Bridging creativity and engineering
MarchantCain has recently completed a £40,000 contract to design and procure the manufacture of two specialist acoustic rail bridges, one of which has now been installed at the Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal, as part of the DIRFT III extension project.
The second of the two bridges, which were designed in conjunction with renowned silversmith Wally Gilbert, will act as a landmark when installed some time in 2019 for the Prologis Park project, a logistics hub. It will also play a vital role transporting goods by rail from the Western Main Line over the main A5 trunk road into the park. MarchantCain was tasked with designing the bridge parapet with an acoustic barrier, so that it absorbs the noise from 32 freight trains a day, deflecting noise away from the nearby new Houlton Village, but didn’t compromise the original design aesthetic. To overcome this challenge, the decorative panels for the bridge were carved in wood, and then moulded in sand. The panels were then cast in aluminium to give the landmark its unique design, whilst also balancing engineering precision with acoustic functionality. The engineering design specialist also had to manipulate the design of the 21.8 metre-wide, bridge to counter a drainage slope across the span of the bridge deck.
November saw Network Rail start work on a major infrastructure project to upgrade the railway between Preston and Blackpool as part of the multi-billion pound Great North Rail Project. The 17-mile route between Preston and Blackpool North will be fully electrified, as well as adding improvements to the track layout and signalling equipment.
Freightliner, a subsidiary of Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (G&W), was selected to undertake all the rail haulage work associated with the upgrade, which has involved detailed planning in collaboration with Network Rail and its contractors, VolkerRail. For several months, this involved monthly train haulage reviews to provide clear visibility of the programme of works throughout 2017/18 and ensure key resources were booked and allocated in line with timescales.
The project intensified during the major junction remodelling at Kirkham and Blackpool during the first three weeks of the blockade, when a large number of engineering trains were used. Throughout this period, it was even more critical that all parties worked closely together to overcome challenges, ensuring that all works were implemented safely and on time.
James Ramsden, VolkerRail Senior Project Manager, said: “In order for us to achieve our works, it was imperative we set up a good working relationship with Freightliner. Through reviews and stringent planning, following last minute work changes, we were able to book and utilise over 80 engineering trains. This type of collaborative effort shows what can be achieved when everyone works together.”
Tram extension to get underway
The next phase of the project to extend the tram to Wolverhampton Railway Station is set to get underway in March. The Midland Metro Alliance, working on behalf of the West Midlands Combined Authority, will continue its work on the extension from the existing tram route just before the current terminus at Wolverhampton St. George’s, to the Railway Station. The work forms part of the wider £150m Wolverhampton Interchange to regenerate the city’s transport hub and provide an attractive gateway to those entering the city by national rail, bus or tram services. When operational, after the construction of the new Railway Station is complete, trams will serve two additional tram stops; one at the city’s bus station on Pipers Row and one at Wolverhampton Railway Station, allowing easy interchange with other modes of public transport. Pipers Row will be closed to vehicular traffic during the construction and it is anticipated that this second phase of the works will be completed in summer 2018 when the road will reopen.
Christmas upgrades complete
The railway between London Euston and Carlisle has fully reopened after a successful programme of upgrades over Christmas and the New Year. As part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan, work was carried out from London to Lancaster as tracks were renewed, signals were upgraded and bridges refurbished over Christmas Day, Boxing Day and into the New Year.
One of the biggest pieces of work was in the Birmingham area and saw track and signalling upgrades completed between Birmingham New Street and Wolverhampton. The work finished on 3rd January as planned and trains began running as normal between the two cities and on the Cross City line through Birmingham.
Martin Frobisher, London North Western route managing director at Network Rail thanked train customers for their patience over the festive period. “We understand that work of this magnitude can be disruptive, however the upgrades carried out by Team Orange will help deliver a bigger, better and more reliable railway to meet the ever-increasing demand for rail travel in future,” he said.
The railway industry works with many different key types for various applications, requiring people to carry a lot of keys wherever they go. Designed to solve this problem, FDB Panel Fittings has created a convenient and flexible product – a universal key for four different inserts so that engineers can conveniently open multiple applications with one key. It saves on weight and ensures that engineers can always have the right key, right there to hand – with extra leverage for hard to turn locks, and an integrated eyelet for easy attachment.
Vital work has started to stabilise a railway embankment in Streatham, south London, to reduce the risk of a future landslip. A piece of technology called an inclinometer, which measures movement, showed the embankment is slowly moving, even during the dry summer months. In order to stabilise the embankment, a mixture of concrete piles and soil nails will be driven into the ground to secure the soil. Once the soil has been stabilised a reinforced concrete beam will be added, then more surface concrete, before being finished with a new soft surface to allow grass to return.
TfL completed significant and complex upgrade work during the festive break as part of its record investment to modernise the Tube. The complex and intricate work saw TfL engineers undertake improvements including installing cabling on over 3.5km of track to support the new Wi-Fibased signalling system; replacing three track junctions at Earl’s Court; installing two new, low vibration track junctions to connect the new Northern Line Extension tunnels to the existing Northern line at Kennington; completing track improvement work; replacing over 100 planks that support the rails on junctions around Wimbledon and Wimbledon Park stations; and clearing over 100 tonnes of scrap material and rotten vegetation at trackside.
£300,000 EU project
Research at the University of Huddersfield could lead to new generations of railway vehicles with carbon fibre frames and key components made using the latest 3D printing technology. The investigation of novel materials and manufacturing processes is being carried out by the University’s Institute for Railway Research, which has been awarded funding of almost £300,000 as part of an EU-backed project to develop lighter, more reliable, more comfortable and quieter rolling stock. RUN2RAIL is the overall title of the new project.
JV in Australia
A Mott MacDonald WSP joint venture (JV) has been appointed by Australian Rail Track Corporation to provide the detailed design for two packages of the AUS$9.3 billion Inland Rail project in Australia. Currently the country’s largest freight rail infrastructure project, it will support development, investment and innovation and stimulate new opportunities for regional businesses. Inland Rail will complete the backbone of Australia’s national freight network, linking the country’s five largest capital cities, top four agricultural regions and seven major ports.
Driverless metro for Chengdu
Alstom and its JVs in China, SATEE and CASCO, have been awarded two contracts (worth approximately €64 million in total) by Chengdu Railway Corp. Ltd. to supply traction systems for 200 metro cars and a CBTC signalling system for the entire line of the Chengdu metro line 9 phase one, the city’s first driverless metro line. The line is expected to start revenue service by the end of 2020.
“With its international service-proven references in driverless metro, Alstom and its joint ventures are confident in delivering these two projects at a high level of excellence,” highlighted Ling Fang, Managing Director of China & East Asia, Alstom.