Bridge 341 Replacement, Quorn and Woodhouse Station

120-year-old rail bridge replacement extends service life, maintains historic character and reduces lifetime maintenance.

  • Year: 2020
  • Location: Leicestershire, England
  • Client: Great Central Railway PLC
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Great Central Railway (GCR) is a unique double track heritage railway located in the East Midlands. Bridge 341 is a 120-year-old structure that spans a farm track at Quorn and Woodhouse station. It had corroded to such an extent that GCR had to impose a temporary speed restriction for trains crossing it.
Engineering design and feasibility studies by Cass Hayward concluded that the structure required immediate replacement for GCR to be able to reintroduce train speeds of 25mph for passenger services and speeds of up to 75mph for other specific projects.


Cleveland Bridge was appointed as main contractor for the project, chosen for its ability to provide a complete end-to-end solution for all aspects of the programme, and its proven commitment to collaborative working. The project involved removing and demolishing the existing steel structure and replacing it with a brand-new precast concrete bridge, designed by Cass Hayward. Precast concrete was chosen for the new bridge for its longevity and minimal lifetime maintenance.


The principal challenges for this project were completing all site works within the limited rail possession window, the confined nature of the site and the need to maintain the bridge’s heritage character. To accommodate the works temporary tracks had to be laid as access to the line was only possible through a farmer’s field.
The line could only be closed for two weeks to allow the bridge works to be carried out. During this time, the existing bridge first had to be removed safely and dismantled for scrap. The four precast concrete sections were then delivered onto the temporary platform, and joined to create a single unit. New bearings were installed on the abutments before the concrete bridge was lifted into position.


Cleveland Bridge worked closely with heavy-lifting specialist Mammoet to devise the lifting scheme, which used a self-propelled modular transporter (SPMT) to move the bridge on site. An SPMT was chosen instead of a crane due to the limited space on site, and the extensive groundworks required to create a solid base for a crane. Once the new bridge was in place, Cleveland Bridge applied the waterproofing and drainage, before GCR reinstalled the track, signalling and cabling.
To maintain the character of the historic bridge, the existing lattice parapets were removed and expertly refurbished by Cleveland Bridge, then refitted on the new concrete
walls. In addition, a decorative pattern was incorporated into the concrete walls to enhance the bridge’s appearance.


The entire removal and installation programme was completed on time and on budget. All site works were completed in just eight days, from removal of the old structure to handover of the new bridge. All works were carried out safely within the rail possession window, enabling the line to be handed back to GCR on schedule.

Cleveland Bridge worked collaboratively with us and all project partners to provide full turn-key support. Their performance at every stage confirmed our belief that Cleveland Bridge provides the best guarantee of service excellence and construction quality for this type of project.

Alan Brassey Great Central Railway

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