Amco Rail was chosen by Network Rail to carry out the refurbishment of Hawarden Railway Bridge which spans the River Dee near Shotton in Flintshire, Wales.

The bridge was built by the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway Company and was opened in 1889. Spans 1-7 of the bridge are constructed of brick and masonry and required no painting. The remaining spans 8-11 are steel structures approximately 167 metres in length and incorporating a swing bridge which used to allow shipping to pass. This is no longer operational and was welded closed some time ago.

Our works, carried out under the Network Rail 9 Form of Contract, involved the scaffold, encapsulation, surface preparation and painting of all steel members of the structure, which totalled some 11,000 m². We procured the coatings material from Jotun Paints and International Paints, and subcontracted the scaffold and encapsulation to a member of our approved supply chain.

All accessible areas were blast cleaned to SA 2.5 and coated with the Network Rail M20 coatings system, whilst areas of difficult access were mechanically prepared and coated with a M34 system. Access to the work faces on the underside and topside of spans 8, 9, 11 and the topside of span 10, the navigational span, was by means of a fully fixed and encapsulated scaffold. Access to the underside of span 10 had to be via a moveable suspended working platform due to navigational issues, predominantly the passage of barges used by Airbus to transport aircraft wings to and from their factory at Broughton. For this reason we had to liaise closely with both Airbus and the Harbour Master to ascertain times of barge movements.

The works commenced in October 2013 and had a 12 month programme, including some night shift trackside and possession working. Final value was circa £2.4 million, whilst the average team size was in the region of 20 operatives, all PTS and ICATS accredited with many holding additional qualifications. A NACE and ICorr Paint Inspector accredited supervisor ran the contract on a day to day basis, with weekly visits from the designated Contracts Manager and either the Commercial or Contracts Director. Further regular site visits were made by our HSQ&E Department to conduct our own health and safety site inspections and quality audits.

Control of Lead at Work Regulations 2002 applied to this contract due to the existing coatings containing lead. Accordingly we undertook face fit testing and blood tests for lead levels throughout the contract and utilised our Company owned grit recovery units, sealed skips, dust extraction equipment and decontamination units.

Key stakeholders on this contract included Network Rail, Tata Steel (who owned the land either side of the River Dee), Flintshire Council, Amco Rail and their supply chain, and Jack Tighe Ltd and our subcontractors and supply chain.

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