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NR stabilises Chiltern main line with innovative Japanese piling method

Network Rail has stabilised a railway using an innovative piling method from Japan.

The technique has been used to stabilise half a mile of subsiding embankment beneath the Chiltern main line.

Prior to this, Network Rail engineers had been making ongoing repairs to dips in the tracks that, if not dealt with, would have caused subsidence beneath tracks, something which can lead to trains derailing.

The 12 week works were carried out from May to August this year, and cost £2.9m.

Engineers used a silent piling machine, from Japan, to drive 865 six metre long steel sheet piles into the earth, forming rows on either side of the railway at Bridge Farm near Aylesbury.

Behind the solid barriers formed by these piles, engineers packed 27,000 tonnes of stone, and topped the piles with soil seeded with grass to give the work a neat finish.

Works delivery programme manager for Network Rail’s London North Western route, Mark Evans, said: “By using this innovative Japanese piling method we got the job done quicker and cheaper than traditional kit would have allowed.

“The Giken machine grips the neighbouring steel sheet pile and silently uses it to lever in the next one, and so on. It’s simple, safe and saves taxpayers’ cash - exactly how we like it.”

Alan Riley, customer services director for Chiltern Railways, added: “We are delighted with this innovative solution as it has clearly delivered a value-for-money result and most importantly enhances the travelling experience for our customers.

“The work embraces a ‘think different’ approach to ensure the project has been completed in a timely manner and quality output, with the customers at the heart of this.”


Dave Baxter   01/11/2017 at 17:09

This is a fascinating piece of news, I wonder how many other ideas from overseas could be taken on board to assist with the UK requirements for infrastructure renewals.

Mikeb   01/11/2017 at 21:33

Like many other UK organisations, Network Rail must indeed rely on foreign innovation because the days of new British ideas appear to be gone for good.

Miles Fenton   02/11/2017 at 10:30

Unfortunately, this method isn't at all new. I work for a company that bought one of these machines in 2001! There are dozens of them in the country and have been for years - very strange article.

Andrew Gwilt   02/11/2017 at 12:21

I like the idea of this.

Ancdy   02/11/2017 at 23:29

I believe this technology is about 40 years old and been around the UK for at least half that time, possibly longer. The fact that NR see this as innovation indicates the kind of struggles UK designers and contractors often face to get original ideas accepted and implemented at project level despite their supposed drives for innovation and efficiency!

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