Deep Drainage and Pumping Station, Poulton

Electrification Project, Preston to Blackpool
Network Rail Volker Rail NW Electrification
Network Rail


Poulton-le Fylde Station is located on the Blackpool to Preston Lines. Eric Wright Civil Engineering were asked by Volker Rail to deliver the final piece of North West Electrification Project, Phase 3 at Poulton, to provide specialist drainage installation.

The drainage was originally installed by Volker Rail but could not be completed due to poor ground conditions.

Generally, EWCE operate as a Principal Contractor so working as a sub-contractor was unusual for EWCE.  However the principals of maintaining a safe site is at the heart of everything we do and our Rail experience, Network Rail and RISQS accreditations aligned well with the safety culture of Volker Rail and Network Rail.

A collaborative working environment quickly developed between EWCE, Volker Rail and Network Rail with the common aim of completing the missing link in the drainage scheme safely and to programme.

EWCE worked with Volker Rail’s Temporary Works Coordinator to develop designs for submission and approval.

The work included:

  • Installing an attenuation tank and a 4m deep pump station
  • Setting up well dewatering to allow excavation in sand within 3m of the railway without risk on undermining the track bed

The work was completed successfully with no issues or non-conformances with the safe systems of work agreed with Network Rail.

Key Challenges

  • Minimising waste material off site. The only access to the project was from a small residential road. To minimise the impact on local residents and road traffic users, EWCE worked with Volker Rail to agree a methodology and design to reuse as much of the dug material for fill as possible minimising waste off site
  • With poor ground conditions and limited space, it was difficult to segregate the materials acceptable to be used as fill, from those that were unsuitable. This was mitigated by employing experienced Site Foremen who could recognise the acceptable materials and changing ground conditions
  • We were able to plan the works to re-use 60% of the waste soil as fill to drainage and landscape fill whilst meeting the design specification and maintaining level foot access for track patrols

Working adjacent to live electrified railway, all plant had to be restricted so it could not slew towards the overhead lines.

Added Value

The experience of EWCE’s staff in working in the rail environment was vital to the success of the project.  The Site Manager had over 30 years’ experience of rail work and held COSS Competence.  The Project Manager had over 20 years rail experience.

This meant we appreciated the importance of maintaining the safe system of work developed by Volker Rail, ensuring that fencing installed by others was well maintained and regularly checked the slew restrictions

This experience allowed us to develop the work package plans with Volker Rail during the project to resolve issues for the Main Contractor including links to cross track drains and final outfall connections carried out using possessions of the railway and isolation of the OLE.

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