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Railhub Archive
1997-10-15 RTK-001
Railtrack plc


River Exe gets £3 million railway bridge

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River Exe

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Railtrack plc

River Exe gets £3 million railway bridge

15 October 1997
source Railtrack plc
type Press release

The last jigsaw in Railtrack’s £3 million project to replace a key rail bridge over the River Exe, near Exeter St David Station takes place this weekend. The railway line will be shut for 57 hours while the old bridge is dismantled and the new one put in its place.

Railtrack is using a novel technique to replace the bridge. Rather than using the more traditional method of lifting the new structure into place using a heavy duty crane it will be rolled into place on three inch diameter ball bearings. This novel technique will drastically reduce the length of time that the railway needs to be closed.

Replacing the bridge is just a small part of Railtrack’s £4 million a day investment programme said Railtrack’s senior project manager David Putley. "While this particular bridge was coming to the end of its natural life, the new bridge is of a modern design made from steel with a reinforced concrete deck with a waterproof coating," he added.

"We decided to roll the bridge into place because it enabled us to carry out more preparatory work ahead of the slide and this in turn reduces the duration of rail closure," he said.

Two cranes will be used to lift the 101 year old wrought iron bridge and then the new section of bridge will be rolled into place on giant rollers. To save time during the weekend shutdown the railway track has already been fitted onto the river bridge in situ.

The rail bridge is part of the main line connecting Devon and Cornwall with London carrying passenger and freight trains between Paddington and Penzance. The contract is being managed on site by engineers from construction company Hochtief.

David Putley is extremely pleased with progress so far and the minimal disruption to the travelling public. "We have gone out of our way to ensure that as few trains as possible have been affected and have worked with our colleagues at the train operating companies to make sure that people can get to their destinations during this essential work.

This bridge is one of three being replaced this month in the Exeter area at a total cost of £4.3 million. The other two, near the villages of Hele and Brandninch some eight miles north east of Exeter, are also being replaced while the line is shut.

At Hele and Brandninch the bridges are being lifted into place using a 500 tonne crane. The original wrought iron bridges, with timber, are being replaced with modern steel bridges and ballasted railway track. The work will also improve the flooding problems at this location as the track is being "lifted" at the same time.

Railhub Archive ::: 1997-10-15 RTK-001


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