The layout of the site and the access restrictions this posed meant that the logistical options for installing the new bridge decks were restricted to the use of a crane. The gradient of the road beneath the structure prevented the use of SPMTs and the adjacent bus depot was the only site suitable to position the crane. The winter of 2013 proved to be one of the worst on record and the dreaded wind risk was very real as Britain was pounded with heavy rain and strong winds.
This risk was closely monitored by the project team and Network Rail through regular progress meetings and conference calls. Thankfully the weather conditions abated and the bridge installation could go ahead. It was important to keep team morale high and especially so at Christmas when much of the country is enjoying quality family time. With this in mind shift rotas were organised for the site team to ensure everyone was able to spend part of Christmas Day at home with their families.
This was carefully planned out to ensure the works progressed efficiently throughout the festive period. With the old bridge removed and the existing abutments prepared, new PCC cill beams were carefully installed to line and level. Following this the two new 61 tonne bridge decks were lowered into position. Following reinstatement of the track, the core works were completed and the site handed back to Network Rail on Boxing Day as scheduled, and just in time for the post-Christmas rush.
The final phase of the works at Appleby Station was to install new platforms and reinstate the newly grit blasted and painted parapets. The platforms were installed complete with new surfacing and tactiles. This final stage of the project was carried out mid-week by utilising access opportunities between trains in order to minimise any further disruption to the public.
Effective community engagement was vital with a road closure required to complete the works, and a school in close proximity. Alongside Network Rail, Story Contracting held community events including a visit to the school to give a talk about safety risks on construction sites. Children were also encouraged to create drawings of the works which were displayed on site with a prize for the best picture. With the platforms removed and the scaffolding, access and edge protection established, the core possession could begin. This started on Christmas Eve with the removal of the track using RRVs and excavators.
Once the track was cleared the area behind the abutments was excavated in order to release the bridge deck. The team then cut the bridge into manageable sections and lifted it out using a 500T crane in order to clear the way for the new structure. The original structure used timber waybeams to carry the track. To eliminate maintenance the design for the new bridge included a ballasted deck. Owing to limited headroom over the road below and the need to maintain existing rail levels through the station, the chosen design solution used a steel billet deck to maintain road clearance and provide sufficient ballast depth on the track.
This project at Appleby Station was completed on time and without accident or incident. The works have provided longevity to the bridge and platforms through the installation of a new modern structure. With the rejuvenation of the existing parapets, the original look of the structure was retained, ensuring the finished product delighted the ‘Friends of the Settle Carlisle line’.
The proactive and collaborative approach to the project by Story Contracting and Network Rail ensured that a positive outcome was achieved through good communication with key stakeholders and planning together.
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To find out more about how we can help you deliver your project contact Paul Marrs on 01228 590444.