”
Crossing the flood plain of the River Thame, just outside Aylesbury, the viaduct will carry HS2 trains at speeds of up to 360km/h between London, Birmingham and the North.
High Speed 1, legally the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, is a 67-mile high-speed railway linking London with the Channel Tunnel, Folkestone.
HS2 is Britain’s new high speed rail line being built from London to the North–West but so far parts of the project have been delayed to cut costs.
It will begin running between 2029 and 2033 when phase one is complete and services will expand as new sections of the network are built.