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Woodlands Walkway

Woodlands Walkway

New client Scottish Woodlands has just completed the installation of a 150m raised GRP walkway using Step on Safety’s new TrackSafe TS-150 System. The walkway provides a safe, non-slip route for engineers to reach the signal box at Keith Railway Station in Moray, Scotland.

Keith Station

Keith railway station, originally owned by the Highland Railway, was known as Keith Junction, the line from the west having opened by the Inverness and Aberdeen Junction Railway in 1858 and becoming part of the Highland Railway in 1865. It was the point where the line from Inverness made an end-on junction with the Great North of Scotland Railway from Aberdeen (which opened in 1856) to enable exchange of goods and passengers. As built, it was located in the vee of the routes to Inverness and to Dufftown (which diverges to the southwest here) and had four platforms – one through one for each route, plus two east facing bays for GNSR services. It was taken over by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway at the 1923 Grouping and then became part of the Scottish Region of British Railways upon nationalisation in 1948.

A picture of Keith Junction signal box taken by Ewan Crawford, RailScot
Photo Credit Ewan Crawford

Today only a single platform remains in full-time use. The bays have been filled in and the tracks were lifted in the early 1970s after the closure of the Moray Coast Line (for which the station was a terminus). Keith signal box (which retains the name Keith Junction) remains at the eastern end to control a passing loop on the single track main line beyond the station, a now little-used goods yard and the stub of the Dufftown branch. The box is a little shabby but still very much in use – safe access, whatever the weather, is vital.

GRP Walkway

The trail leading down to the signal box was uneven, prone to flooding and required engineers to cross the railway tracks and navigate the cables that link the line to the box.

Step on Safety’s TrackSafe TS-150 System uses GRP channel profiles to create a framework and – if required – legs to support 38mm QuartzGrip Open Mesh Grating. The legs were embedded into foundations to stand firm no matter what the weather. GRP is impervious to water so was the perfect choice for such a location. Continuous GRP Handrail, a set of GRP steps and a ramped start point complete the installation.

The GRP walkway sections were built by the fabricators in the SoS headquarters and, after quality checking, were dismantled and supplied in kit form, with each part clearly labelled and detailed CAD drawings supplied to enable the team at Scottish Woodlands to put it back together on the site. GRP is much lighter than steel; each part was light enough to be carried to where it was needed by one or two men – just as well given the access challenges the walkway was designed to address. All the fixings were provided along with a box of spares (for the ones that disappear in the undergrowth) and kick plate jigs to ensure the spacing was kept consistent.

As with all Step on Safety fabrications the finished walkway has a Safe Working Load (SWL) of 5kN/m2 which meets Network Rail requirements.

New to GRP

Scottish Woodlands is well-established within the Rail industry as a provider of railway access point construction, fencing , vegetation control, dangerous tree removal and level crossing maintenance. They provide a one-stop service for vegetation management including site survey, GIS mapping, management proposals, and period contracts for re-visiting sites and carrying out herbicide spraying and inspection services. With a dedicated fleet of specialist machinery designed for railway work with an Excarailer, Unimog’s with mounted chippers and a range of other forest machinery for specialist operations they are used to the challenges railway work presents. They are however, relatively new to working with GRP.

I was really impressed with the quality of the product and the ease in which in went together on site. We’ve not had the opportunity to work with GRP much but this location needed something that would cope with being water-logged. The installation went really smoothly, with easy-to-follow instructions.

Stuart Bell, Fencing Manager

TrackSafe Systems

TS-150 is one of four new GRP walkway systems that, while designed to suit each location, follow a set of standard features. You can find out more here.



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