Hever Station Emergency Cutting Works

CK Rail safely completed over 6,500 hours of emergency work to repair and strengthen a railway cutting at Hever station in Kent. Engineers were onsite within two hours of reports a landslip had occurred south of platform 1 at the station on the Uckfield branch of the Oxted line. An initial incident survey and report identified significant ground movement had occurred and there was evidence of slope failure. CK Rail were appointed to complete the essential work to secure the cutting and ensure the railway line could safely remain open.

Excellent collaborative working between CK Rail, client Dyer and Butler, the Works Delivery team at Network Rail and local landowners enabled this emergency project to be completed as efficiently and safely as possible.

CK Rail engineers worked with a local farmer to agree the installation of a 440metre temporary haulage road through farmland to the site and this was created sustainably, using recycled materials. This temporary access enabled plant, machinery and materials to be safely transported to and from site, maximising the overall efficiency of the work carried out. Fencing was also erected to ensure the safe segregation of livestock from the haulage road and worksite.

The cutting was monitored for earth movement throughout the duration of the project. Before the core remedial works could commence a buried services search of the area revealed a UK Power Networks 11kV electricity cable was present along the crest of the slope. Following a site visit between CK Rail engineers and UK Power Networks representatives, protective safety measures were implemented, including relocating the proposed piling location to ensure a safe working distance from the existing services cable.

The core works included clearing and removing a total of 141 tonnes of spoil material from the cutting. Engineers then implemented the agreed engineering design solution which included the installation of a 45-metre king post wall to retain the slope, embedded 12metres below ground level to secure the cutting. A piling platform was created using 75 piles driven into the ground, installed at the crest of the slope and a retaining wall was constructed at the toe of the cutting with 88 gabion baskets erected and filled with 1,605 tonnes of gabion stone. The slope was also regraded to provide further resilience.

On completion of this vital work, demobilisation of the site commenced, including comprehensive remedial work to reinstate the surrounding area. Engineers installed 50metres of new fencing and planted two oak trees and 18 silver birch trees. CK Rail were delighted to have safely and successfully completed these emergency earthworks, ensuring a safer, more reliable and sustainable rail network.

Wivelsfield Emergency Embankment Works

CK Rail successfully completed emergency embankment work on the Brighton Main Line following a landslip at Wivelsfield, East Sussex. This section of railway track was being closely monitored by Network Rail after England recorded its fifth wettest autumn on record, with seven months’ worth of rain falling between October and December 2019. CK Rail reacted swiftly to the emergency response remit received from Dyer and Butler, commencing on Boxing Day 2019 and working around the clock in all weathers, to keep this major railway link into London running safely. To minimise disruption to passengers and safely deliver these emergency works, rail services continued to operate throughout, under a temporary speed restriction.

The preparatory work included a feasibility and concepts study, a topographical survey including ground investigations and the preparation of an engineering design solution. A preliminary ecological appraisal of the natural wildlife and habitat in the area was undertaken by an ecologist before the construction work commenced, beginning with extensive vegetation clearance along the embankment.

Simultaneously, CK Rail installed a 600-metre temporary haulage road and site compound, working closely with a local landowner to agree temporary access across their land. This haulage road was essential, allowing plant, machinery and materials to be safely delivered to and from site, over heavily waterlogged ground and ensuring this emergency work could be completed off-track so that rail services along the Main Line could continue to run. Collaborative working with key stakeholders to aid the emergency response time on this project was key. CK Rail worked closely with the local authority, to temporarily close Leylands Road for two weeks over the festive period and facilitate exclusive access to and from the emergency worksite.

CK Rail engineers worked day and night to complete these essential earthworks as efficiently as possible. At the toe of the embankment one hundred 12 metre long sheet piles were driven into the ground to form a wall of steel and stabilise the embankment. The slope was then regraded to a modern compliant grade, with the slope to the rear of the piling stepped, impacted and filled and rail side the embankment was layer filled and soiled over. Approximately 9000 tonnes of material were installed in total, to strengthen the embankment and future-proof the infrastructure.

Throughout this project CK Rail also undertook monitoring of the track and completed stabilisation works with a total of 39,000 tonnes of ballast used. After two weeks delivering the core elements of the emergency works, Leylands Road was reopened to motorists using temporary controlled traffic lights. This helped to minimise the impact on the local residents in the area returning to work at the end of the festive break.

Image credit Network Rail

Following confirmation that the track was permanently stabilised and no further movement was observed, the worksite was demobilised and CK Rail completed thorough remedial works. Full restoration of all the affected surrounding area included public footpaths repairs, re-seeding grass, planting trees, installing new fencing, alongside the complete removal of the temporary traffic light system.

After 21 days of the railway remaining open under a temporary speed restriction, the Brighton Main Line was fully reinstated to full line speed. CK Rail is proud to have delivered these essential emergency works safely, recording 3708 hours worked with no accidents or incidents reported.

Edenbridge Emergency Embankment Works

Collaborative working was key to the success of emergency earthworks completed by CK Rail along the railway line in Kent. Following a 30metre landslip on a section of the railway embankment between Edenbridge Town and Hurst Green stations, CK Rail were tasked with carrying out this essential work to safeguard the railway. A spell of extreme weather had led to a series of infrastructure failures and temporary line closures along this stretch of rail on the Oxted line, so it was key that the emergency repairs were completed with minimal disruption to rail services and passengers.

Site inspections revealed a rotational failure, with cracking identified at the crest, a dropped cess and toe bulge. Track and slope monitoring were installed, and topographic and ecological surveys completed, before the de-vegetation work was carried out.

CK Rail worked closely with the local authority and landowners to deliver this emergency project. Temporary traffic management systems were implemented on the highway and a 500metre temporary haulage road was installed, establishing a safe access off-track for engineers, plant and materials, to and from the site. This essential preparatory work enabled CK Rail to complete all the vital slope regrading and strengthening of the six-metre high embankment as efficiently as possible, whilst rail services continued to run safely under a temporary speed restriction.

Working collaboratively with the Network Rail Southern Region Capital & Works Delivery teams, CK Rail were also able to safely accelerate the preparation and delivery of a permanent design solution, within weeks of the earthwork failure being reported.

CK Rail engineers worked in all-weather to install 81 sheet piles, forming the retaining wall along the crest of the embankment and a King Post retaining wall at the toe sequentially. The embankment was also regraded to ensure its future resilience, with a total of over 5,500 tonnes of new materials installed.

The worksite was located adjacent to a cemetery and CK Rail engineers ensured they carried out all this work as considerately as possible, standing down on site when visitors to the cemetery were in attendance.

Following completion of all the reinforcement work to the railway embankment, demobilisation of the site commenced. This work included removal of the temporary haulage road and full reinstatement of all affected land in the surrounding area. Establishing and maintaining positive relationships with lineside neighbours is extremely important to CK Rail so we were delighted to receive praise from a local landowner regarding the quality of our work and the positive worker behaviour of our engineers. This work was also carried out as sustainably as possible with materials, including those used to build the temporary haulage road, recycled and over 100 trees and bushes replanted in the area.

You can view our time-lapse film of the emergency work completed at Edenbridge here: