Two 250 Kirow cranes working in tandem

VolkerRail installs new track layout at Bristol Temple Meads

As part of Network Rail’s Bristol Rail Regeneration project, VolkerRail has helped transform the way trains come in and out of Bristol Temple Meads.

Over the last six weeks, VolkerRail’s Kirow Crane team has installed a brand new layout at Bristol East Junction, a major junction, just North of Bristol Temple Meads station, paving the way for more train services to move more people, more reliably.

Much of the original track and engineering components, replaced by the team and removed by Colas Rail, have remained untouched, since being installed in the 1960s.

Due to the brick arches around the station posing weight restrictions, the team used the extremely flexible, lightweight, Kirow 250s, which undertake 17 tonne lifts individually, or heavier, when operated in tandem, using chains and strops rather than lifting beams to help reduce the axel loads of the crane.

The Kirow 810 was also utilised on the project to assist in the unloading of modular S&C panels from tilting wagons. The 810 had the ability to change orientation of some of the panels after delivery before transporting them to site on a salmon wagon for the Kirow 250s to install.

In total, the team has laid over 4,000m of track; installing 213 track panels and 36 sets of points, as well as laying an extra line into the station, taking it from five to six roads, to support additional suburban services, being planned for the future.

This new layout means trains will now be able to come in and out of Bristol Temple Meads more easily, meaning fewer delays and better journeys.

As well as laying new track, the team also used the cranes to install and help dress its second signal gantry; having installed the first gantry over Christmas 2020, as well as the first set of track replacement sections, along with removing the final – redundant - signal gantry.

Commenting on the work, VolkerRail’s POM operations manager, Andrew Graham, said: “This has been a monumental project for the team, but one they have completed with great pride.

“Planning for this project began over a year ago, with the team working closely with Colas and Network Rail to discuss every detail and ensure this new track layout would meet their requirements.

“Over the course of this project, the team completed over 720 hours of meticulous work, across 42 shifts and some of the hottest days we’ve seen over recent years. Well done to all involved”

Commenting, Mike Gallop, Network Rail’s Western route director, said: “I am delighted we have completed this important upgrade work which, now finished, will bring great benefits to passengers, particularly more trains, more seats and more reliable journeys.

“This was a highly complex piece of engineering that has taken several years to plan and we would like to thank passengers and local residents for their patience and understanding over the past eight weeks while we have completed this work.

“The upgrade of Bristol East Junction is just one aspect of our wider Bristol Rail Regeneration programme of work that is transforming the station and railway in Bristol for the benefit of passengers, the city and West of England region.”

The transformation of Bristol Temple Meads is at the heart of future regeneration plans for the city and the wider region, that will see it become a truly world-class transport hub.