Latest Rail News

26.03.12

Tyneside rail bridge replacement is network first

Network Rail replaced a bridge in Gateshead this weekend - without a single train being affected or the need for any rail-replacement buses. The project was an important first as Network Rail looks to reduce the time taken over infrastructure improvements and so reducing disruption for passengers.

The single span bridge carries the railway at the busy King Edward South junction in Gateshead and was replaced overnight from Saturday into Sunday (21-22 March) during hours when rail services do not run. The line carries regular passenger services into Newcastle, including intercity services, as well as regular freight trains from Tyne Yard to the Durham coast line and the local docks.

Richard Lungmuss, route director for Network Rail, said: "Balancing the needs of keeping the railway running safely and smoothly with growing passenger demand for rail services around the clock has always been a challenge for Network Rail. We are constantly looking for ways to reduce the disruption that our essential engineering improvements cause to passengers and this scheme is a great example of theory becoming reality."

Two other bridges have been replaced in eight hours elsewhere in the network, but this is the first time it has been done underneath overhead electrical wires and the first using Network Rail’s maintenance staff to undertake the rail infrastructure work. The replacement was able to be completed so quickly as the innovative design enabled the new structure to be built underneath the old bridge.

The old bridge was then removed and the new one fully completed with a new track system and reopening to trains at linespeed all in a single 10hr shift. The new bridge will also be cheaper and easier to maintain than the old waybeam bridge. The £610,000 project was managed by Network Rail delivered by main contractor Main Gurney and designer Faber Maunsell.

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