- An all-new 2.6km-long twin bored tunnel, which would run under the M6 motorway near Birmingham, is recommended for the first phase of UK High Speed rail between London and Birmingham. The UK Government has also announced it intends to extend by 1km an alignment under East Midlands Airport under revised plans for Phase 2 between Birmingham and Leeds/Manchester.
Phase 1 and 2 alignments with connections
- Plans for the new 2.6km tunnel, which the UK Minister for Transport is almost certain to accept, follows detailed design work and consultation with the local community. It would follow an alignment under the M6 Bromford Viaduct, near Birmingham, in a move that would see a reduction in land-take.
- "Following a review of the alternatives a tunnel design was considered to be the preferred option as it proved to be less complex in engineering terms and would avoid the loss of local community facilities including the local schools' playing fields and social clubs," said HS2 Chief Executive Alison Munro.
- The original proposal, which follows the existing Derby to Birmingham railway line before running for about 1km under the M6 Bromford Viaduct, would have required moving the River Tame south, building flood defences and relocating National Grid power lines and pylons. Above all, it became clear it would involve major remodelling of a busy traffic junction and realigning another major route. The proposed tunnel will run between Castle Bromwich Business Park and the eastern edge of Washwood Heath.
- Assuming the recommendation is adopted, the 224km-long first phase of HS2 between London and Birmingham will now comprise 39.6km of TBM-bored twin tunnel alignment, plus a further 8km of shallow "green" tunnels. Increasing the length of the 1.9km tunnel under East Midlands Airport extends intitial proposals for Phase 2 between Birmingham and Manchester and Birmingham and Leeds to a total of 21.8km of TBM-bored twin tunnels, plus a further 1,560m of cut-and-cover tunnel. The amendment follows concerns that the route could affect future plans, that do not yet have planning permission, for a strategic rail freight interchange depot next to the airport and which the above ground alignment would have crossed.
- Since the UK Government launched its consultation process for High Speed Rail 2 in 2010, an additional 20km of twin-running TBM bored tunnel alignment has been added to project scope. Last month (April 2013) TunnelTalk reported that HS2 was recommending the addition of a further 9km of twin running tunnel under west London to create a single 14km-long tunnel that would avoid the need for complicated surface works along a section that would have otherwise intersected a number of major traffic routes and flyover systems.
|Table 1. Underground alignments proposed for HS2 London-Birmingham|
|Location||Distance from Euston Station||Tunnel Length||Tunnel type|
|Euston Station - Old Oak Common Station box||500m - 8,500m||8,000m||TBM|
|Old Oak Common Station box||8,500m - 9,500m||1,000m||Station box|
|Portal west of Old Oak Common Station box - Ickenham Portal (West Ruislip)**||9,500m - 23,500m||14,000m||TBM|
|Chalfont St Peter - Little Missenden*||31,500m - 45,000m||13,500m||TBM|
|South Heath||46,500m - 47,600m||1,100m||Green|
|Wendover||53,500m - 54,600m||1,300m||Green|
|Turweston||95,000m - 95,100m||100m||Green|
|Greatworth||102,000m - 104,100m||2,100m||Green tunnel|
|Chipping Warden||110,000m - 112,500m||2,500m||Green|
|Ulton Woods||127,000m - 127,400m||400m||Green|
|Ulton Woods||127,400m - 128,900m||1,500m||TBM|
|Burton Green||146,000m - 146,520m||520m||Green|
|Castle Bromwich Business Park -
|165,000m - 167,500m||2,600m||TBM|
* 2,400m tunnel section added January 2012
** 5,000m section (Northolt-Ickenham added January 2012), 9,000m section
(Old Oak Common Station box-Northolt added April 2013)
New 9km tunnel for UK high speed rail - TunnelTalk, April 2013
UK High Speed 2 needs 56km of twin tunnels - TunnelTalk, January 2013
Extra tunnels seal UK high speed rail approval - TunnelTalk, January 2012
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