Why Are Pile Foundations Fundamental to the Rail Industry?

If you’re familiar with piling, then you will likely know that it’s an important process used in construction to create stable building foundations, but did you know that pile foundations are currently being used in the rail industry, as well?

With the recent electrification of railways across the country, rail networks are relying on piling more than ever before. Keep reading on below to learn why piling is important for the efficient running of rail networks and the reasons they may require it.

Stable Foundations for the Electrification of Railways

If you live near a railway station that is a busy commuter stop along a major route, then it is likely that this has either been, is currently being or is planned to be electrified. Many rail networks are now electrifying more and more railways in a bid to become more environmentally sustainable and to allow for more cost-efficiency.

Electric trains work by an overhead wire carrying a high voltage of power, known as the contact wire, transmitting this power to the train through a sprung pantograph on the roof as it moves underneath it. This contact wire is supported by a number of masters and gantries (known as overhead line equipment) to ensure that it remains as safe and stable as possible.

So, where does piling come in? It’s for these supporting masts and gantries that piling is required. Using cylindrical steel piles, these are installed deep into the ground to provide stable foundations for the trackside posts and overhead line equipment (OLE).

It is extremely important that these piles are in place to reduce the risk of the OLE from shifting, subsiding or falling, which would cause major delays to train journeys as well as pose a large safety hazard due to the contact wire being actively charged with electricity.

Additional Reasons Piling May be Required

Rail networks aren’t just responsible for the rail lines, but they are responsible for ensuring people have access to and around these. For example, having a small platform built in a community area as part of a local stopping service, or even just building a footbridge for people to easily get from A to B where there is an active rail track in the way.

In both of these instances, piling may also be used. For example, if a temporary footbridge needs to be built, then screw piling (being one of the most efficient, clean and quickest methods) may be carried out to support this and ensure that it is still structurally safe and sound, despite being only temporary.

If you or your business are in need of piling contractors to carry out piling work for the foundations of your property, then you need Below Ground. Based in Bristol, London and Exeter, we have over 25 years of experience, so you can count on us to get the job done to the highest standards.

Contact us today to discuss the piling services we can offer you.