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New Cleveland Bridge UK-manufactured bridge supports electrification of Great Western Main Line

ByDave Stopher

Oct 11, 2016

The 228-tonne, 50m skewed, weathering-grade steel road bridge crosses the Great Western Main Line in Newport and was required to accommodate the increased height required for new OLE systems.

This geometrically-challenging structure was fabricated at CBUK’s facility in Darlington, and following a complete trial assembly, the steelwork was loaded onto trailers and transported 280 miles by road, to Newport, South Wales where it was assembled prior to installation in a trackside temporary works compound at Godfrey Road, Newport.

In addition to the production and installation of the new bridge, CBUK also oversaw the removal, dismantling and recycling of the existing bridge structure.  Both elements of the project were delivered to strict timescales when the train line was taken out of operation.

To meet a short, six-hour deadline for the removal, CBUK fitted additional steelwork to the old bridge to strengthen the structure before it was lifted by a 600 tonne-capacity crawler crane, which enabled it to be removed in a single piece.  The old bridge was then dismantled in the temporary works area for recycling.

Installation of the new bridge, which took place during a weekend closure of the railway line, also utilised the crawler crane and was successfully completed within three hours of receiving confirmation of the line closure.  This provided sufficient time for follow on activities including installation of 90 pre-cast concrete units before the line was reopened.

The completion of the bridge marks a key milestone in the Great Western Route Modernisation electrification project.  Through the installation of 25kV AC OLE equipment, Network Rail will electrify the line, which is one of the country’s most important arterial routes linking London and the South East to the West Country and Wales.

Chris Droogan, Managing Director of Cleveland Bridge UK, said: “Combining high-quality bridge design and manufacture with exceptional logistical management ensured the successful delivery of this project.  Our engineers and contractors worked in unison with Network Rail meeting strict timescales to minimise impact on one of the busiest rail routes in the UK.

“Electrification is an essential element of upgrading the UK’s rail infrastructure, which requires a broad and skilled supply chain that is able to deliver programmes efficiently.  The Newport Bridge project clearly demonstrates our capabilities and the role we are playing in the future of UK railways.”