Network Rail is electrifying the Great Western route between London Paddington and Cardiff that also includes lines to Oxford, Newbury and between Bristol Temple Meads and Bristol Parkway.
With completion set for 2017, the work to one of the UK’s oldest and busiest railways will result in improved and quicker connections for southern England and South Wales. It will also enable a fleet of new energy efficient trains to be commissioned that will result in smoother and more comfortable journeys for passengers.
Adey Steel, a long-term customer of Tata Steel’s Construction Structures and Rail divisions, has been awarded a £15M contract to fabricate and supply the overhead gantries for the Great Western Electrification programme (GWEp).
On a wider note Tata Steel’s Rail division has a long term relationship with the UK’s rail industry and has most recently secured the rail and sleeper supply contracts for Network Rail that run for a duration of up to 10 years.
As a result of Adey Steel winning this contract Tata Steel’s Construction Structures, Rail and Distribution UK & Ireland sales teams collaborated and pooled their expertise to obtain a new business opportunity for its Plate Profiling Centre located at Steelpark, near Wolverhampton.
The Profiling Centre processes steel plate manufactured at Tata Steel’s Scunthorpe site into a wide variety of different components. The plate profiling, additional processing (such as machining) and supply chain management is a value-added activity, generating real benefits for Tata Steel’s customers. Growing high-volume repeat business, such as this rail project, is an ideal fit for the new Centre’s capability.
Plasma profiled plate is supplied to Adey Steel from the Profiling Centre in a variety of different sizes for the various components required for Network Rail’s project. The largest pieces are 13m long and thicknesses vary from 10mm up 20mm.
Adey Steel has won a three and a half year contract to supply Network Rail with overhead line electrification steelwork comprising of gantries, masts and brackets for the Great Western electrification programme.
“We are partnering closely with Tata Steel who are key plate suppliers to our manufacturing facility which is responsible for fabricating and galvanizing a variety of components that are assembled onsite to form the various rail gantry structures,” explains Adey Steel Managing Director Andrew Adey.
Adey Steel cuts, fabricates, welds and tests the steelwork to produce a number of components that need to be repetitively produced during the programme. In order to produce these items without error, and to the highest quality, the company has a range of specialist jigs set up at its fabrication shop.
The gantries vary in size depending on the number of tracks they are spanning. The largest components Adey Steel is producing are 12m-long beams to be used as gantry centre sections. They measure 1m high x 1m wide and weigh 3.5t each.
Meanwhile, the product Adey Steel is producing the highest quantity of is a 250kg foundation bracket.
Once the components are completed they are moved to Network Rail’s project stockyard at Swindon where they are held until needed onsite.