Spencer Group: In the spotlight
Spencer Group is one of the UK’s largest privately owned multidisciplinary engineering businesses, providing pioneering engineering solutions to a range of sectors, from transport and infrastructure to the industrial and energy industries. With their 20+ strong, in-house, multidisciplinary design team, the group has an excellent reputation for delivering high quality schemes and has built up a varied portfolio of projects for valued clients.
Three significant projects for Spencer Group include Wessex Package 7; the Hackney Interchange project; and the East Kent Re-signalling project. Keen to find out more about the projects, Rail Construction News recently caught up with Spencer Group Project Directors Steve Melvin, James Renwick and Adrian Kilburn, to get the inside story on the schemes.
The first of the projects – Wessex Package 7 – was implemented to increase train capacity on commuter routes in the Wessex region by lengthening platforms to accommodate ten-car trains. The project included extending platforms at 50 stations on the Wessex Route, alterations to existing infrastructure, track realignment work and relocation of signals and associated apparatus.
Wessex Package 7 saw the renewal of 1,000m of plain line track, the installation of 30km of cabling, the upgrade of 11 DNOs and the installation of 14 troughing routes. The project involved 4,000 hours of booked and managed disruptive possessions.
Through value engineering, Spencer Group designed and developed a unique method of constructing the platform extensions that saved more than £2m. The new GRP platforms were designed so that they could be installed without the need for disruptive possessions – saving thousands of man hours and significantly reducing risks at dozens of busy locations.
Spencer Group was asked by Network Rail to accelerate parts of the project, specifically to ensure enhanced passenger capacity at strategic locations would be available in time for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Spencer Group complied and the result was a smoother travelling experience for all who attended the games by rail.
Design work and initial surveys began on the project in late 2011, with ground works beginning in April 2012.
Steve Melvin, Spencer Group Project Director, said:
“The biggest challenge was co-ordinating all the various disciplines, essentially where we had disruptive possessions and ensuring construction of key elements were delivered on time. We had a number of commissioning weekends throughout the project, in particular towards the tail-end of 2013, which were very intensive and required a high level of commitment from the project team. We also had some fairly tricky locations where we had to install bridge structures over existing roads and public footways. This involved a few awkward crane lifts, but I’m pleased to say they were all completed on time and safely without delays to train services.
“This project was a major achievement for us and one of the biggest packages of work we ever undertook and likewise one of the biggest packages that Network Rail has attempted as well in the South East. It was a big success all-round.”
The Hackney Interchange project, funded by Transport for London, Network Rail and Hackney Council, was initiated to provide direct access between Hackney Downs and Hackney Central stations. The project involved the installation of a 200m long steel walkway connection, including step-free access between Hackney Central Station and Hackney Downs Station.
Work began on the scheme in September 2014 and reached completion in July 2015, finishing with landscaping works and the reinstatement of the residents carpark, which were previously being used as a site compound.
James Renwick, Spencer Group Project Director said:
“Hackney Central is on the North London line and Hackney Downs is on the Anglia line. TfL has recently taken over the Anglia lines and this scheme was implemented to provide direct access between the two stations, so that passengers no longer have to travel via the streets to get to each station.
“Working on a scheme like this was very important. Improving access at stations is a huge part of the current rail works taking place in London.
“Most of the projects that are underway, of the size and scale that Spencer Group would be involved with, are related to improving access, such as walkways and interchanges and this is another great example.”
On the back of these successful projects, Spencer Group continues to secure rail works throughout the country. Recently awarded contracts at Finsbury Park and Reading Train Care Depot for London Underground and First Great Western, respectively, demonstrate Spencer’s ability to develop and deliver innovative solutions for their transport and infrastructure clients.
For further information about Spencer Group, please visit: www.thespencergroup.co.uk.