Building materials and construction solutions company Tarmac, a CRH company, which operates Hillhead Quarry in Derbyshire, has reopened a Peak District rail connection to expand the supply of aggregates to its customers via freight trains.
Thanks to the development of a new internal rail siding, the quarry that operates on the High Peak Junction line, Hillhead Quarry, near Buxton, has been connected to the rail network to meet the current demand of the construction sector and other nationally important major infrastructure projects.
The sidings provide Tarmac with the capability of hauling large quantities of bulk aggregates each day, including locally-extracted limestone, with rail transport also reducing carbon emissions. With the first train departing 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 onto the mainline railway so its aggregates can be transported long distances in an environmentally friendly way.
“This is why we’re delighted Tarmac is expanding its 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 is one of the country’s biggest users of the rail freight network, transporting significant quantities of materials across the UK every year.