Manchester Metrolink Tram Management System (TMS)

Working for Thales on the Phase 1 & 2 TMS upgrade and Phase 3 new installations, Pod-Trak carried out a multidisciplinary scope of lineside civils and installation of communications systems.

The lineside civil engineering scope included route works, cable installation, UTXs, signal base foundations, CCTV post foundations, driver walkways, hollow bearer sleepers, ballast board retaining walls and light vegetation clearance.

The communications scope included Mesh Radio installation, SPAS beacons, axle counters, fibre network and leaky feeder cable through all the tunnels in the network. In 2012 Pod-Trak installed a new fibre backbone and Masstrip link between the existing depot at Queens Road and the new depot at Trafford.

This scope included routing both cables through the city centre and carrying out all jointing, splicing, testing and terminating.

Upon completion of the works the old Phase 1 and 2 system met the specification of the new modern TMS on Phase 3.

Swansea Depot

Pod-Trak was contracted to carry out all the civils modifications within the depot that were necessary to facilitate the maintenance and use of bi-mode trains being used on the Great Western Main Line.

The scope of works included UTXs, drainage, walkways, HV cable routes, concrete bases, a new layby and retaining structures. All works were carried out on midweek days with careful planning to ensure the depot remained operational at all times.

Deep excavations with poor ground conditions throughout the depot posed a constant challenge to the project team. Temporary works design and controls were key to making sure our teams and others within the depot were not put in any danger during the construction phase.

Works were facilitated by the use of in-house on track plant to move materials through the depot on a daily basis.

Ilford Crossrail Depot

Ilford Depot was enhanced to accommodate the servicing of new Crossrail trains and the existing Great Eastern rolling stock. Pod-Trak delivered a multidiscipline scope including both OLE and Civil Engineering.

The Civil Engineering scope was delivered within a blockade in the live depot from August to December 2016 followed by working in a high street environment for a further four months.

The works included:

  • Reduced level dig
  • Formation level fill
  • Bottom ballast
  • Walkways
  • Cable routes
  • Storm water track drainage
  • Foul water drainage
  • Concrete bases
  • Concrete slabs & foundations
  • Depot lighting
  • UTXs
  • Ancillary civils

Planning of the works were key to the successful delivery. While both the OLE and Civils were undertaken by Pod-Trak, other contractors were also on site working and all activities had to be carefully planned to ensure all parties could work efficiently.

This was achieved by holding weekly and daily meetings which a representative from each business. Material deliveries were a huge challenge and not only were they subject to the usual booking
process, this could change at short notice if the train operator required access.

With detailed planning and a mix of road and rail deliveries all materials required for the works were delivered on time.

Lostock SATS

Pod-Trak was contracted to construct a new substation at Lostock to support the electrification of the line between Manchester and the West Coast Mainline at Euxton.

Initially the works were being delivered for Carillion, who subsequently went into administration in January 2018. The project was stood down for a period and remaining scope was delivered for Murphy.

A challenging project throughout with most of the work being delivered on PAR Forms due to the lack of an AFC. The substation is located at the end of Lostock Station carpark which remained open through the works and all deliveries had to be planned carefully to avoid peak times.

The substation itself was constructed at high level against an embankment which had to be continuously monitored throughout the duration for signs of movement until eventually a retaining wall was designed and installed.

The scope of works included site clearance, 6F5 infill, drainage, duct routes, transformer bases, substation base, fencing, Armco barriers and guardrails. The retaining wall was added to the scope after the substation building was landed which reduced the working area.

A temporary road was constructed to safely get plant and materials to the work area and complete the installation.

A bespoke cable management design was required to securely route the HV cables from the URX at ground level to the routeworks installed within the compound.

Manchester Metrolink Substations

To cope with the electrical demands of increased traffic on both the Altrincham and Bury lines, a new substation was built on each line to provide additional power for the Trams.

Pod-Trak carried out a multi-discipline scope at each site by completing the design and installation of both the Civils and OLE at Brooklands on the Altrincham Line and Whitefield’s on the Bury Line. The new substations were located within existing car parks.

Careful planning and consideration had to be taken daily for the public who were using the station. The installation works were similar at each site and included piling, substation bases, DNO bases, OLE bases, buried duct routes, UTX’s, trough routes, fencing, paving, Armco barrier, bollard installation and landscaping on Civils.

OLE scope consisted of steel installation, section insulators, GMI installation, bypass isolators, HV feeds, impedance bonding and section proving. Compound works were all carried out on days
while trackside works were delivered over a series of weekend disruptive possessions and midweek engineering hours. OLE foundations were precast at the depot and installed on site with OTP to assist with time constraints.

Heathrow Portal Upgrade

The Elizabeth line will significantly improve links between Heathrow and several central London destinations, significantly increasing demands on Heathrow Express.

Due to the anticipated increase in traffic, we worked collaboratively with Heathrow to update the infrastructure and to alleviate all potential disruptions.

The main issues were addressed through a series of linked work packages which enable Heathrow to continually provide excellent infrastructure availability of 99.75%.

The following scope was undertaken as part of the project:

  • Portal Security Improvement Works
  • Lighting
  • Electrical & Small Power
  • CCTV
  • Car Park – Permeable Paving

Our works included surveys, design, testing for Section 12 compliance and implementation. Pod Trak’s experience and knowledge of Heathrow assisted our client deliver the project without incident, on time and most importantly without disruption to Heathrow passengers.

Barking Riverside Extension (London Overground)

Considered to be a very significant project in London, Pod-Trak was contracted to complete works which would extend the London Overground to make the city more accessible for 10,800 new homes.

The Barking Riverside project is essentially building a new community near to the Thames in East London. In order for these new homes, school and healthcare facilities to function effectively, an effective transport infrastructure system is essential. Pod-Trak focused on providing a rail system to this area, through an extension to the London Overground and commissioned by TfL, who we have a strong long-lasting relationship with.

As part of this project, Pod-Trak is contracted to deliver:

  • A 4.5km extension to Barking Riverside, from the Tilbury Loop Line between Barking and Dagenham Dock stations to Barking Riverside
  • Reconfiguration of Network Rail’s Ripple Lane goods yard to allow the extension to connect to the Tilbury Loop
  • Continuation of the rail system over a new 1.5km viaduct into the heart of Barking Riverside

Laying the foundations for a new future
This project involves an extensive Permanent Way scope, including:

  • Creating a new up a Tilbury Loop and up & down Barking Riverside lines
  • Installation of new double track spur line on the viaduct (slab track circa 1.5km)
  • Installation of new ballasted track
  • Transition section between ballast and slab track
  • Installation of new crossovers
  • Track lubrication and buffer stops
  • Stressing
  • Installation of chainage plates, gradient signs and datum plates

Electrifying the route
London Overground trains are Electric Multiple Units (EMUs), so our team was well-prepared to manage the electrification project as well. The scope of the Traction / Overhead Line Equipment (OLE) works includes:

  • Electrification of the Up & Down Barking Riverside Extension
  • Installation of new series 2 OLE structures and catenary along with RC & EW the route
  • Modifications / replacement to the existing infrastructure
  • Upgrade to West Ham & Barking Feeder Stations
  • New Neutral sections
  • Testing and Commissioning of new Overhead Line Equipment

Civils – General / Ancillary
The benefit of working with Pod-Trak is our adaptability and our versatility. The nature of our business is multi-disciplinary, so we have the ability to complete civils works as well. This means that our teams have a consistent approach to the project. The scope of the civils general / ancillary works includes:

  • Piling / Foundations
  • Breakout and excavation work
  • Foul Drainage and surface water
  • Ducts / trough routes
  • Installation of URX / UTX

North West Electrification Programme (NWEP) – Phase 3 Civils

Our successful Civils works as part of Phase 3 of the North West Electrification programme (NWEP) led to the client coming back for more.

Our work as part of this programme is contributing towards a project which is improving connectivity, journey times and line capacity in the north west of England.

The initial scope included the installation of driver walkways and lighting column foundations at Blackpool Depot Sidings.

The driver walkways were constructed to incorporate sleeves, chambers and ducting to facilitate the installation of 20 lighting columns. All secondary ducting routes were connected back to the primary route to enable cable installation from the distribution point straight to the light. Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) handrails were installed where required.

Further works awarded thanks to successful completion
Following successful completion of the initial works Pod-Trak were awarded further works along the entire NWEP Phase 3 route between Preston and Blackpool.

At various locations along the route, the palisade fencing along the Network Rail boundary was either missing or needed to be replaced. In total over 3km of fencing was installed at a height of 1.8m.

Each section brought its own challenges which were all managed jointly with the client including public interface, working at height and working near open lines.

We have a highly-skilled team which has extensive experience of working in these environments and our collaboration with the client helped the project to run smoothly.

Armco barrier was installed along access roads and around a number of Overhead Line Equipment (OLE) structures as required. A section of drainage was also completed along with the provision of plant to clear redundant materials along the route.

Felixstowe Branch Capacity Enhancement – New Bridge

Safety around the railways is everyone’s biggest priority, so Pod-Trak was tasked to improve safety along the line as part of the Felixstowe Branch Capacity Enhancement project.

Pod-Trak assisted with the construction of the new bridge on the site of the existing Gun Lane level crossing. The purpose of this was to provide an alternative safe route across the railway for walkers, horse riders and cyclists to access the countryside.

The bridge was designed taking into consideration the impact it would have on the environment and its visual appearance in the countryside. This also allowed Network Rail to permanently close six pedestrian level crossings in the Felixstowe Branch area, including Gun Lane, to improve public safety.

Our involvement in this project
Pod-Trak were tasked with the installation of 30 no. bridge foundations, both in situ and precast. The precast foundations ranged from 22 to 35t in weight and could only be installed from one side of the embankment.

Work also included the construction of:

  • Footpaths
  • Drainage
  • Landscaping
  • Grouting
  • Bridge ancillary works

The ancillary works associated with the Bridleway Bridge were completed following the installation of the bridge.

Providing the right solution
Due to the location of the works adjacent to the live loop line each base required a temporary coffer dam installed during possessions. This created programme challenges due to the amount of work required to be carried out during each possession but our experience in completing this helped to ensure it was done safely while not impacting project timings.

2 no. Movax were used, working simultaneously on both sides of the embankment installing sheet piles in order to release midweek works and to ensure all milestones were achieved.

The Project team successfully value engineered the installation of the 28 precast foundations by re-sequencing the lift planning and utilising a 750t crane over three possessions instead of a 500t crane over four possessions.

Amersham Signal Equipment Room

Pod-Trak has completed a variance of projects as part of a scheme to modernise how a major transport provider operates on a daily basis.

For one of these projects, Pod-Trak was required to complete the construction of a Signal Equipment Room (SER) base at Amersham as part of the London Underground/TFL 4 Line Modernisation scheme in North West London.

Pod-Trak undertook the construction of all civils aspects of the project; this included:

  • A temporary piling mat
  • 15 no. CFA piles and pile caps
  • Embankment stairs
  • The installation of a prefabricated steel frame
  • Installation of a walkway
  • Installation of all associated drainage

Pod-Trak also carried out all preparation work for SSE including tree protection, haulage roads and setting up of the site compound.

Challenges and Solutions
Restrictions with space on site and its proximity to the main road adjacent meant that all deliveries had to be scheduled between 7:00am and 8:00am with the SER delivery date being the key programme deliverable driving the completion date.

During the piling works, chalk was discovered at 2m below ground level. As a result the concrete was not achieving its design strength and adaptations were needed in order for this to achieve success.

To alleviate this, casings were used to line the auger but this method added time to an already challenging programme. By carrying out some works concurrently with our team, the delay was avoided.

As a saving to the client and to reduce our environmental impact our Project Engineer proposed to use the excavated material to regrade the embankment.

This was accepted by the client and significantly reduced the number of muck away loads that would have been required.