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HS2 viaduct segment factory starts production

Giant precast viaduct segments off the production line at Kingsbury in Warwickshire
Giant precast viaduct segments off the production line at Kingsbury in Warwickshire

Production of 2,742 viaduct segments begins at purpose-built open-air factory in Warwickshire

HS2 has started production of 2,742 huge concrete segments which will be used to build the Delta Junction, a triangle-shaped series of viaducts that will take high-speed trains between London, the Midlands and the North.

The deck segments – which each weigh up to 80 tonnes – are being made on site at a purpose-built outdoor factory at Kingsbury, Warwickshire. The 55,000m2 site employs around 1,000 people in total, with a team of 200 tasked with building the network of nine viaducts at Water Orton and Coleshill, crossing motorways, roads and footpaths. It also hosts a Skills Academy to support local people into employment or further training.


The precast yard will turn out up to eight segments a day, with weights varying between 50 and 80 tonnes. The segments are 3.5m high and come in two different widths – 7m or 11m – to support single-track and double-track sections of the railway.

A 54m long gantry crane lifts each segment during the manufacturing cycle, ahead of their onward transport to nearby Water Orton and Coleshill ready for on-site assembly.

HS2’s precast viaduct segment yard and gantry crane at Kingsbury
HS2’s precast viaduct segment yard and gantry crane at Kingsbury

HS2’s Delta Junction forms two spurs which branch off the main HS2 line between London and the North. Trains will travel between the Birmingham Curzon Street Station terminus and the North, and between Curzon Street and the South, accounting for around 10km of HS2 tracks.

The project is being delivered by Balfour Beatty VINCI (BBV), HS2’s main works contractor for the West Midlands, who are constructing 90km of HS2 between Long Itchington in Warwickshire to the centre of Birmingham and on to Staffordshire.

Panos Psathas, HS2’s senior project manager for Delta Junction, said: ‘We’re pleased to see this next milestone on the Midlands section of HS2, as the first segments come off the production line, ready for the BBV team to start building the viaducts next year.

Balfour Beatty VINCI project manager Pascal Albertelli who oversees the construction of the nine viaducts, from the substructures works to deck erection, including segment precast production at the Kingsbury site, said: ‘Watching the first segments roll off the production line recently at our precast yard in Kingsbury was a really proud moment for me and my team, who’ve worked tirelessly over the past two years to get us to this point. It’s a fascinating phase of the project to be involved in, because of the sheer scale and the innovative production methods we’ve introduced here.’

The first segments made at Kingsbury will be used to build the 500m River Tame West viaduct near Water Orton. This viaduct crosses the Tame valley and joins the Watton House Embankment to the Faraday Embankment for trains on the journey from London to the North. Construction of the substructures supporting the viaduct deck started earlier this year, with deck construction starting by the end of 2023.

Teams are employing a ‘match-casting’ technique, which involves casting each segment against the following segment in a production line, creating a seamless viaduct deck when installed. Each segment is extremely precise and adjustable by as little as 5mm. This approach – where each segment is poured against the previous one – ensures the whole arch fits perfectly when assembled on site.


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