Waterloo Network Rail Interface Works

Pod-Trak were engaged by ISG (and then Designer Group) to manage the rail interface for all retail development works at Waterloo Station. The scope was to manage and complete any works that encroach within the rail environment- platforms, rail access areas and track works related to the multi-million pound retail development being managed by LCR.

In late 2019 – Pod-Trak were approached by ISG to look at works within the multi- million pound retail development at Waterloo station. ISG and Designer Group both have extensive experience in the retail development works but limited experience of the Network Rail environment.

Pod-Trak were engaged to manage and deliver all works that affected rail systems, access and affected track or platform environments- we were engaged to act as the rail PC in all elements affecting rail for the project. This included providing full rail compliant designs for scaffolding, hoarding, flue and chiller installation works- providing CRE cover for the entire project.

The projects had some complex works on platform 11 and 12 and 19 to install new flues to the full height of waterloo station (platform 11 and 12) and install new chillers for the underground retail
development on platform 19. Pod-Trak undertook the full rail design process and management for all works including temporary works, hoarding, scaffold and provided plant support for on-track works.

Our management team undertook to deal with Network Rail, possession management, interface with the station maintainers and Asset Protection (ASPRO). The project has significant challenges due to the vast number of stakeholders- a detailed design and access plan for all works was produced and Pod-Trak managed all the stakeholders.

Part of the access plans were detailed ped flow surveys to mitigate issues with pedestrian access and restrictions with Covid-19. Pod-Trak also arranged specialist crane deliveries of all the bespoke plant – installing chillers and flues and are due to carry out complex works on the station canopy glass roof to facilitate access for the flue install and large crane supply for the installation and removal of chillers.

Felixstowe – Installation and signalling commissioning

Pod-Trak was contracted to support VolkerFitzpatrick as the responsible contractor for the Permanent Way and signalling Works on the project at Felixstowe.

This rail project was part of a wider project which is enhancing the lines around the Port of Felixstowe to improve capacity for freight in and around the area. We had to design and complete a signalling solution for Felixstowe while reducing any impact on the Port of Felixstowe operations.

Considering this project ran for 18 months, Pod-Trak had to work collaboratively with VolkerFitzpatrick in order to ensure the works ran smoothly. It involved drawing in experience from a number of our teams, including permanent way and signalling teams.

What was involved

The initial phase of the works included:

  • The installation of 1.8km of new line
  • The creation of a new embankment for the new line
  • The installation of two EVS Crossovers
  • The installation of an EVS Turnout

Over this period, the main works were completed over a series of 44 27-hour possessions. The team worked tirelessly to ensure each possession was handed back on time – reducing any impact on port operations and ensuring that VolkerFitzpatrick could complete any other works.

The final phase of the project involved the signalling commissioning. This signalling scheme was the largest ever to be attempted by VolkerRail, the client’s signalling team. The Pod-Trak team was required to complete the installation of Insulated Rail Joints (IRJs) during the final possession to allow the new signalling system to be commissioned.

This wasn’t a simple task, it involved the installation of 44 new IRJs at 23 different locations over a 17-mile site.

The IRJs required welding and stressing in order for the work to be handed over. The team completed this on time, with no incidents or accidents.

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

West Anglia Main Line (WAML) – Electrification

As part of Network Rail’s £170 million Lee Valley Rail programme, disused land was used to reinstate a third track between Lea Bridge and the new Meridian Water station.

Naturally, a lot of our work has a large impact in helping communities to access better transport. In this project, our work ensured that there was increased capacity on the line which reduces congestion for passengers and freight. In turn, this allows regeneration projects in the Upper Lea Valley area to run smoothly and, in turn, attract more people to live there.

As part of this upgrade, the team was required to upgrade 6km of new track which will allow an extra two trains per hour (peak) to run between Stratford and the new Meridian Water station. Managed by Greater Anglia, which boasts a fleet of bi-modal trains running on both diesel and electric, Overhead Line Equipment (OLE) was an important part of this project.

Electrifying the route
The OLE scope of works included:

  • The installation of 150 Circular Hollow Section (CHS) piles and 5 gravity foundations
  • The erection of140 Main Steel structuresm which consisted of Single Track Cantilevers (STCs), Twin Track Cantilevers (TTCs) and Portals.
  • The Small Part Steelwork (SPS) and support components are a mix with OLEMI from Lea Bridge to Coppermill and Series 2 thereafter to Meridian Water.

    The conductors are 19/2.1 Bronze 2 and 107 Copper for the main line and 19/3.25 Aluminium for all Return Conductors and Aerial Earths. The scope also included the installation of four Neutral Sections, two Booster Transformers, five Switches, bonding and the installation of 9 new HV cables and commissioning.

    Much of the piling was completed off track using a Haul Road with all other tasks being completed using the new Lea Valley Reverse (LVR) and two existing lines.

    As well as the LVR, there were various adjustments to make on the existing lines to enable structure removals for the LVR Permanent Way gauge and regeneration at the existing stations of Tottenham Hale and Northumberland Park, as well as a new station at Meridian Water.

    Works were completed and successfully handed over in late February 2019.

Hitachi Depot Maintenance

To support their Intercity Express Programme, Hitachi Rail Europe constructed new depots at Doncaster and Stoke Gifford in Bristol along with significant upgrade and rebuilding at the North Pole Depot in West London.

Our work helps Hitachi Rail Europe to continue with their rolling stock programme – which has grown to the point where their depots have been at full capacity in the UK.

Pod-Trak carries out a low-level inspection of the Overhead Line Equipment (OLE) on a quarterly basis with a high-level maintenance inspection carried out annually.

A low-level inspection includes a visual inspection from the ground of the entire OLE system across each depot. This consists of checking for any possible damage, switch and section insulator setup, switching feeds, bonding and Designated Earth Points (DEPs).

The annual high-level inspection includes:

  • Maintenance of switches
  • Cleaning section insulators
  • Bond continuity testing
  • Wire wear checks
  • Full height and stagger survey

A 10% intrusive inspection is carried out to check and validate the security of fixings by applying a mechanical torque check in line with design specifications.

Doncaster and Stoke Gifford consist of a Mark 3B Trolley Wire System while North Pole is a Mark 3B Catenary System.

All data from routine inspections and any follow up activities is captured and analysed for trends which is used to inform future maintenance inspections. All the data is captured in a report which is issued to Hitachi Rail Europe following each inspection. It is through this that we maintain regular communications with the client to ensure they are aware of the data.

Emergency cover – we’re available at all times

Along with the planned maintenance, Pod-Trak provides 24/7 emergency cover to react to incidents involving the OLE at each depot. This service involves making the area safe as a priority and working with Hitachi depot staff to ensure the depot can return to normal operational capacity as soon as possible.

Our knowledge in this area ensures that we can help the depots to return to normal quickly and efficiently.

West Anglia Mainline (WAML)

Project Overview
The West Anglia Mainline (WAML) works involved the construction of a new line between Lea Bridge and the new Meridian Water station to feed a significant new housing development. This work upgraded the existing twin rail to a three line railway.

Our Role
Pod-Trak delivered the multidisciplinary scope of Earthworks, Civils, Permanent Way & OLE. All works were managed and self-delivered by Pod-Trak using our own staff and plant fleet.

Scope of Works
The Permanent Way scope comprised of:

  • 6km of new ballast and track.
  • New S&C Layouts at Lea Bridge and at Meridian Water
  • Slab Trak at tight clearance overbridges
  • Cable Management Sleepers
  • Buffers, RRAPs & Lubricators
  • Guard Rails

The OLE scope for the installation comprised of:

  • Pile and Concrete Foundations
  • Main Steel and SPS
  • Wiring, Registration and Panning
  • Neutral Sections, Section Insulators and Switching
  • Traction Return Bonding
  • HV Cables and MPTSC/FS upgrades
  • Installation of Booster Transformers
  • Section Proving and Commissioning

The Civil Engineering scope comprised of:

  • Reduced Level dig and installation of 6 km’s of a Primary type 1 formation.
  • Removal and reinstatement of soft spots providing CBR, DIN and materials testing at 50 meter intervals.
  • Installation of perforated and carrier track drainage systems and deep surface water drainage systems.
  • Construction of a 330m reinforced earthwork noise attenuation bund
  • Civils & Structures (Bridges 666, 1391 & 1393)
  • 1 Drainage and 5 Utility UTX’s.
  • Culvert strengthening & scour protection works
  • 750 meters of Elevated and Concrete trough works
  • Site Wide Landscaping.
  • Bridge foundation pile cropping to 1100mm CFA piles
  • Bridge sub structure excavation & reinforced concrete works
  • Crane & piling mat construction and removal
  • New deck installation complete with bearings.
  • FRC works to bridge decks.
  • Bridge deck drainage.

Delivering Expertise
The scope included the installation of a new third line required to service the new station at Meridian water, the new line was 5445m in length and was planned to be installed during weekend possessions utilising a Kirow crane to lift in panels end on end. This methodology facilitated an output of 90 panels (circa 1 track mile) per weekend and was successfully implemented for approximately ½ the route up to Tottenham Hale Station.

Immediately south of Tottenham Hale station overbridge 1395 is situated, this bridge had exceptionally tight structure gauge clearances and a previously uncharted watermain  identified during the construction phase. To allow the rail (and its imparted loads) to cross the watermain a new subterranean bridge had to be designed, approved (both Network Rail & Thames Water), and constructed before the track could be laid through the bridge. In effect the new constraint of the watermain and bridge 1395 prevented rail access to the northern ½ of the route, as such our planned construction methodology could not be adopted between Tottenham Hale & Meridian Water.

Pod-Trak were tasked with developing a methodology to lay bottom ballast, sleepers, rail & rail components, top ballast and tamp the rail locked corridor where two access points were available, one at Tottenham Hale and one at Northumberland Park. Due to the significant tonnage of material that had to be imported onto site it was quickly identified that a third access was required, as such a new RRAP was installed at Meridian Water such that it was possible to end feed from the site extremities and also feed from the central access at Northumberland Park. With access defined the following methodologies were deployed to deliver and install the track materials –

Bottom Ballast
Road hauled ballast stock piles created at the three RRAP locations. Ballast loaded from stockpiles into 10T Hydrema dumpers dropping bottom stone from the access to the midpoints between accesses. Bottom stone was loaded out in this way to prevent dumper traffic damage to the track formation.

Bottom Ballast Grading
Grading works was completed in a conventional way utilising a 3D laser dozer and triple wackers.

Sleeper Installation

To eliminate damage to the bottom ballast line and level, sleepers and slave rails were installed end on from rail. Starting from the access points sleepers laid and fine lined, and 60’ rails distributed and installed using McCulloch’s. Sleepers and rails were progressively installed creating a rail access from the new RRAP access points.

Top Ballast
With access now available over the new track top ballast was loaded from the ballast stockpiles into rail mounted dumpers which with their front and side tipping modes, distributed the top stone into the 4’ and cess. With the top stone dropped it was then graded in a conventional manner with RRV and profile bucket.


With the rail access still not available through the mainline at bridge 1395 it was not possible to access a mainline tamper. With this a beaver tamper (lorry loaded) was accessed at Meridian Water which facilitated high quality track consolidation and alignment.

The above access and methodology allowed parallel construction on four work fronts, with each work front progressing towards each other to the centre points of the site. This allowed for all rail systems work to be completed at the same time as the availability of bridge 1395 where a new slab track section was constructed to join the two halves of the railway. With the railway now continuous to the mainline continuously welded rails were dropped by train and the slave rails replaced to allow the commissioning and entry into service on time and on programme.

Before commencement of foundation works, Pod-Trak conducted trial holes at every location and UXO probed where required. A percentage of the piling works were installed off track utilising a tracked machine and some on track using an RRV. At certain locations, we liaised with the designer to assist with solutions for bespoke concrete foundations where piles could not achieve the required depth, which were installed by Pod-Trak once temporary works and updated WPP had been established and implemented.

Due to numerous issues with the pile locations, the Main Steel was not ordered until RECOS’s had been confirmed, which assisted the project commercially and avoided programme constraints. Some of the new Main Steel had to interconnect with the existing structure within the Station areas, which had to be staged to reduce the disruption to the train timetables.

Installation of the SPS and supports were completed as the Main Steel was erected, with Cantilevers secured to avoid damage and risk of injury. The Cantilever supports would only be released once the conductors were being installed and secured across to existing OLE to avoid erratic movement. The Catenary and Contact for all wire runs were installed in possessions, as the risk was too high with live adjacent lines to run with ALO. Once installed, construction earths were applied, with a register being maintained until completion.

The aerial earth wire and return conductor installation were undertaken midweek under ALO due to the conductors being run with minimal tension, located on the CESS side of the new structures. Pod-trak deployed additional wire watchers with back-to-back radios to ensure the conductors did not snag. Upon completion of installation of the conductors, the team completed registration during midweek days under ALO, with the exception of a few locations being in close proximity to the existing live OLE. These locations were placed on our register for possession works only and labelled on site to ensure a clear demarcation was in place.

The Stage 1 works to re-configure Coppermill MPTSC was complex due to the different lines it fed and the distance to carry the new HV feeds. New portal structures were installed to carry the existing OLE. Once installed the existing structures were removed along with all the cross track and along track feeds from Coppermill TSC. Pod-Trak held meetings with Romford ECRO and Network Rail Distribution to arrange the feed diversions to allow Coppermill TSC to be isolated for a number of weeks. In total Pod-Trak installed 9 new 25Kv HV cables (Circa 1000M) in elevated troughing and through 2 UTX’s. The traction return bonding throughout the project was staged with temporary bonds applied to numerous items for other disciplines and our own temporary bonds to the Lea Valley
Reverse (LVR) line to maintain continuity. A bonding register was compiled and maintained throughout and was integrated with the final bonding plan to ensure all details was captured including Civils, Signalling, M&E and OLE. The main bonding was prepared in advance of the final signalling stage and all connected over a single commissioning weekend.

Once the tie in at Lea Bridge was installed, Pod-Trak delivered the section proving of the LVR, which included numerous switch operations over the 6.5km new line. The section proving document went through various checks before being authorized, with numerous visits to Romford ROC to discuss with the ECRO.

Several walkouts were attended prior to energisation with the Network Rail team and the Maintainer to ensure any outstanding works and/or snags were captured to avoid
repeated site attendance.

For the handback, we split Stage 3 into A & B to enable a faster return of handback documents, which included;

  • Quality check sheets for each task on every structure
  • Red line drawings (cross sections, allocation sheets and layouts)
  • All the material compliance records.

Once submitted and accepted, the agreed ITP was finalised. The new equipment installed was Series 2, which was a first in the area for the maintainer. We procured the appropriate spares for the team and held a training day with their staff to explain the main differences.

Health, Safety & Welfare
We were actively involved with ‘What Good Looks Like’, which was delivered every Friday on the project for all to attend, to listen to how each discipline was performing. The main purpose of this, was to highlight any errors from Close Calls and how this was rectified to make good.

Metrolink Maintenance

The Manchester Metrolink consists of Phases 1 & 2 which were built in the 1990’s and the more recent Phase 3 constructed between 2010 and 2017.

Pod-Trak carry out all the high-level maintenance inspections of the OLE across the entire network between April and October each year.

The OLE system is made up of both catenary and trolley wire systems, which is routed in both street running and segregated railway. Routine maintenance activities are detailed within route specific maintenance manuals at intervals of 6, 12, 24 and 60 months. Typical mechanical checks include height & stagger measurements, contact wire wear, droppers, section insulators, switching, fastener security and torque checks. Electrical checks include insulator resistance and bond continuity.

All data from routine inspections and follow up activities is captured and analysed for trends which informs future maintenance inspections. The data is captured in a report which is issued following each inspection on each line.

Along with the planned maintenance Pod-Trak provide 24/7 emergency cover to react to incidents involving the OLE across the entire network. This service involves making the area safe as a priority and working with the operator to ensure service can be resumed as quickly as possible.

Bromsgrove Electrification project

Pod-Trak worked as a key sub-contractor on the Bromsgrove Electrification Scheme, installing approximately 4.5 miles of new twin track electrification from the existing overhead line system at Barnt Green to the new relocated station at Bromsgrove.

Pod-Trak was heavily involved in the overall scope delivering the 25kV booster less classic system electrification scheme, constructed predominately from NR Series 2 equipment range & UK1 where it was necessary to tie into the existing OLE system at Barnt Green. The OLE tie-in was completed under a high profile yet successful methodology which saw Pod-Trak working effectively with limited time available.

The project included the installation of 27 ½ half tension lengths and 4 full tension length, 6km of traction return cabling, 150 OLE structures & 245 registration points over approximately 15 single track kilometres between the newly installed substation & switching configuration at Barnt Green Station and Bromsgrove Station on the Up & Down Gloucester Lines (ELR – BAG2).

This task included electrification of the Lickey Incline, the largest incline in Britain with an average 1:37 gradient for approximately 2 miles. Through careful planning and a strict enforcement of safety policies, zero accidents or incidents occurred throughout the 14-month project.

Anglia Structures (OLE)

Network Rail identified a number of Overhead Line Equipment (OLE) structures throughout the Anglia region with varying degrees of lean, and as such all needed to be renewed to reduce the risk of OLE failure.

Pod-Trak’s extensive experience in OLE works meant that it was the contractor of choice to ensure that these structures remained reliable through improvements in longevity and a reduction in wear and tear.

The lean is caused by several factors including poor ground conditions, inadequate foundations, steelwork damage and life expired equipment. The scope of works on this phase of the project was the replacement of 24 existing structures with new single cantilever arrangements.

The works involved the installation of:

  • New OLE pile foundations
  • New structures
  • New cantilevers
  • New droppers
  • New midpoint anchors
  • New registration

It also included the installation and alteration to Return Conductor wires and removal of the redundant structures.

All works were carried out over a series of weekend possessions carried out as follows:

  • Install 610mm piles
  • Install main steel & bonding (both temporary and permanent bonding)
  • Install Small Part Steel (SPS)
  • Transfer of OLE and new registration
  • Install / move return conductor wire to new Design
  • Removal of redundant steel

Post works all associated hand back material was submitted supporting the installation including:

  • Quality Check Sheets
  • Redline drawings
  • Height and stagger surveys

Crossrail Western Outer Electrification

The Crossrail Western Outer OLE Project provided Electrification of the outer Crossrail route between Stockley Junction to West of Maidenhead station. The Project included electrification of the Main lines, Relief lines, Crossovers, Loops, Sidings and Turn-backs.

Pod-Trak provided Construction Management, Engineering, OLEC teams, OTP and POS to assist Balfour Beatty with the works. The overall scheme consisted of the detailed design, construction, test and commission of a Series 1 Furrer & Frey system.

To assist with the daily planning and delivery of the project, Pod-Trak provided Construction Management and Engineering to manage OLE teams, work site integration, material management and assurance/handback documentation.

The site teams working alongside Balfour Beatty teams and other suppliers, installed main steel, SPS, wiring and final registration.

With adjacent lines open to traffic all plant had to be ALO compliant. This was managed nightly by Pod-Trak POS Representatives working closely with the Balfour Beatty ALO coordinators.