Network Rail has revealed how they able to save around £40m by not having to demolish and rebuild a railway bridge in Cardiff.
Special electric resistant paint along with other technology has allowed a Victorian railway bridge usable for electric trains.
Diesel trains have been replaced by electric and required overhead wires to run, and there has to be sufficient space between the track and bridge to install the wire.
This often involves rebuilding bridges.
The bridge in Cardiff is on the railway line to London and special electric-resistant paint was applied to the underside of the bridge.
Developed in conjunction with the University of Southampton, the new paint has been used alongside specialist lineside kit, including surge arresters and insulated bridge arms, to insulate the bridge from electricity
Network Rail are now working to roll out this new alternative for future electrification projects around the UK.
Richard Stainton, engineering expert, Network Rail said: “Intersection Bridge – situated in the centre of Cardiff, on the Wales route – is a prime example. The structure is too low to safely fit all the kit required.”
“Ordinarily, this would force Network Rail to demolish it and rebuild it at a greater height to keep electric trains a safe distance away from the bridge as they pass under, and stop them from electrifying the bridge itself, or anything on it.”
Peter Smith-Jaynes, regional asset manager, electrification, Wales & Western, said: “It’s a really complex situation at Cardiff Intersection Bridge.”
“It’s a very busy rail-over-rail bridge, with a canal underneath that, and it’s surrounded by high-rise buildings. Just accessing the bridge would have been difficult but knocking it down and rebuilding it would have been nearly impossible. We had to find another solution.”
Richard explained: “Typically, a third of electrification project expenditure is on reconstruction and modifying of civils structures – tunnels, bridges and stations – to allow the installation OLE with the necessary clearances.”
“This solution will create enormous efficiencies; allowing future electrification projects to be installed and energised without multi-million-pound expenditure – potentially saving the tax-payers as much as £100m.”
“It will also significantly reduce the number of rail closures – for access – lowering the disruption to passengers, road networks, and railway neighbours.”
Peter added: “As a Welshman, I’m proud we’ve been able to trial this innovative, new technology here in Cardiff, and can look back on it knowing we’ve made a difference, potentially saving the taxpayer millions as we roll it out on future electrification projects elsewhere.”
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