Jonathan Gammon is Head of Ground Investigations for HS2, the government-funded company responsible for developing and promoting the UK’s new £42-billion high-speed railway network. The complete line is expected to be open by 2032 or 2033. In January 2016, he talked about the scope and depth of the company’s preparatory work needed before any track is actually laid – ‘de-risking’, he called it.
We’re checking it out, we’ve nearly done
All the planning for the groundwork to set up Phase 1.
Over half goes through tunnels or cuttings, and so
We’ve had to think hard where the spoil’s going to go.
Ninety per cent of it we aim to put back
Elsewhere in the route of the HS2 track.
Occupational Health’s a contractual clause
With good Health and Safety, to comply with our laws.
The HS2 Hybrid Bill’s now being debated
And modifications incorporated:
We’ve redesigned things and we’re doing our best
To take account of the views expressed.
We’ll do what we can, too, to mitigate impacts
On nature reserves, ancient woodlands, newts, bats,
Archaeology, SSSIs and much else beside,
While trying to lessen the North-South divide.
With contracts assigned, it’s now our intent
To seek, in December, the Royal Assent.
But there’s still an enormous amount to be done
To make sure the ground’s fit for the first train to run
In sixteen years’ time (or maybe one more) –
‘De-risking’ the project is what’s at our core.
But this is Phase 1, and we’ve still yet to do
All the Ground Investigations to prepare for Phase 2!