A Midlands design engineering business has recently completed a £40,000 contract to design and procure the manufacture of two specialist acoustic rail bridges one of which has now been installed at the Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal, as part of the DIRFT III extension project.
MarchantCain designed the product and procured the components for the first bridge, which was part of a project that has blurred the lines between precision and civil engineering and the creative industries. The second of the two bridges, which were designed in conjunction with renowned silversmith Wally Gilbert, will act as a landmark when installed some time in 2019 for the Prologis Park project, a logistics hub that already includes businesses such as Mothercare, Royal Mail, DHL, and Tesco. It will also play a vital role transporting goods by rail from the Western Main Line over the main A5 trunk road into the park.
Not without its challenges, MarchantCain was tasked with designing the bridge parapet with an acoustic barrier, so that it absorbs the noise from 32 freight trains a day, deflecting noise away from the nearby new Houlton Village, which will see the creation of 6,200 extra houses. The acoustic barrier had to be integrated into the bridge design in order to ensure that the original design aesthetic of the landmark was not compromised. To overcome this challenge, the decorative panels for the bridge were carved in wood, and then moulded in sand. The panels were then cast in aluminium to give the landmark its unique design, whilst also balancing engineering precision with acoustic functionality. The engineering design specialist also had to manipulate the design of the 21.8 metre-wide, bridge to counter a drainage slope across the span of the bridge deck.
Rob Marchant, Managing Director at MarchantCain, said that the project proved to be an exacting but exciting challenge. “This project pushed our team to extreme lengths as we worked to overcome some of the many challenges it presented. We were lucky to work with a great designer in Wally Gilbert and other great partners involved in the Prologis project to overcome these issues and design a bridge that is both functional and decorative, and the landmark the client was seeking.
“The bridge has now been manufactured and installed, and is a big success in this exciting and widespread project.”