Investment by CEMEX leads to growth of Small Heath Depot




Over the summer months, there has been significant investment by CEMEX into track improvements and extensions at three of its depots; Attercliffe, Small Heath and Bletchley. This work was all completed in partnership with MLP Railway Maintenance Ltd, CEMEX’s chosen provider for these developments.

At Bletchley, 152m of new track with a different alignment to reduce drainage issues and increase the turning circle for delivery vehicles was installed, while 330m was laid at the new depot at Small Heath as part of the new siding, alongside storage bays for efficient offloading.

Finally, at Attercliffe life expired track has been replaced with 196m of track embedded in concrete so that delivery vehicles can safely use the same area in the day as the train does at night. The pre-fabricated track embedded in concrete (supplied by CEMEX’s Urbanisation Solutions business) was chosen for this development to ensure a quick turnaround of work, keeping outages down and minimising the impact on the customer.

Mark Grimshaw Smith, Rail and Sea Manager for CEMEX UK, commented: “The summer months have provided us with the perfect opportunity to complete a considerable programme of investment into track at three of our rail depots. These sites are all very different, and spread out across the country, but they are all important parts of our rail network and ripe for development.

“As our use of trains to transport our materials increases, it is vital that we have the infrastructure in place to support this. Further investment is planned at some of our other UK railheads over the coming months.”

CEMEX’s use of trains to move its building materials is growing year on year, with considerable efforts being made by the business to switch from road freight to rail and sea. In 2020, the increased use of rail transport saved 150,000 road movements & 17.5kt of CO2 from being released into the air.


Following a significant investment and the completion of major infrastructure works the new depot, which is located in Small Heath, has welcomed its first train and moving forward will receive aggregates from CEMEX’s Dove Holes Quarry. From there, the material will be transported out to construction projects in the Birmingham market. Dave Hart, Supply Chain Director for the UK and France, commented: “As the UK’s second largest city, Birmingham plays an important role in our strategy to focus on metro markets and the opening of this depot will allow us to increase volume and service provision – we are anticipating four trains per week will pass through this depot. “However, the opening of the Small Heath rail depot will not just allow us to further grow our business; it also offers considerable sustainability benefits as it will enable us to maximise the use of rail as a more efficient means of transport for our products. Potentially, this depot could mean 17,000 less trucks on the road each year, with an approximate annual CO2 saving of 2,200 tonnes.”

CEMEX has partnered with GB Railfreight, Network Rail and leading aggregates distributor GRS to ensure a smooth operation and service at its Small Heath depot. Liam Day, Commercial Director of GB Railfreight, said: “With the global climate change conference currently underway, CEMEX’s investment in its new depot demonstrates the key role rail freight is playing in reducing the impact of carbon emissions. This increase in capacity will enable us to operate more trains into Small Heath and will remove congestion from some of Birmingham’s busiest roads.”

David Young, Network Rail's Business Development Manager for Freight, added: "Network Rail’s investment in the infrastructure was pivotal in supporting the delivery of CEMEX’s new rail aggregate depot at Small Heath. We are proud to have worked with CEMEX to enable rail freight growth in this important sector, encourage modal shift from road to rail and support decarbonisation targets.”

Martin Reid, Director of GRS Rail Services, said: “We’re delighted to be working with CEMEX to help to supply Birmingham’s construction industry with materials for redevelopment. The new facilities at Small Health support the use of rail freight to bring construction aggregates close to where they’re needed in the city whilst generating a fraction of the emissions of the equivalent road journeys." CEMEX’s use of trains to move its building materials is growing year on year, with considerable efforts being made by the business to switch from road freight to rail and sea. In 2020, the increased use of rail transport saved 150,000 road movements & 17.5kt of CO2 from being released into the air.

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