The former Alstom factory at Washwood Heath, Birmingham, where Virgin’s Pendolinos were built, has been demolished to make way for an HS2 maintenance depot.
Underground-train manufacturer Metro Cammell, which owned the site before Alstom, built trains for countries across the world at Washwood Heath, including British Rail’s iconic Blue Pullman as well as most of London’s Underground trains.
The disused train factory, as well as the adjoining former LDV van factory, is making way for a new depot that will include cleaning, servicing, and routine repairs of HS2’s new high-speed fleet. It will employ up to 500 staff working in shifts, either in jobs within the depot, maintenance and support workers, or train drivers who will start and finish their day there.
Washwood Heath will be HS2’s only rolling stock maintenance depot for Phases One and 2a of the UK’s new high-speed rail network. It is the preferred location for HS2’s future depot because it is centrally located in relation to the completed HS2 network, which will extend to Leeds and Manchester.
The 110,000 square-metre site, which originally included 782,622 cubic metres of buildings and structures, is being demolished by HS2’s early works contractor LM JV (Laing O’Rourke/J Murphy & Sons). Demolition has yielded a total of 412,464 tonnes of waste materials that will be predominantly reused on site, significantly reducing the need for landfill and lorry movements.
HS2 programme director Mike Lyons said: “As we prepare for the construction of HS2, there is a huge amount of work going on at sites in the Midlands, including land clearance, habitat creation, tree planting, demolitions, archaeology, road improvement works and utility diversions.
“We currently have 62 live sites across the whole Phase One route, servicing over 250 work locations. Over 7,000 jobs are supported by HS2, and over 300 companies in the Midlands are already working on the project.”