Engineers constructing the longest domestic passenger railway to be built in the UK for a century, have made extensive use of retaining wall technology from Maccaferri.

The £300m Airdrie to Bathgate passenger rail link in the central belt of Scotland is a landmark project by Network Rail to widen and re-open a 24km line closed over 50 years ago.

Maccaferri’s stone-filled wire Gabions have been used as retaining walls to strengthen cuttings and embankments where the old single track line has been widened to accommodate twin tracks and access walkways.

At the western section between Airdrie and Drumgelloch Stations, contractors BAM Nuttall used over 1800m² of pre-filled Gabions to create retaining walls up to 4m high around signal gantries adjacent to the line.

Further east, at the 5.5km long section between Raisehill and Caldercruix, contractors Carillion brought in Maccaferri’s own specialist construction team to install Gabion retaining walls.

At Caldercruix, Gabion walls 72m long and 4m high on the north side and 10m long, 2m high on the south side were built to allow widening of the rail corridor and the construction of a new station complex.

The main advantages of Gabions are their strength and flexibility. Their wire construction can easily tolerate differentiate settlement. Hydrostatic pressure does not build up behind the units because of their permeable nature. This ability to combine drainage and retention functions makes them ideal structures for slope stabilisation.

Work began on the project in June 2008 and was completed on time with trains running on the new line in December 2010.