HomeOperationsFreightBridge improvements put in place to ensure biomass freight keeps rolling

Bridge improvements put in place to ensure biomass freight keeps rolling

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Crucial work has been completed on a bridge over a 10-day blockade to ensure biomass can continue to be transported to Drax Power Station.

Network Rail repaired and strengthened the Aire Bridge, North Yorkshire, which serves as a key route for freight trains taking the recycled fuel to Drax in Selby. The £2.1 million project saw teams repairing and strengthening the structure, which caters for 100 services crossing each week.

New track over the refurbished Aire bridge in North Yorkshire.

As part of the project, 100 metres of track was removed, to allow a new waterproofing and drainage system with a reinforced concrete slab to be installed. Then new ballast and sleepers were re-laid.

The aim of the work was to allow water to drain more effectively and reduce any effects weather might have on damaging the bridge in the future.

Matthew Rice, Network Rail.

Route director for Network Rail’s North & East Route, Matt Rice, said: “I’d like to say a huge thank you to local residents and our colleagues at Drax Power Station for their patience and collaboration while we completed these essential repairs.

“By strengthening the bridge, we’re able to reduce the number of delays caused by future maintenance work and therefore deliver an improved service for our freight customers and the communities they serve.”

Aire Bridge is a 65 metres long three-span underbridge carrying the twin-ballasted, non-electrified tracks over the River Aire to the power station, which supplies around 12 per cent of the UK’s renewable electricity.

Drax Group’s head of logistics, Mark Gibbens, said: “Drax Power Station is the UK’s biggest renewable power generator, providing enough green energy for four million homes in the first half of this year.

“Network Rail’s work to strengthen the bridge makes our global sustainable biomass supply chain more resilient, ensuring millions of homes and businesses can rely on the renewable power Drax generates.”

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