Blackpool Tramway

18 February 2012

GRCUK has recently been awarded the contract to manufacture and supply over 5000m2 of GRC track infill panels to the £100 million upgrade of the Blackpool tramway system.

Part of the works involve a £25 million contract being carried out by BAM Nuttall to renew track, stops and junctions before the new fleet of trams enters full service in Spring 2012. The supply of the GRC panels forms part of this contract.

The use of GRC panels as track infill is a new concept which has been developed by BAM Nuttall and engineers WS Atkins, working in conjunction with GRCUK over a three month design, development and testing programme. Various sample panels were manufactured for full scale loading and anti-slip tests before the system was approved for use.

Panels will be fitted to bearers manufactured from re-cycled plastic to provide a safety surface at tram stops. The design of the new fleet of Bombardier tramcars features a under run protection system fitted to the front bogie wheels. Any pedestrian falling into the path of an oncoming train will simply be pushed along the GRC safety panels.

Because of the critical distance dimension between the under run bar and the surface the GRC panels have had to be manufactured to critical dimensions. This is being achieved by a unique moulding method developed by GRCUK.

Manufacture and supply will begin in late February and be completed in one month to allow the new trams to commence operations in Spring.

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