Milestone shows major rail scheme is on right track

Worksop Galvanizing has reached a significant milestone as part of its work on one of the biggest rail projects in the UK.

The plant is playing a key role in a major programme to upgrade the Midland Main Line, which runs from London to Sheffield.

Huge sections of infrastructure used to support new electric cables are first being sent to the plant for the application of a protective coating.

And the amount of the steel galvanized so far has now reached 3,000 tonnes.

State-of-the-art facilities at Worksop include the largest acid bath in the UK, which enables sections as long as 30 metres to be galvanized at once.

Paul Robinson, Commercial Manager at Worksop Galvanizing, said: “The upgrade programme on the Midland Main Line is a massive scheme that includes the electrification from London to Corby with plans to extend further north.

“We’ve been galvanizing sections of steelwork that will support the new cables for more than a year and have now reached a figure of 3,000 tonnes.

“It’s a significant project that’s still ongoing and I believe we’re only roughly halfway through.

“But we have some of the best facilities in the UK, including the largest bath in the country, and that means we’re able to turn around projects like this very quickly.”

Network Rail’s £500m-plus upgrade and electrification programme is designed to reduce journey times and increase passenger capacity on the entire length of the line which bypasses Luton, Leicester, Derby and Nottingham.

It includes the erection of 6,000 main steel components to support the overhead line equipment and current focus is on the section running from Bedford to Corby. Supporting infrastructure is being supplied by Adey Steel.

Jim Hatherley, Head of Rail for Adey, said: “The vast majority of steelwork for rail projects is galvanized as it’s a process that massively extends the life expectancy of structures, ensures maintenance is minimised and provides significant protection in a high-impact environment.

“We’ve provided around 95 per cent of the main steel for the Bedford to Corby section of the upgrade since it started in November 2017 and the majority of that has gone through Worksop Galvanizing.

“We expect to supply around 5,500 tonnes for this section in total and that could yet be extended, so it’s certainly a significant amount of work for them.

“But the plant has the largest bath in the UK so it has the ability to cope with such large-scale projects.

“It also offers good rates, a quick turn-around and the level of customer service we want. They’ll go out of their way to accommodate our needs and are the kind of people who’ll do anything for you.”

The entire Midland Main Line improvement will include the electrification of 639km single track, the modernisation of signalling systems and the expansion of platforms leading to the introduction of new trains with more carriages.

The Bedford to Corby project scope is scheduled to be completed in 2023.

Photo credit: Wedge Group Galvanizing Ltd