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West Midlands Is Set To Get Longest Single-Span Railway

2 min

Credit: Network Rail Air Operations
In collaboration with HS2, Network Rail has begun to install the SAS 13 railway bridge in Birmingham. Quadrant Transport looks at how the partnership will help set the pathway for future tracks installed for Britain’s new zero-carbon railways.

According to Network Rail, the whole project will use 3,601 cubic metres of concrete and 1,118 tonnes of steel, being built with an investment of £85m to support the existing railway of HS2.

For the 92-metre-long bridge in Stechford to be built, an old railway viaduct on the Stechford to Aston freight line was demolished.

Huge remote-controlled vehicles known as Self Propelled Modular Transporters (SPMT) will drive the new 2,600-tonne metal and concrete bridge into place before the tracks are to be re-laid so trains can run again later in May.

In their SPMT brochure, Mammonet outlines the advantages of SPMTs. Not only are they flexible, easy and can transport almost any object, but SPMTs also are multi-system compatible, have low ground bearing pressure and have a minimal environmental impact.

Contractor, Skanska pre-assembled the new 2,600 tonnes structure by working for the last 22 months in a compound beside the existing railway lines.

Director for ‘On Network Works’ for HS2 and Network Rail, Patrick Cawley, said: “Moving this 2,600-tonne bridge into place is no mean feat and the new structure will ensure Britain’s new zero-carbon, high-speed railway HS2 works in harmony with the existing rail routes into the second city.

“As you’d expect from such a complex engineering project, CrossCountry passengers will see changes to their weekend journeys in May. I’d urge people to please check before they travel using the National Rail Enquiries website or app, and I thank everyone in advance for their patience while we help build this railway for the future.”

Reducing carbon emissions and cutting the costs of the number of lorry movements on local roads, this construction method minimises impacts on the local community.

The bridge will benefit not just those working in the industry but the public

Programme Director for Skanska Rail, Rosario Barcena, said: “We’re extremely excited to be working with Network Rail and HS2 to deliver the SAS 13 bridge replacement project. This project will deliver the largest single-span railway bridge in the West Midlands, improving connectivity and paving the way for the HS2 route into Birmingham City Centre.

“We have designed and constructed the bridge to deliver value for money, reduce impact to the environment and disruption to the local community. The bridge has been fabricated on-site, cutting carbon emissions and reducing vehicle movements to and from site. We’re looking forward to seeing it in operation.”

This project comes after Network Rail’s announcement last month of an investment of £70m on 550 projects for the improvement of rail services.