Grontmij - Geotechnical experts 

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15 Oct 2009 | Completion of innovative track stabilisation project with Network Rail 

Grontmij has been instrumental in developing and implementing a plan to stabilise a 540 metre length of track, on the busy freight line between Doncaster and Scunthorpe. The £10 million ‘Medge Hall Track Stabilisation’ project was completed on behalf of Carillion Construction Limited on a Network Rail design and build project.
The contract was awarded to Carillion in January 2009 after a competitive tender process, which saw Grontmij’s team of Geotechnical engineers provide a solution that offered Carillion and Network Rail distinct advantages in terms of reducing programme and construction risk.

Project challenges

The track, underlain by soft peat and alluvium, had been suffering from settlement related problems for a number of years leading to the introduction of a 10mph speed limit. The line carries approximately 35 million tonnes of freight per year, making track maintenance and safety a key concern. 

The solution was engineered by Grontmij’s geotechnical and transportation teams, who developed a plan to drive up to 1,300 small diameter piles through the existing railway embankment over a distance of approximately 500m. The piles support a reinforced concrete slab which carries a new ballast and track.

Innovative solution with the least construction risk

Clive Powell, geotechnical director at Grontmij, said: “We have worked closely with Carillion to develop and implement a solution with the least construction risk during an 11 week rail blockade.

“Although the main concern in this project was the geotechnical issues with the track stabilisation, access was limited as the track is surrounded by water, with a significant watercourse to the north and a major canal to the south parallel to the railway. Access to the site was only possible with the construction of five temporary bridges over the northern drainage ditch.

"Minimal disruption to the ecological environment"

The selection of a mini pile meant that smaller scale plant could be used and that offered distinct advantages in terms of reduced temporary works, ease of plant movement and less risk to the canal sheet piling.”

Network Rail’s project manager Paul Fairburn commented, “This is a vital piece of work and we were impressed with Grontmij’s geotechnical solution and implementation of the plans. The strength of the team that Carillion and Grontmij represent allowed the work to be completed on schedule with the minimum disruption to the ecological environment.”