15,000 Tonne ‘Rock Armour’ To
Protect Coastal Railway
The UK Network Rail has completed
work to protect part of the
railway on the Cumbrian Coast
line with the installation of a
15,000 tonne ‘rock armour’ sea
Many coastal defences were damaged by the se-
vere storms that battered most of the UK late last
year. This was compounded by severe flooding
effecting many communities by unprecedented
level of rainfall. The combined effect was collapsed
bridges, rail track and roads undermined, often
cutting off entire towns.
Temporary measure were rushed into place and now
more longer term solutions are being scheduled.
Working around the tidal patterns of the Irish Sea be-
came the norm for a small team of Network Rail’s orange
army who have been delivering emergency repairs to
the sea wall since storms battered sea defences protect-
ing the railway over Christmas and the New Year.
The team quickly repaired the breaches in the wall
using cement as a temporary measure. But the need to
get onto the beach to install a permanent layer of ‘rock
armour’ meant taking advantage of low tides was
Some 15,000 tonnes of rock has been transported
onto the beach next to the railway to create a barrier of
protection from the force of the ocean.
John Owen, works delivery manager for Network
“In total we’ve put around 15,000 tonnes of the
rock armour into place which will help protect
the railway for several decades to come.
“The main challenges have been the
weather and access and we had to carefully plan
our work around low tides so we could safely
and effectively install these defences.
“The logistics were also challenging as we
had to move the rock in from quarries, into a
compound and then, during low tide, onto the
beach. The result is a safer and more reliable
railway for the people of Cumbria.”
Network Rail also took the opportunity to work with
the local council to totally clean up the beach to help
return it to its natural beauty, removing everything from
fridges to mattresses.
The work forms part of a multi-million pound scheme
to protect high risk areas of the Cumbrian Coast line
from erosion and protect the railway from future weath-
Contractors World International Vol 7 No 3
Contractors World International