Network Rail have unveiled a new environmentally-friendly, modular railway footbridge design at Rail Live, which could revolutionise the way rail crossing around Britain are built.
The new design features an innovative curved design which is made from lightweight materials and can be installed in a matter of days.
Using a modern, modular design will allow the bridge to be adapted to different locations and needs, Network Rail have said.
In-built monitoring will also help better assess usage and maintenance needs.
The new design is made from Fibre-Reinforced Polymer (FRP), a lightweight material which is already widely used in other industries including the automotive and aerospace sectors. The material is very strong but lightweight, leading to lower transport and installation costs.
Andy Cross, Network Rail Programme Manager, said “We were able to take a different approach. This has allowed us to work with several small and medium-sized businesses, many of whom haven’t worked on railway projects before but have the skills and expertise to bring the concept of a lightweight, low-cost footbridge to life.
“In just 11 months we have developed a prototype bridge that is stunning in design, environmentally friendly and will take days and not weeks to install and thereby causing less disruption for the surrounding community.”
At present, Network Rail only has a singular option when considering to build a new footbridge or replace an existing one - the standard non-station footbridge, which has been viewed as a heavy, unattractive and expensive design.
Network Rail hopes the new design will be adopted across the country as part of a wider body of work around how we transform how footbridges are built on the rail network in the future, and providing a valuable alternative to repairing existing crossings.
A prototype of the new design has been trial built at a test centre in Long Marston, Warwickshire for the Rail Live event.