North West Premier Rail

Rewarding Holme Tunnel

Holme Tunnel

Holme Tunnel

Opened by the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway in 1849, Holme Tunnel is a 250m tunnel which currently facilitates train travel between Burnley and Hebden Bridge in the North West.

The tunnel provides an important service along the rail network but was in need of repairs following years of ground movement which resulted in the tunnel lining becoming severely distorted.

In 2013 the tunnel closed to undergo a programme of works – implemented by Network Rail – which were designed to reline and strengthen sections of the tunnel. Following the extensive reconstruction, the tunnel successfully reopened in 2014.

The newly restored bridge includes improved drainage facilities, allows for trains to increase speeds to 45mph and has improved journeys for passengers.

Network Rail Area Director, Ian Joslin, said:

“The new track provides a more reliable railway and provides passengers with a quieter and smoother journey. The investment is part of Network Rail’s commitment to provide a safer and more efficient railway.”

The majority of the project’s engineering work took place between Saturday 9th November 2013 and Sunday 23rd March 2014. This work was conducted in order to strengthen and repair the tunnel and as a result trains were unable to run on this route between Hebden Bridge and Burnley Manchester Road.

Holme Tunnel

In total the restoration scheme included the installation of more than 400 tonnes of new steel work; over 2400 tonnes of fibre reinforced concrete; and more than 650 tonnes of precast concrete. In addition, 2800 tonnes of new ballast was used in the project, along with more than 2.6 km of new rail.

Amalgamated Construction (AMCO) was the main contractor on the Holme Tunnel restoration project. AMCO provides its clients with a diverse array of specialist construction and engineering services which are delivered nationally, offering a cradle to grave service which includes feasibility, optioneering, design, construction, commissioning, operation and maintenance.

At the recent National Rail Awards the Holme Tunnel project saw off stiff competition within its category to secure a win for Civil Engineering Achievement of the Year. The award recognised the significant long term benefits of the project, as well as highlighted the minimal disruption the scheme caused to the network.

Commenting on the Holme Tunnel project, National Rail Awards 2014 judges, said:

“The works were delivered on time and to budget and are now bringing significant benefits to railway operations. The innovation shown across the whole task was impressive and teamwork was of a high order.”

AMCO Rail’s Managing Director, Andries Liebenberg, said:

“We are very proud of what the AMCO and Network Rail team achieved at Holme Tunnel. They worked collaboratively to develop an innovative solution and their unwavering dedication ensured the safe and efficient delivery of the project in often extremely challenging conditions. This award was an appropriate recognition of the hard work put in by all of the team on a project that will provide significant benefits to all of the users of the railway in the area for many years to come.”

Holme Tunnel

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Gunform International Ltd

Gunform International Ltd specialise in sprayed concrete which is the practice of applying concrete that is generally self-supporting without the need for form work. The firm has been in operation for 35 years and since their inception has worked on a number of projects including the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, Acton Dive Under as part of Cross Rail and Tonfanau Sea Defenses.

We caught up with Andy Dunlop, Director of Gunform International Ltd, to find out more about the firms involvement with Holme Tunnel. He commented:

“We have worked with AMCO previously and during the Holme Tunnel we undertook all of sprayed concrete on the scheme. It was important to be involved with because of the prestige of this project.

“We pride ourselves on carrying out work to a high standard safely.”


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