CEMEX provides innovative concrete bearers for London rail project

Global building materials supplier CEMEX has adapted its production process to provide Network Rail with a never-seen-before concrete bearer for a challenging rail replacement project at Lewisham Station in London, UK. 
Concrete Plants, Equipment & Applications / February 16, 2023
By Liam McLoughlin
CEMEX has provided single concrete bearers of a much longer length than usual for the project at Lewisham Station
CEMEX has provided single concrete bearers of a much longer length than usual for the project at Lewisham Station

Over 600 individual concrete crossing bearers ranging from lengths of 2.5m up to 10.3m were needed to replace the existing “scissor switch diamond” junction just outside the station. 

Because of the complexity of the design, split bearers were not suitable, meaning single bearers of a considerably longer length than is usually manufactured were required. A specialist mix had to be implemented to ensure the high standards needed were met. The team also reconfigured the production plant at CEMEX’s specialist bearer facility based in Somercotes, Derbyshire, to fulfil the order while still meeting the business’s requirements for safe and sustainable mobility. 

Alongside the longer length bearers, the project included split modular bearers with both full size and reduced shear plates, many third rail positions were required on specific bearers, under bearer pads throughout the layout and strap rail positions.

In total, CEMEX provided 2185 linear metres of concrete for the project, accompanying 700m of new rail, 6,000 tonnes of ballast and 1,000m of conductor rail from Network Rail’s supply chain. 

This was a sizable replacement and was in the planning for over a period of two years, with CEMEX working closely with Network Rail and the Switch and Crossing manufacturer Progress Rail Services UK, throughout. Installation took place over a nine-day period, with further challenges presented due to a nearby bridge. 

Terence Clair, S&C business manager for CEMEX UK Rail Solutions, commented: “This was a multifaceted project that required an innovative solution to ensure the customer’s requirements were met safely and sustainably. Production of bearers of this size had never been done before but thanks to the dedication of our team we were able to rise to the challenge! 

“The new junction looks fantastic and replacing the existing timber bearers with our resilient and hard-wearing concrete products will ensure longevity for many years to come. Our bearers are safety critical to the UK rail infrastructure and are the foundations that allow the country’s trains to run safely. With this responsibility comes a lot of complexity within our process but we are always keen to work with our customers to create new and bespoke products for their construction projects.”

CEMEX’s Rail Solutions are an integral part of the business’s Urbanisation Solutions offering, which provides customers with a range of sustainable solutions for the challenges of urbanisation. 

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