Gabions supplied by Maccaferri Ltd, specialists in
retaining structures, erosion protection and soil
reinforcement, have been used to divert the course of the
Leaming beck in rural Yorkshire. A short stretch of new
riverbank has been formed, re-routing the stream to
accommodate the construction of an additional siding at
Oxenhope station on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway.
The setting for the ever-popular film ‘The Railway
Children’, the railway recalls the romance of the steam

Now a popular tourist attraction, enthusiasts
maintain a regular timetable of steam trains which are
enjoyed by both local people and visitors to the region.
A generous grant from the trustees of the Heritage
Lottery Fund has allowed the Keighley & Worth Valley
Railway to undertake a number of major improvements,
including the construction of covered accommodation and
an additional siding at Oxenhope station.

Expansion was constrained by the existence of a small
stream, the Leeming beck, running adjacent to the tracks.
It was decided to divert the water’s course to create
additional space for the new track to be laid between the
museum shed and the beck. To ensure structural
stability, consulting engineers, Rawcliffe Associates
appointed Maccaferri to design and supply gabion
retaining walls to support the riverbank.

In addition, otters inhabit this stretch of the stream and were
occasionally present during construction, so it was
essential to restore the surrounding environment upon

PC Construction, a gabion and soil reinforcement
specialist sub-contractor, undertook the construction for
main contractor Mowlem Civil Engineering. Attention has
been paid to aesthetic appeal – the gabion walls have been
finished with split face stone to blend in with the
existing railway buildings. Planting pipes have been
inserted into the top of the wall to speed up the natural
‘greening’ process.

The walls were completed using conventional ‘flat pack’
PVC-coated hexagonal woven mesh gabions fabricated from a
double-twist, hexagonal mesh of PVC and galfan coated
steel wire. Galfan is a five percent aluminium/zinc metal which
provides enhanced corrosion protection characteristics
when compared to conventional galvanising.

The standard size for each gabion is 2m x 1m x 1m with a
fixed diaphragm at one metre, but alternative sizes may be
specified to meet precise specifications. Supplied
folded flat, units are laced together using continuous
2.2mm diameter lacing wire, or alternatively high tensile
steel fixing rings can be attached using a special
pneumatic assembly tool. Once assembled, each unit is
filled with natural local stone to create a retaining
structure which is in sympathy with the surrounding

The UK arm of the Maccaferri Industrial Group,
headquartered in Italy, Maccaferri Ltd specialises in the
supply of gabions, geotextiles, geogrids and geomats. In
addition to a full range of products for retaining
structures, soil reinforcement and erosion protection,
the company offers an in-house design and advisory