Network Rail and its contractor Story have completed a £34m programme of works to protect a number of bridges across Scotland's Railway against scour damage.
Scour damage occurs when fast-flowing water erodes material around the foundations of a bridge. It is the leading cause of bridge failures on the railway over the last 100 years.
Over the last four years, specialist engineers have worked on 50 bridges across Scotland to safeguard them against scour damage. The work involved setting up a portable dam system at each bridge to reduce the water flow and then laying a scour mattress to the contours of the riverbed. The pockets in the mattress were then filled with concrete and covered with the original riverbed material.
Inver Viaduct, which carries passenger and freight services on the Highland Mainline over the River Braan in Dunkeld, was the last bridge to be completed. The line there has been closed three times over the last two years due to the river breaching safe levels and disrupting services.
Alex Hynes, managing director of Scotland's Railway, said: "We have a responsibility to make sure assets that play such a vital role on our network are maintained to help minimise the impact of rising water levels during extreme weather, allowing us to keep trains running.
"This is all part of our commitment to dealing with the impact of climate change on Scotland's Railway. The team has done a superb job in delivering this vital work, it'll help further improve the operational resilience, safety, and performance of the railway for our customers."
Jeremy Spence, Route Delivery Director, said: "Scour protection can be one of the more challenging elements of our renewals programme, as it involves working from river level much of the time and often in areas with challenging topography that can make access difficult for our teams.
"This has been a huge undertaking by the team since the work started in 2019 and it's great to see the successful completion of all 50 structures. The collaborative effort by Network Rail and Story has not only delivered this project on time but means we won't need to carry out repairs on this scale for many years to come."
The completion of this project marks a significant milestone in Network Rail's commitment to maintaining and improving the safety and reliability of Scotland's Railway. It is also a testament to the hard work and dedication of the specialist engineers and contractors who worked on the project.
Photo/Video Credit: Network Rail