10th November 2013
GRP Insulated Access Equipment in the Rail Industry
When asked to devise a solution to access 'marker posts' for Network Rail at track side, with the criteria being that the equipment must be insulated due to overhead lines, and with the added issues of working in a hostile environment, at night and after 1am, with the challenges of trying to set the equipment up and to work from severe shingle gradients with a drop from rail head of over 1m, Working At Height 'got cracking' and like much of what we do it had not been done before so we could not rush to the shelf and despatch. Building the 'off set tower' in normal circumstances is not too difficult, however securing the tower system was always going to be difficult, as the tower would want to move downwards with gravity and with the real possibility of the engineers losing their footing as is easily done and colliding with tower and both sliding albeit gently downwards together. Therefore we designed a special clamping arrangement, attaching two clamps to the rail head and two horizontal braces to each side the tower and as can be seen in the rather grainy photographs (apologies) the problem is solved and to everyone's satisfaction.
The trial/demonstration was undertaken by two members of the Working At Height team on what turned out to be a long and wet night, starting at 8pm to prepare and then having access to the high speed rail at just after 1am, with the trial completing at just before 4am, when the track section was handed back for normal operations.