Bridge Move At Reading Station

4 October 2012

The final stage of work on a new transfer deck at Reading Station is now underway, after what is believed to have been Great Western rail region’s first jacking into position of such a structure over a live railway.

The transfer deck, part of Network Rail’s £80million upgrade of the busy Berkshire station, will replace the existing passenger bridge across the tracks, providing considerably enhanced capacity and escalators down to the platforms.

The second section of the bridge was constructed beside the station then moved into position over five nights in the period between the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The first section was launched before the Olympics got underway.

Leading the team of around 30 personnel behind the bridge slide was Site Agent, Dave Forbes, who revealed that it took two nights to slide the second bridge section 18 metres over the tracks…then a further three nights to lower it just 100mm into its final position.

The 1100-tonne section was lowered 25mm at a time in a series of steps to ensure it fitted exactly onto its bearings.

“A lot of surveying was necessary, together with a lot of work to get the bearings into the right position and get the section exactly level,” he said.

“There were no real problems during the slide. This was a Great Western ‘first’ in that it was carried out  over an operational railway and wasn’t done in possession [when rail services are suspended]. This demonstrated both Network Rail and First Great Western’s confidence in the team after the earlier bridge slide,” commented Dave.

Stage three of the deck is now being built in situ, between the two sections. “From a structural point of view, we’re working towards completion at the end of October,” said Dave. “For fit-out and completion, we’re looking at early February 2013, with the bridge commissioned and open to the public by late March.”