VolkerLaser completes works on the Great Central Railway Bridges

VolkerLaser has completed major works on the Great Central Railway (GCR) Bridges 340 and 343.


A four-week rail possession to replace Bridges 340 and 343 in Loughborough began in February, following site setup and a handover period from client GCR. The structures were in poor condition and needed to be removed due to significant section loss and corrosion, with both structures being subject to a speed restriction.

The two existing bridges were prepared for removal by GCR, with them uninstalling signalling cables, ballast, and track. Specialist demolition contractors cut both bridge decks into sections using burning equipment, in preparation for the bridges to be lifted out using a GCR rail crane, and road rail vehicles (RRV’s) working in tandem.


Once the bridges had been removed, the condition of abutments was surveyed, and the bearing core hole locations marked. The core holes were drilled, and the cores removed, ready to install the new bearings. A VolkerLaser team then set the bearings into position, ready to accept the bridges.

VolkerRail successfully installed the new bridge precast concrete decks and edge beams with the use of a Kirow crane in a joint team operation between VolkerLaser, a 130-ton mobile crane contractor and GCR’s rail wagons. Following the successful installation of the precast units, the team completed further works to the bridge deck by installing the bridging joint plate, and filling sections with concrete to form the bridge deck.

VolkerLaser then applied a Wolfin waterproofing system, followed by a double layer of protection boards to the deck and drainage system to the excavations which was then backfilled by GCR, before finally reinstalling the ballast and track.

Throughout the works, the team worked collaboratively to carry out the renewals to both bridges simultaneously.

Watch the timelapse here: Loughborough Bridge Lift 0323 V2 - YouTube