The Intercity Express Programme, a £2-billion initiative launched by the Department of Transport in 2005, aimed to provide a greener, faster and quieter rail system that produces fewer carbon dioxide emissions than its predecessors. The scheme electrified 3000 km of rail track, thereby enabling the replacement of the UK’s ageing Intercity 125 fleet with modern rolling stock running predominantly on the newly electrified lines and consequently saving an estimated 25–30% of carbon dioxide emissions per passenger. Structural Soils, an RSK company, used its regionally located specialists, with in-depth experience of the overhead-line equipment (OLE), to conduct ground investigations.
Structural Soils’ OLE ground investigation services included cable percussion drilling, rotary drilling and inclinometer installation. ABC Electrification, a joint venture of clients Alstom, Babcock and Costain, used the results obtained by Structural Soils to construct bespoke gantries and portals for line work between Patchway Junction 1 in South Gloucestershire and Swansea, South Wales, a major link in electrifying the Great Western main line between London and Swansea. The work was completed under RSK’s high standards for quality, health, safety and environmental performance. This was even more important than usual for the client as this OLE work was part of a flagship project. The new Intercity Express fleet began operating in October 2017, thus providing the British public with a faster, more sustainable form of transport.
As well as undertaking work for ABC Electrification, Structural Soils completed line work for Vinci Construction between Filton Abbey Wood and Bristol Temple Meads. Structural Soils’ extensive experience in rail work enables it to undertake a wide variety of types and sizes of projects, including a series of works along the main line from London. Previous projects have involved drilling boreholes to determine geology and enable the accommodation of overhead electric cables, and additional site works including badger mitigation and European Protected Species licence applications.