Abnormal load - video shows railway bridges driving through Leamington: Drone shot Rugby Road bridge renewal

Tuesday 19 Apr 2022

Abnormal load - video shows railway bridges driving through Leamington

Region & Route:
North West & Central
| North West & Central: Central

Impressive time-lapse and drone video has been released showing railway bridges driving through the streets of Leamington Spa over Easter.

Network Rail worked over the four-day bank holiday to carry out a complex £2.4m bridge replacement project at Rugby Road.

Multi-angle drone and time-lapse footage has been released today (Tuesday 19 April) as train services resumed following a four-day railway closure.

The videos show the former Milverton station bridge being removed and driven down the A445.

Then its 60-tonne replacement is slowly manoeuvred into place on the back of a huge vehicle known as a SPMT (self-propelled modular transporter).

As soon as the last train passed late on Thursday 14 April, a swarm of engineers worked flat out to take out the railway lines, remove the old bridge, drive the new one into place then reinstate new tracks all in time for trains to run as normal again this morning.

Now the new bridge is in position trains will be able to run over at full speed – the condition of the previous 118-year-old structure meant services could only run over it at 20mph.

This will improve journeys between Nuneaton and Leamington Spa bringing faster, more reliable journeys for passengers in time for Commonwealth Games events this summer.

Hundreds of onlookers turned out across the weekend to watch the unique sight of both bridges being driven through the streets.

Paul Randall, scheme project manager for Network Rail, said: “I’m hugely proud of the team who gave up their Easter bank holiday to carry out this major work to improve railway journeys through Leamington Spa.

“Driving bridges down residential streets is no mean feat and our meticulous planning over many months meant that everything went well in time for trains to run again this morning. I’d like to thank local people for their patience and understanding while we worked day and night to replace Rugby Road railway bridge and for the work we’ve still got to do to finish the job.”

While the most challenging part of the project is now over, engineers will continue to complete work over the coming weeks.

This includes building up the walls by the side of the new bridge on the railway embankment - this will bring some single lane closures of the A445.

Some overnight work to the railway foundation stones which can only be done when trains aren’t running will also take place.

The old bridge will be dismantled at the nearby Potterton Sports Fields which has been used as a site compound for the work, before that itself is removed and the green space reinstated for local people.

Notes to Editors

The upgrade involved:

  • The removal of the old bridge, weighing 372 tonnes
  • Installation of the new 60-tonne bridge
  • 800 tonnes of railway foundation stone (ballast) being laid on the new bridge
  • Tracks being reinstated over the new stone so trains could resume running

About the old bridge

  • The bridge was originally constructed around 1844 in stone and a cast-iron deck
  • It was built to support two tracks and a platform for the northbound line to the now-closed Milverton station.
  • In 1904, the deck was replaced with the current construction and another southbound platform was built.
  • The station closed in 1965 and the northbound platform was removed.

About the new bridge

  • The new bridge is a reinforced concrete ‘trough type’ construction, supported on precast reinforced concrete cills.
  • The deck carries both tracks and incorporate worker walkways.
  • The new deck provides a minimum clear height of 4.7m.

Contact information

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03457 11 41 41

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Network Rail press office - North West & Central Region
07740 782954

About Network Rail

We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

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