Bridge Farm ground works aerial view. Aylesbury.(Network Rail Image)
Dramatic time-lapse footage emerged today of a 12-week Network Rail scheme to stabilise half a mile of subsiding embankment beneath the Chiltern main line in Buckinghamshire.
Until this permanent solution took place Network Rail engineers had to make ongoing temporary repairs to dips in the tracks causing bumpy rides for Chiltern Railways customers.
Left unchecked subsidence of ground beneath tracks can lead ultimately to trains derailing.
Orange army engineers used a Giken silent piling machine, from Japan, to drive 865 six metre-long steel sheet piles deep into the earth to form rows either side of the railway at bridge Farm near Aylesbury.
These piles formed solid barriers behind which engineers packed 27,000 tonnes of stone topped off with soil seeded with grass for a neat green finish to the strengthened embankment.
Mark Evans, Works delivery programme manager on Network Rail’s London North Western route, said:
“By using this innovative Japanese piling method we got the job done quicker and cheaper than traditional kit would have allowed.
“The Giken machine grips the neighbouring steel sheet pile and silently uses it to lever in the next one, and so on. It’s simple, safe and saves taxpayers’ cash – exactly how we like it.”
Alan Riley, Customer Services Director for Chiltern Railways, added:
“We are delighted with this innovative solution as it has clearly delivered a value-for-money result and most importantly enhances the travelling experience for our customers. The work embraces a ‘think different’ approach to ensure the project has been completed in a timely manner and quality output, with the customers at the heart of this.”
The three-month scheme, from May to August, cost £2.9m.