Cementation Foundations Skanska has secured a further tranche of work as part of the modernisation programme for the West Coast Main Line, aimed at handling the latest generation of high-speed tilting trains
The company is already working flat out on a fast-track stabilisation and upgrade scheme at Ledburn, south west of Leighton Buzzard, valued at £2.35 million.
Due to the success of its design and build operations, Skanska’s foundations and ground engineering specialist has been awarded another £300,000-plus package, bringing the total value of its work on this section of track to £2.65 million to date.
Cementation Foundations Skanska’s rail team is carrying out improvements on behalf of the Watford-Bletchley Alliance, a partnership between Balfour Beatty Rail Projects and Westinghouse Signals.
Under the initial programme, Cementation Foundations was called in to carry out urgent repairs to an ageing 830-metre stretch of embankment before work can proceed on installing new overhead electrification gantries. This mostly comprises mid-slope piling, involving 600 mm diameter CFA piles bored some 9-11 metres deep at 2.4 metre intervals. In addition, the company’s CemRailBeam® system is being employed on the crest of the embankment for a distance of 30 metres either side of an under-bridge where the legendary Great Train Robbery took place in the Sixties.
CemRailBeam® is a unique reinforced capping beam system designed to overcome safety, quality and production difficulties traditionally encountered when casting beams in confined trackside locations. Factory-made high-precision interlocking precast shuttering units are rapidly assembled on site over the piling. Steel reinforcement is then inserted and concrete poured in to form a continuous trackside retaining wall.
The technique has already been successfully applied on behalf of both London Underground and Railtrack, and is now adopted as an M4I demonstration project.
The top of the embankment supports gantries, which in turn support high voltage cables running alongside the inter-city tracks. To overcome this safety hazard, Cementation Foundations has adapted two 27-tonne piling rigs for low-headroom operation.
Working to an intense three-month programme, Cementation is also installing concrete bases for 24 power gantries along the route. Now it is starting work on an additional five bases for signalling gantries under the West Coast Modernisation Programme.
Because of the urgency of the scheme, the team and its long-standing partners, design consultant Mott MacDonald and works sub-contractor Joywheel, are working seven days a week to complete phase one to programme in July and phase two by the end of August.
Said Cementation Foundations contracts manager Iain Barr: “We have set ourselves a rigorous schedule to overcome recent delays to the programme, but we are keeping on track.”