Supporting the introduction of faster, greener electric trains in Wales

Working with customer Network Rail, our track renewals team from Bristol successfully completed track lowering works in Patchway Tunnels (up and down) and Little Stoke Farm, as part of the Severn Tunnel closure also known as the ‘Severn Tunnel Autumn Disruption’ or STAD for short. This work is a critical element of the overall project to introduce faster, greener electric trains for passengers in South Wales.

Our track renewals team including Steve Eastment Project Manager, Mark Harding Site Manager, Warren Eldridge Lead Engineer, Dean Davies Supervisor, Chris Evans Supervisor, Scott Aston Engineer, Kelvin Rodber Development Engineer, worked around the clock over a six week period starting on the 12 September and running until the 21 October undertaking track lowering works at Patchway Tunnel and Little Stoke Farm.

The track lowering works delivered by our team encompassed track components, a new drainage system and formation treatment. Working in single bore tunnels required the team to develop a methodology that took into account the limited access in taking material in and out, via road rail vehicles (RRVs), so intricate planning was paramount. At Little Stoke Farm, there were various other challenges to overcome, not least the discovery of five concrete ribs that spanned the width of the renewal resulting in significant re-design work and the presence of Japanese Knotweed.

Despite the challenges, this large scale project was successfully handed back early with a handback speed of 60mph rather than the planned 50mph. By working closely together, Network Rail and the Babcock delivery team including its suppliers TXM who provided RRVs, ISS who provided labour, Hi-Motive providing radio communications, Speedy supporting with small plant and ABC Electrification providing compound management, received several plaudits for their efforts.

David Buisson, Major Programme Director on GWRM, said:
“To the Babcock Rail team, a quick note to you to thank you for your help on the Severn Tunnel Area Disruption. I appreciate your hard work and dedication to safety and your achievement is a sense of pride to the entire programme. Congratulations and well done. “

Steve Featherstone, Network Rail Programme Track Director said;
“Well done and thanks to all involved. Great teamwork.”

Added Evan Harris, Programme Director;
“Well done and congratulations from myself and on behalf of Babcock for a job well done. Some challenges, some issues, some innovation, some great delivery, some lessons to learn, but ultimately, great stuff. Onward and upwards. Please pass on my thanks to the team.”

Evan Harris
Programme Director