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Ballast boards cordoning off a power supply cabinet at Earley train station

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Composite ballast boards solve problem at Earley Station

February 22, 2024

Our innovative composite ballast boards were put to good use to protect rail passengers from a power supply cabinet at a train station in Berkshire, England.

The job was part of the Feltham to Wokingham re-signalling project, which has been running since 2021 to upgrade the Feltham Area Signalling Centre and Wokingham Signal Box. This project covers 80 miles of railway and 500 separate pieces of signalling equipment on key areas of the South Western Railway network including Feltham, Hounslow, Shepperton, Twickenham, Windsor & Eton Riverside, and Wokingham. 

Enable Infrastructure were awarded civils works on the project and as such they managed the installation of an ASP (Auxiliary Supply Point) cabinet and surrounding works at Earley Station, near Reading. 

Earley Station presented an issue of touch potential for station users, so Enable Infrastructure Construction Manager, Kevin Brindley, sought a bespoke solution to protect passengers near the cabinet. 

Kevin said: “I have worked with Scott Parnell (CCS’s exclusive UK stockist of our composite ballast boards) on many projects over the years, with my main contact being Ian Allwright. I knew if I discussed our predicament with Ian, Scott Parnell would have a solution to work around our site needs. The issue on this particular site was between Earley ASP, which is a new installation, and the closeness to the back of platform fencing at Earley train station. As the level of the platform and the ASP had a 1.2m difference, a protective wall was needed to stop touch potential from the platform to ASP.” 

During these conversations Ian introduced Kevin to our recent innovation, GRP-manufactured ballast retaining boards. These boards are a versatile alternative to traditional ballast boards because they can be used as a retaining wall and fencing system as well as for traditional ballast retention. Their interlocking design creates a solid wall, which made it a useful product for the situation at Earley.

Ballast boards fitted at Earley stationGRP ballast boards fitted at Earley station

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kevin added: “The idea of using an interlocking GRP retaining board appealed to the site team. The lightweight nature of the GRP meant lifting and fixing the boards into place could be done with minimal risk to the installation team and the non-conductive nature of GRP removed the risk to station users. The fact the boards were kept in stock for quick delivery made the decision to proceed with this solution easy.”

Ian Allwright said: “Scott Parnell have worked in close partnership with Enable Infrastructure for many years. They understand the benefit we bring when introducing innovation into the sector. In doing so, they have improved working practices for their site teams and saved money and/or improved programming on a number of projects. 

“When I introduced the GRP ballast board to them last year, they understood the benefits of reducing manual handling, the efficiency improvements, extended lifespan and reduced maintenance. Kevin came to me with a potential problem and we agreed that these boards met every objective. I would like to thank Kevin and the Enable team for being so receptive to innovation and change.” 

As proved in this case, our lightweight and versatile composite ballast boards can provide a bespoke solution for a variety of rail applications, as well as being used as a reliable and sturdy ballast retention system. To find out more, contact our technical experts at Complete Composite Systems who will be happy to provide information and advice. 

Our exclusive UK stockist of the product, Scott Parnell Rail Team, can be contacted on 0208 805 5797 or email rail@scottparnell.com.

Ballast boards protecting power supply cabinetBallast boards cordoning off a power supply cabinet at a train stationBallast boards protecting rail passengers from power supply cabinet

GRP ballast boards protecting a power supply cabinet