A ‘lifting’ experience for Network Rail
Posted on 10 Jun 2019 and read 1074 times
The railway line between Newbury in Berkshire and Westbury in Wiltshire re-opened early on 7 May, after Network Rail replaced a 120-year-old bridge that carries the line over the River Kennet.
Engineers worked round the clock over the bank holiday weekend to remove the old bridge, before lifting the new one into place and laying new railway tracks on top.
The project was slightly unusual, as the main parts of the bridge deck were built on site; and owing to the proximity of the River Kennet, a specially made pontoon was also built, to help manoeuvre parts of the structure into place.
The bridge was erected with the help of a giant crane, which itself was put together at the site with the help of a smaller crane (one-sixth the size of the larger one).
Once the giant crane had been assembled, four large sections were lifted into place to make up the main stretch of the bridge, which is 40m long.
Each of the four parts weighs 105 tonnes and is made from 50 tonnes of concrete reinforced with steel sections.
Network Rail’s project manager for the scheme, Jon Turton (www.networkrail.co.uk
), said: “This work was vital to ensure that the bridge will be fit for purpose for decades to come.
“We know that the railway is 50% ‘quieter’ during bank holidays; we planned for this project to take place during the early May bank holiday so that it could be completed with minimal disruption to passengers.”