CGI generated general view of the proposed rail freight terminal at West Midlands Interchange, showing intermodal train and trucks with a red over crane in operation

West Midlands Interchange sees Winvic appointed contractors

Winvic Construction, a contractor specialising in large-scale civil engineering and infrastructure projects, has been appointed as the first phase contractor for the West Midlands Interchange (WMI) project. The project, valued at one billion pounds (1.16 billion euros), aims to establish the UK’s largest intermodal logistics site upon completion by 2034. Winvic’s successful track record, including its involvement in strategic rail freight projects like the SEGRO developments at Northampton and East Midlands Gateway, underscores its capability to deliver complex logistics schemes.

The 734-acre West Midlands Interchange site, developed by Oxford Properties in partnership with Logistics Capital Partners (LCP), is set to accommodate a huge eight million square feet (93,000 square metres) of commercial space, making it a significant player in attracting global business and investment to the region. The project does have as a focus a rail freight development, which will facilitate significant transportation of goods, avoiding the heavily congested motorway network in the region, contributing to economic growth and reducing environmental impact.

Make use of capacity released by HS2

Winvic is well known in the sector, with several rail-connected projects in the company portfolio. Having previously served as the design stage delivery partner to Oxford Properties and LCP, Winvic’s Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) has allowed them to establish strong working relationships with the project stakeholders. The company’s expertise in large-scale logistics and intermodal schemes positions them as an experienced contractor for the West Midlands Interchange project. The development sits in the so-called logistics ‘golden triangle’ in the English Midlands, and also on the edge of the Birmingham manufacturing and industrial centre.

Map showing the disposition of West Midlands Interchange on the West Coast Main Line, north west of Wolverhampton and Birmingham
Map showing the disposition of West Midlands Interchange on the West Coast Main Line, north west of Wolverhampton and Birmingham. Image: © WMI.

The facility should also benefit from the capacity on the West Coast Main Line, that will eventually be released by the construction of the dedicated HS2 high speed rail project, which should see long distance train paths vacated for more freight and regional passenger services. The first phase works, slated to commence in later this year, encompass various aspects of the project, including new road infrastructure, reconfiguration and buring of energy infrastructure, and the creation of development plots and landscape zones. Winvic already has experience in this field, having been praised for the traffic management and landscaping at East Midlands and Northampton projects.

Minimal environmental impact

In their capacity as main contractors in this initial phase of the vast West Midlands Interchange project, Winvic say they will actively work on an employment and Skills Plan to maximise opportunities for the local workforce and businesses during the construction phase. As part of the development’s commitment to the environment and recreational activities, 109 acres of country parkland will be created to the northwest and southeast of the site. This initiative aims to provide recreational opportunities for locals and enhance biodiversity in the area, showcasing the project’s focus on environmental, social, and governance principles.

Aerial Overview of the entire West Midlands Interchange
CGI Aerial overview of the entire West Midlands Interchange, approaching from the north east, with the rail terminal on the far side (south west) of the park, looking towards the Shropshire countryside and Wales. Image: © Winvic.

Rail operations on the site will be located on the western side of the project, adjacent to the WCML. Initial computer renderings provided by Winvic show two straddle cranes operating over a number of live tracks, serving a road truck apron, where transfer will be made for ‘last mile’ logistics. It’s anticipated that the rail freight operation will have minimal impact on the environment. The location, directly adjacent to existing railway infrastructure, should prove a more straightforward installation than at the other two recent projects, already handed over or in progress.

Autor/a Simon Walton