Network Rail Unveils Cut-Price Plan for UK Rail Tunnels

28 September 2010 (Last Updated September 28th, 2010 18:30)

Network Rail and structural engineer specialist Donaldson Associates have unveiled detailed design ideas of how tunnels in the UK should be renewed and repaired over the next decade. Speaking at Tunnels and Tunnelling International 2010, the organisations presented drawings from their new

Network Rail and structural engineer specialist Donaldson Associates have unveiled detailed design ideas of how tunnels in the UK should be renewed and repaired over the next decade.

Speaking at Tunnels and Tunnelling International 2010, the organisations presented drawings from their new technical user manuals, which will be used by contractors and designers on future maintenance projects.

The manuals outline description of methods, limitations, defects, how materials and methods should be tested, and health and safety best practices.

Donaldson Associates chief civil engineer Peter Harris said: "Standard maintenance drawings were released two years ago but now we have much larger areas that are in need of repair, which require more efficient and detailed design plans."

Standard renewal methods, which Network Rail hopes to implement, include the spraying of concrete linings and shaft lining to prevent weathering of brickwork.

"On our Seven Oaks project, 75m of brickwork was weathered by water so we came up with the idea of implementing a glass reinforced liner into the shaft rather than replacing all of the damaged brickwork. This is a safer and less costly solution," said Harris.

With the new standards, outlined in the user manuals, Network Rail hopes to reduce design costs by eliminating repetitive design, improve productivity, minimise contractor and subcontractor costs and minimise future maintenance requirements.