Network Rail has completed work in North Yorkshire to keep freight trains running to the Drax power station.
A 10-day blockade was put in place whilst the work was undertaken to install a new waterproofing system, strengthen steelwork and replace 100m of track.
The £2.1m repair and strengthen project has been completed on Aire Bridge and will bring better reliability for the 100 freight services each week which provide materials both to and from Drax Power Station.
The blockade took place from the 27th of August to the 6th of September with a Network Rail team removing more than 100m of track to allow new waterpoofing, drainage system and a concrete slab to be installed.
New rails along with sleepers and ballast also had to be re-laid. At the same time work was also undertaken to strengthen the steel structure, which will create less need for maintenance work moving into the future.
The maintenance work means that rainwater now drains more efficiently and is less likely to create structural damage, which will allow the freight trains to move biomass to and from Drax Power Station much more reliably.
The bridge is a three-span underbridge crossing the River Aire, and is 65m in length, carrying the twin ballasted, non-electrified tracks to the power station which currently provides around 12% of the UK’s renewable electricity.
Matt Rice, Route Director for Network Rail’s North & East Route, said: “I’d like to say a huge thank you to local residents and our colleagues at Drax Power Station for their patience and collaboration while we completed these essential repairs.
“By strengthening the bridge, we’re able to reduce the number of delays caused by future maintenance work and therefore deliver an improved service for our freight customers and the communities they serve.”
Mark Gibbens, Drax Group’s Head of Logistics, said: “Drax Power Station is the UK’s biggest renewable power generator, providing enough green energy for 4 million homes in the first half of this year.
“Network Rail’s work to strengthen the bridge makes our global sustainable biomass supply chain more resilient, ensuring millions of homes and businesses can rely on the renewable power Drax generates.”
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