HS2’s civil engineering partner, Balfour Beatty VINCI (BBV) has built a giant construction compound at Kingsbury in Warwickshire, which covers 550 hectares (equivalent to 74 football pitches). It will produce thousands of segments for the nearby Delta Junction, which is a triangular section of line where HS2 curves west towards Birmingham and runs north towards Crewe. It is one of the most complex sections of the entire HS2 route.
Production will begin in August, with on-site assembly of the segments for the junction viaducts due to start next summer. Work is also underway to assemble a 54-metre-long gantry crane that will lift each segment during manufacturing before onward transport to nearby Water Orton and Coleshill for on-site assembly.
David Speight, Client Project Director at HS2 said:
“This site at Kingsbury is a fantastic demonstration of the importance HS2 Ltd puts on training and developing local talent to build the new railway. With the reveal of the site today we are turbo-charging the arrival of HS2 services into the West Midlands, bringing enormous capacity and connectivity benefits to the transport network around Birmingham.”
Jo Chell, Head of Delivery Programme Management at BBV, said:
“It’s incredible to see the progress we’re making at Kingsbury to produce thousands of segments that will form the building blocks for nearly 7km of viaducts, known as the Delta Junction.
“These are world-class engineering structures and it’s a fantastic opportunity for our highly skilled workforce to play a part in their construction. We have embedded the principles of ‘Modern Methods of Construction’, by creating factory conditions for manufacture and modularisation, providing us with a rich legacy of skills and learning for the future.
“I’m immensely proud of the team who designed and built the site. Ensuring sustainability was a fundamental part of the design and we have established several hectares of wildflower meadows and wetland, together with valuable bat habitat, all within the site boundaries.”
Next to the factory is BBV’S Kingsbury Skills Academy, which opened in February 2022, and is equipped with bespoke indoor and outdoor facilities, including an off-road 4×4 driver safety range. Kingsbury is in addition to BBV’s first Academy at Bordesley Green in Birmingham, which focuses on upskilling people who are out of work or looking for a new career and getting them ‘job-ready’ in just 4-6 weeks. From there, they transition to the Kingsbury Academy, which focuses on delivering job-specific training, covering everything from working at height and in confined spaces to first aid and mental health awareness.
Leading the job of ensuring that BBV’s workforce is trained, accredited, and job-ready is BBV’s head of learning and development Vicki Lovatt, who said:
“Amongst the hive of construction activity, this site is also home to our new Kingsbury Skills Academy, which is already playing a key role in developing our people and making sure they have the right skills to help build HS2.
“Being on the doorstep of where HS2 is actually being built makes it the perfect environment for our learners and ensures the training and development programmes we deliver feel real. It’s a great asset not only for the project, but for the region too, helping to upskill local communities and launch careers in construction and engineering.”
Bethany Williamson, Apprentice Civil Engineer from Birmingham said:
“This project is opening doors for me that I could never had imagined before joining BBV. The wrap-around support I’ve received and the training I’ve gone through here at our Kingsbury Skills Academy has given me the perfect platform to launch my career from. Thanks to HS2, I can look forward to a career with endless possibilities.”