Furness Vale Station Footbridge, Derbyshire

The Victorian Furness Vale Station lies on the Manchester to Buxton line, serving the village of Furness Vale, 15 miles from Manchester Piccadilly station.  

The Challenge

Furness Vale Station footbridge stairs.Furness Vale Station footbridge refurbishment was part of the Great North Rail Project.  This is a vast project aiming to improve railways for passengers in the north of England to create a more efficient and reliable rail experience.  The structure required strengthening and repainting in its heritage colours.

Located next to a road, we had to ensure as little disruption as possible was caused to the local area. The project also required operatives to be working from height at times.

The Solution

In order to provide our client with the most efficient and least disruptive programme, we decided to carry out refurbishment works to the main span and both top sections of the stairs off site.

After initial site compound set up, the main bridge span and top stair sections were prepared for removal.  Furness Vale station is intersected by Station Road at a level crossing.  Therefore, we implemented a night-time road closure which allowed us to easily position the crane directly next to the footbridge during the quieter, non-disruptive road times.

The 90-tonne crane was used to lift the seven-tonne main span and top stair sections from their existing position directly on to a lorry to be transported offsite to carry out repair and restoration works.  Lifting works were carried out during a possession of the line with an exclusion zone under the works. 

Main deck of the Furness Vale Station footbridge.To provide maximum safety to our employees and the public, exclusion areas were designated around the areas where working at height was taking place.  Appropriate warning signs were displayed to alert the public of any surrounding danger.

Steelwork repairs included the removal and replacement of the lattice works on the main span with new steel.  The main deck was replaced with a Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) alternative.  This provided a more environmentally friendly solution which was lightweight, reducing our carbon emissions from transportation, while requiring limited future maintenance.  New stairs and handrails were also installed. 

After the removal of the main span, the scaffold and encapsulation were installed around the staircase base sections.  These sections were blasted, and a protective coating applied by our specialist team.  Only basic maintenance was undertaken on site, with light machinery stored in lockable safe containers or taken away from site at the end of each shift.  Upon completion, a second road closure was implemented, and the refurbished main span and top stair sections were successfully lifted back into place.

We completed a section 61 application for the council to gain a permit to allow us to carry out works at night.  The erection of the scaffold access; blasting works; and the crane lifting of the footbridge were all carried out during night-time hours.  By completing possession work and road closures during the night we were able to reduce the disruption that both passengers and road users faced.  We also carried out a letter drop to all local residents informing them of the planned works and scheduling.

The Result

Furness Vale Station footbridge stairs. During the works the station remained open and operational at all times, with passengers facing zero disturbance.

Our works have upgraded the structure, ensuring the footbridge has been strengthened and repainted in its heritage colours bringing it back to its Victorian aesthetic, while increasing the structures lifespan.

We refurbished the footbridge and staircases, completing grit blasting, steelwork repairs and the application of a new protective coating, as well as replacing existing features of the footbridge such as the main deck and handrails.

Dec 2020 - Mar 2021

The scope of the works included:

  • Install scaffolding and encapsulation access
  • Remove main span and top set of stairs on both sides of bridge
  • Grit blast and apply M24 paint system to all steel structure
  • Steel repairs
  • 9 cast spindles replaced on the staircase
  • Top and bottom chord strengthening
  • New GRP main deck and stairs installed
  • New DDA steel compliant handrail installed
  • Existing timber handrail replaced with new
  • Tactile plates installed
  • All cable rerouted onto new hidden cable tray
  • Ground improvement works on both platforms