Stobart Rail has gained valuable experience after completing a sensitive refurbishment of Foxfield Viaduct on the Carnforth – Whitehaven line.
The railway crosses the Duddon Estuary using the five-span viaduct. Detailed examinations found the present construction to be in a ‘fair condition’ overall.
However engineers decided to carry out refurbishment works which included waterproofing the existing deck which will increase the lifetime of the structure by some 20 years.
The job at Foxfield included removal of track, excavation of ballast and the installation of a loose laid waterproofing system over the viaduct structure.
New ballast was laid and compacted before replacing the old track with CEN56 rail and steel sleepers.
Foxfield is part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest, the dreaded SSSI.
The survey area was thoroughly searched for evidence of badgers, water voles, otters, great crested newts and bats. According to historic records the SSSI was once home to colonies of natter jack toads, adders, lizards and slow worms. A rigorous physical survey did not find any on site.
Mitigation measures included any vegetation works being carried out outside of bird nesting season.
All Stobart Rail staff were briefed on the potential presence of reptiles and how to identify them and how to carefully move to a place of refuge outside the work area. Environmental briefings were conducted on site.
Stobart Rail utilised its own fleet of specialist Road Rail Plant with trailers and spoil boxes to assist in the delivery of the works which included the Colmar T 10000 FS and various lifting attachments.
The project was completed on time, safely, without incident and achieved all desired targets.
Network Rail has also awarded Stobart Rail a further two viaduct refurbishment schemes on bridges spanning the M6 at Knutsford and Sandbach.