Fishbone has been at the centre of the development of the High Speed 2 (HS2) Main Works Civil Contractor (MWCC) EKFB train service development.


Client: Eiffage Kier Ferrovial Bam (EKFB)

Location: UK

Services: Solutions

EKFB invited Fishbone to be its Rail Advisory Team to work with rail industry partners in planning for the movement of over 4 million tonnes of aggregate from UK quarries to supplier off-trace railheads and then to site by road.

In conjunction with the EKFB delivery team, the Fishbone team identified opportunities to deliver a high proportion of the materials by rail direct to EKFB on-trace stockpiles and has been instrumental in developing four EKFB railheads to date; Calvert North (June 2021), Calvert South (Oct 2021), Aylesbury (Jan 2022) and Quainton (Nov 2022).

Using existing rail links and within 26 weeks of the decision to proceed, the first train delivered the first of over 351,000 tonnes of aggregates from quarries direct to the Calvert North railhead which removed 17,550 lorry loaded truck movements (or 35,100 total truck movements) from the surrounding road network.


The challenges of operating trains to the EKFB railheads required the reopening of a redundant section of track, robust processes to identify rail network capacity and train paths with the wider rail community, train timetabling, securing the required wagons and rail operator resources and staffing for the overseeing of the train discharge operation were all successfully overcome.

Benefits to the customer:

  • Rapid mobilisation<6 months
  • Efficient use of assets -24 hour delivery cycle for rail resources
  • Economic – Significant cost saving using direct rail deliveries
  • Safety – Minimal disruption and 100% safety record. 17,550 less lorries on local roads
  • Environmental – Carbon reduction = 5,100 tonnes less carbon emitted (confirmed by Hydrock, EKFB’s carbon SME).

The growing reputation of a rail solution to deliver high volumes of material to these rail connected stockpiles quickly, safely, efficiently and with minimal disruption is evidenced by the initial 100,ooo tonnes for Calvert to now over 4 million tonnes being forecast overall across all railheads.

Delivery partners are: EKFB delivery teams, Network Rail, Hanson, DB Cargo, RFS, Great Western Railway, Chiltern Railways, affected Freight Operating Companies (FOC) and other HS2 contractors.

We are so pleased to announce that we won the annual Rail Freight Group Awards prestigious Project of the Year 2023!

Fishbone has provided EKFB with both technical advice and stakeholder management not only in Material by Rail (MbR), but also in generating a new reporting system to manage logistics readiness via a balanced scorecard. This has significantly enhanced performance and continues to aid in the development of efficient logistics across the business, most notably in programme, risk, opportunity, and monitoring costs. More recently Fishbone has planned and delivered a small niche team to run and receive material by rail in the Calvert area which will ensure EKFB maintain a programme of works for HS2.

Chris Barton Head of Security and Logistics at EKFB

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