Excavation works to create the high-speed railway’s two longest cuttings began this autumn. 

HS2 Ltd trucks are due to move 1.9 million cubic metres of excavated material from the Calvert cutting in Buckinghamshire and Barton Hartshorn to Mixbury cutting near Brackley along the Buckinghamshire and Oxforshire border.

The amount of limestone, clay and sand dug up - enough to fill the Royal Albert Hall in London more than twenty times – will be used to create embankments, noise barriers and landscaping.

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The Calvert cutting takes the 2.1 miles (3.4 km) long route past Calvert Green and Steeple Claydon villages, and roughly follows the route of the disused Great Central Railway, which closed in the 1960s.

At 9.7m deep and wide enough to accommodate local railway lines to be added alongside the HS2 main line, Calvert cutting excavation will remove around 685,000 cubic metres of material, which will be used locally to help reduce the number of lorries on the roads, HS2 said.

Bucks Free Press: Early works at the Calvert cutting in September Early works at the Calvert cutting in September (Image: HS2 Ltd)

The cutting will take the line under four road bridges and the new East West Rail route, which is also currently under construction.

The Chiltern Society’s John Gladwin said in the long-term the cutting will significantly reduce the “noise impact” on the village and “visual impact” on the scenery.

He said: “Unfortunately, the cutting is not quite deep enough to hide the pantograph so there will still be some noise.

“However looking at the maps there will also be a noise fence barrier along the edge of the cutting.”

The main disturbance for the residents “will be during the construction phase,” although EKFB, HS2’s main contractor, should be using a haul road to move the dug out material, he said.

EKFB’s deputy project director Dan Hockey said: “The earthworks at our longest cuttings are well underway and progress is steaming forward.

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“While our works continue to progress, we have our local communities in mind and we’re continuously using our internal site access road to move people and materials around, reducing the impact on the local roads around our site areas.”