Our rail specialists designed a major rail bridge in Berkshire for BAM Nuttall and Network Rail as part of the six-year phased redevelopment of Reading Station and the surrounding rail network. Phase 2 included the replacement of the existing bridge, which is over Caversham Road, just west of Reading Station. The new deck maintains existing track alignment and clearance to the road, and allows for future remodelling of the nine tracks on the main line between London Paddington and Bristol.
The existing substructures of the original bridge have been retained and the abutments widened to accommodate the new deck — it is considerably wider than the previous structure. The new super-slender orthotropic steel deck carries the loads of the Great Western Main Line. Dynamic finite element analysis was undertaken to check the acceleration response of the structure to high speed trains and to verify the dynamic factors for the design.
The 1,000 tonne steel and concrete deck was fabricated in sections and assembled on a nearby worksite before being delivered by two huge transporters and lowered onto the abutments. Caversham Road — a busy A road in the centre of Reading — was temporarily closed to enable works. In designing the deck, full consideration was given to minimising future management and maintenance requirements so as to limit potential disruption to road traffic.
A number of other bridges and earthwork structures were undertaken as part of this phased project, including widening of the Vastern Road bridge to the east of the station. It carries new platforms for improved train services branching off to London Waterloo and Gatwick Airport.