Ilkeston Railway Station
50 years since the Derbyshire town of Ilkeston lost its railway station as part of a nationwide railway restructure, the new Ilkeston station was officially opened in April 2017, on the site of the old Ilkeston Junction. Central to this major public transport infrastructure development was the design, build and installation of the station’s concrete platforms on either side of the busy Midland Main Line track, which had to remain in service during the process.
The 100-metre-long platforms are, between them, made up of 230 precast concrete units weighing a total of 700 tonnes. They were designed by AECOM Infrastructure and Environment UK Ltd, manufactured by Bison Precast and installed by contractors Galliford Try, in a concerted and successful operation on behalf of Network Rail and Derbyshire County Council.
The design of the precast concrete units needed to be as geometrically accurate as possible due to the requirements of the location, most notably the close proximity of the regularly used existing railway track. The units also had to fit accurately and smoothly onto a series of proposed in-situ concrete piles at the site of the previous railway station, buried eight and 13 metres deep in the ground.
In addition, the platforms had to provide several services, including paving, shelters, seating, lighting, ticket machines and access to the car park via ramps and steps, which will be used by hundreds of thousands of passengers annually.
Civil Engineers Arun Kumar Rajan and Phil Pacey of AECOM worked closely on the project. Arun said, “Due to its size and the technical requirements of its location, this was a major piece of work for everyone involved.”
Phil commented, “The liaison between designers, manufacturers and contractors was extremely smooth and professional, and helped progress the work through a number of challenges.”
The units were designed by Bison Precast’s concrete team at Somercotes, overseen by AECOM. They were manufactured between August and September 2016 using standard C45/C55 strength-class concretes. A 12 x 4 metre flat steel table was ordered specifically for the manufacturing process and used as a base for the precast units.
Once completed, the precast concrete units were delivered over a two-week period, in carefully co-ordinated sequence, to Ilkeston 10 miles away. They were stored onsite in the area that would be the railway’s carpark.
Martin Bolton, National Sales Manager for Bison Precast said, “The exacting standards of the design of these units, coupled with the rapid turnaround required, meant this was a challenging project. However, our considerable experience, and our close work with AECOM, ensured the precast concrete units for the new station were engineered to the highest possible standard.”
The installation of the units had to take place around the active Midland Main Line, which is used regularly by passenger and freight trains running between Sheffield and London. Because of this, much of the work took place at night when train services were less frequent and less disruptive.
The units were installed by Galliford Try using excavators because the ground at the site was not suitable for cranes. Positioned behind the platforms, the excavators worked long hours to ensure the units were installed safely and to schedule. Once installed, the concrete units were covered with a layer of Tarmac.
Matt Rippin, Project Manager for Galliford Try, said “The installation of the platforms at Ilkeston’s new railway station went entirely as expected, and we would recommend the chosen supplier, Bison Precast, for this type of large-scale project involving precast concrete units.”
Ilkeston has now lost its title as England’s largest town on a passenger railway line without a railway station, while commutes to Nottingham and other cities in the Midlands and beyond have improved, boosting the local economy.
The station is already proving popular; more than 150,000 passengers are expected to use the new station and its platforms in its first year, rising to a quarter of a million per year over time.