New Borders Railway Construction Case Study
The New Borders Railway construction was the longest new domestic railway to the built in the UK for over 100 years.
The 30 miles of track facilitated passenger trains to run from Edinburgh through Midlothian and into Tweedbank in the Scottish borders for the first time in 40 years.
Hailed as ‘one of the greatest achievements of grassroots rail campaigning in British history’, the £249 project, which consisted of 50km of new railway, seven new stations and 160 new structures, earthworks, 11 major road schemes, signalling, telecoms and electrical/power assets, not only hoped to improve rail infrastructure, but also planned to improve safety around the local road network and improve cycle routes. A projected £33m boost to the Scottish economy, with heightened opportunities for employment, business, tourism and leisure is also expected.
Delivered by Network Rail and Transport Scotland, with BAM as the lead design and construction contractor, the project required significant rail and earthworks plant to facilitate the installation of such a vital stretch of track. BAM approached AB2K for assistance on delivering this integrated solution.
The AB2k Solution
AB2K’s rail team had the exciting task of laying the brand-new double line rail track along the new line, and ensuring that the new track was safely ballasted and ready to receive the first trains on the route in nearly half a century.
Additional earthworks were also required, and a large fleet of bespoke rail plant was necessary on site – including a number of Liebherr 900 RRV’s, rail trailers, ballast brushes, profile buckets, clamshells, rail beams and fast clippers.
The scope of the project included major earthworks, new bridge installations, bridge refurbishments, slope stabilisation works, supporting infrastructure, roads and extensive utility diversions. The construction of the embankments and cuttings included the excavation of 804,000 tonnes of earthworks, the installation of 22,800m³ of gabion baskets and 25.6km of drainage works over the length of the route.
With so much activity, it was key that every organisation on site worked closely together, so good communication between BAM teams, and other contractors was key.
Thanks to a huge team effort, the new stretch of track was opened by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, accompanied by Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, on the day the Queen became Britain’s longest serving monarch.