Enhancing access to the Crick Tunnel portal for authorised maintenance personnel with our Ezi Access Mark 1 GRP Steps
Project Name: Crick Tunnel Portal Access Improvements
Location: Crick, West Northamptonshire
Upon inspection, the access route on the embankment above the Crick Tunnel portal was flagged to the Safety Taskforce as deteriorating. The Safety Taskforce then issued a remit to replace the steps to the NW&C Works Delivery Team at Network Rail, who in turn reached out to the GRP team at EZI Klamp. This was due to our prior success in completing projects for the organization and establishing a positive rapport with them. Our team responded quickly after learning about the precarious state of the Crick Tunnel access and how it posed a significant safety risk to maintenance teams. Network Rail’s top priority was ensuring the safety of all personnel involved and to help them achieve this our priority was to enable the Works Delivery team to carry out their work as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The remit involved renewing the pre-existing access steps at the top of the Crick tunnel portal. The current steps had deteriorated significantly, resulting in a hazardous environment for Network Rail personnel. As a result, there was a pressing need for a secure pathway for engineers to transport heavy equipment and tools for maintenance purposes.
The Works Delivery team at Network Rail provided us with on-site measurements and surveys, which we were able to evaluate to determine the most suitable product for renewing the access steps while ensuring we stayed compliant with standards. Once a solution was agreed upon, we processed the drawings accurately and efficiently, carefully considering the environmental impact. Being a safety-critical project, we made sure to complete the assessment in a timely manner.
After carefully reviewing the drawings and the environment for the new access steps solution, we agreed to deliver Ezi Access Mark 1 steps – our step system compliant with Network Rail’s NR-CIV-SD-370 standard.
Our Mark 1 Access Step system is very easy to install, as it follows the ground angle. This step system will only work where the ground angle is between 26° – 42°, hence the importance of a site survey to check this system will comply. The stair type chosen for this project was gravel backfill, a great option for providing a non-slip surface and ensuring effective drainage. The stairs included GRP solid top grating for the risers with a yellow GRP nosing. For the stair handrails, we used our non-conductive GRP handrails. These needed to be non-conductive due to the nearby electrified railway tracks. The GRP handrails are also a good choice because they’re long-lasting, lightweight to install, and require low maintenance. The bright yellow appearance of the GRP handrails also makes it visible in many conditions. Due to the length of the stair run, a midway landing was required after a descent of 18 steps, to help limit potential falls to a few steps.
Due to collaborative efforts, we were able to transform the deteriorating access steps that caused a potential risk to human life into a secure and compliant pathway for maintenance personnel.
This project required a quick turnaround due to project deadlines and the workload of the Works Delivery team. EZI Klamp managed to achieve this with the order of new access steps being placed on June 29th and dispatched on July 13th. The newly implemented GRP access steps have made it possible for Network Rail’s Maintenance teams to transport heavy tools down to the railway track in a safe and efficient manner. The Works Delivery Team that installed the stairs were pleased with the speed of building the access steps and their lightweight design, which resulted in less manual handling.
As a testament to the success and efficiency of this project, we have also completed many more projects for the Works Delivery team at Network Rail across several routes. We continue to work closely to support Network Rail’s vision of providing passengers and freight users with the safe, reliable and efficient railway they deserve while ensuring that ‘Everyone’s home safe every day’.
“Working with EZI Klamp, the steps are a lot quicker to install, a lot lighter, less manual handling for the guys on site and it’s just been a better solution than we’ve had over the years working with them.” – Scott Thomas, Works Delivery Team