HS2 Educational Visit

Published: Mar 15 2022

HS2 Phase One

Last week PHD Access took a group of local students from St Joan of Arc school to visit a local HS2 site for a school project. Two of the students, Charlie, and Niamh, are studying Geography, Economics and Business Studies A-levels and doing a special project about the effects of HS2 in the local area and linking it to their subjects.

John from Align, the joint venture delivering the Central 1 (C1) section of HS2 Phase One that includes a 16km twin-bore tunnel through the Chilterns and five ventilation and access shafts, met us at the Chalfont St Peter the most southerly shaft site, where the students had a briefing all about the project.

Project Challenges

They learnt about the challenges of tunnelling such as how to manage the pressure from water tables when constructing ventilation shafts. The students also learnt about how the project is currently impacting the local area in terms of the increase in vehicle movements during construction and how the Align team mitigate these effects through planned logistics and the creation of new routes.

They also learnt about some of the positive impacts that the project strives to do such as supporting local business and re-planting three trees for every one that needs to be removed. Another positive contribution that the Align project has delivered was to use the chalk and soil excavations for landscaping a play area at a local primary school.

Ventilation Shaft

After receiving a briefing about the project, the students were invited to see the 65m ventilation shaft which is still under construction. Hannah, one of the graduate engineers on site led the way down a very long staircase to a platform near the bottom of the shaft. From here we could see the vast amount of work that has already been done and the strengthening and waterproofing of the concrete walls.

A big thank you to John Feeney and Hannah from the Align team for taking the time to show the students what a fantastic engineering project looks like. We hope that the visit not only gave the students plenty of information for their school projects but also inspired them to consider construction as a career.