“With more people travelling by rail than ever before, the UK’s rail network, stations and platforms have undergone several modernisation schemes in recent years to make routes faster with more frequent and more reliable services for passengers,” Kim explains to readers. “I have seen this major improvement work first hand on the Great Western route run by Network Rail.”
Kim is currently working on the Oxford corridor, which connects London Paddington to Reading and Banbury. The team is aiming to improve the infrastructure along the route by making upgrades to Oxford station, upgrading depots and sidings, and renewing nine miles of track. RSK is supporting the project to ensure that the environment around the railway is preserved during the development work.
Brand new track at Oxford Station
“RSK has been an environmental one-stop shop providing a plethora of in-house expertise,” says Kim in the article. “This support has covered everything from communication services, corporate strategy and sustainability, ecological and laboratory services to impact assessment and planning, landscape design and master planning. Other services include site investigation and remediation, environment, health and safety compliance, and industrial permitting, specialist environmental services and engineering, geology and geotechnics, all from a vast in-house team.”
Kim goes on to explain the ecological work carried out by RSK, such as ecological surveys for many different species along the route and the successful summer blockade held in Oxford in July, a 23-day track possession in and out of Oxford station.
“The RSK team supported Network Rail by helping to minimise the disturbance to the public and wildlife during this time,” Kim explains. “The orange army of more than 150 colleagues worked 24/7 to complete £12 million worth of improvement work within the allocated track closure time. Keeping the work on schedule was essential.” RSK assisted Network Rail with environmentally friendly technology, such as hydrogen tower lights instead of those powered by a conventional diesel generator as well as dust vacuums and sheeting for ballast drops to minimise the effects on air quality.
Project teams worked 24/7 during the blockade
With the summer blockade now over, Kim is looking forward to the future relationship between RSK and Network Rail, which has blossomed throughout the Phase One work at Oxford.
“With the upcoming CP6, Network Rail hopes to continue with the second and third phases of work at Oxford, which will involve building another platform at the station to ease passenger congestion and completing bridge demolition. RSK hopes to remain on board to assist with the environmental measures as the project progresses.”
You can read Kim’s article in full in the digital version of the magazine, pp.83–87.