Starting on the Stoke Mandeville side of the Nash Lee Road (B4009) roundabout in Ellesborough parish, the maintenance loops will consist of a looped siding on the running tracks in each direction. They will be approximately 1.2kms in length reaching almost to the Risborough Road (A4010). To achieve a level gradient, they will be on an embankment. At the north (Risborough Road) end, the embankment will be in excess of 4metres high. On top of this will be laid the running tracks and overhead cables to power the trains. This will add a further 8 metres to the height of the construction. The embankment will pass across the line of Risborough Road roughly at the entrance to Old Risborough Road nearest the village.
An auxiliary electricity substation will be located to the south of Risborough Road at the north end of the maintenance loops. The substation will provide support to the maintenance loop lighting and a source of power when maintenance works are planned in the area.
The purpose of the loops is to provide an overnight stop for maintenance trains running to and from the Calvert central maintenance depot to locations of maintenance work further down the line towards London. We have been assured by HS2 Ltd that no maintenance activity will actually take place there other than the maintenance of the tracks in that vicinity. However, there will be low level lighting overnight and obviously some movements of maintenance trains into and out of the sidings as required. We have requested that the lighting be designed to be switched off when the sidings are not in use. The secondary function of the sidings is to provide offline temporary refuge for trains in the event that there should be a malfunction or breakdown.
The Environmental Statement suggests that no temporary effects have been identified for the community of Stoke Mandeville during construction (CFA report 11, para 5.4.4, page 86). However, during operation, there will be a major adverse effect on residential amenity for up to 10 residential properties located on Old Risborough Road due to the in combination effects of
- clear views of the proposed scheme, overhead line equipment and the new A4010 Risborough Road underpass (pedestrians and cycles only)
- significant operational noise effects.
Although not specifically a result of the inclusion of maintenance loops in their proposed location, the proposed scheme will remove buried archaeological remains including the former church and burial ground around the former site of St Mary’s Church.(para 6.4.15, page 105). However, there will be an area of scattered landscape planting to the west of the proposed scheme south of Mill House Farm which will provide for the creation of wetland and grassland habitats and for the translocation of headstones and buried remains from the former site of St Mary’s Church (CFA 11 report, overview of the area, para 2.2.7, various bullet points, pages 13 and 14)