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London Underground

Country: United Kingdom

Customer: LUL Nominee (BCV) Limited, LUL Nominee (SSL) Limited

Order Date: 08/2010

Completion Date: 08/2010

Project Description

Balfour Beatty Rail (BBR) working in an Alliance with London Underground (LU) is contracted to deliver a substantial track replacement programme. A project team has been established to draw upon the expertise in both businesses. It's a complex renewal project with levels of production far in excess of any previous similar work carried out on the London Underground network.

The work types fall within three main categories:

  • Ballasted Track Renewals (BTR)
  • Points & Crossings (P&C)
  • Deep Tube Reconditioning (DTR)
  • Full Reconditioning
  • Sleeper Popping Reconditioning
  • Re-Rail & Re-Rail+ (incl. Check Rail Sites)

The main body of our renewal works take place during the weekends. With preparation and follow up works being conducted mid-week nights once the public service has stopped running. Our work schedule can mean that we are renewing three different sites throughout one weekend; this is achieved through the commitment of the team to deliver the level one programme. The table below details the output achieved to date.

Ballasted Track Renewals (BTR)

Ballasted track is renewed on a like for like basis using two train fleets (described overleaf) depending on availability of access to the network. Sites are typically up to 450m in the sub-surface areas using the Transplant Fleet and up to 1000m using the NETF Fleet in the open sections.

Renewals work is carried out on District, Metropolitan, Hammersmith & City and Central Lines and is carried out in 52 hour minor closures at weekends. Successful completion of a BTR requires coordination with signalling, civils, drainage, possession staff, plant and trains with overall project management by the Alliance team of BBR and LU staff.

Points and Crossings (P&C)

Renewal of P&C is conducted on both a like-for-like basis or remodelling to accommodate different lengths of points. The point machines are also replaced during the works typically changing from electro-pneumatic operation to electric. Renewal / remodelling of the existing conductor rail systems using both steel and composite products.

In 2008 the P&C project team won 'The Upgrade Award' in The Metronet Awards.

Deep Tube Reconditioning (DTR)

Full Reconditioning (Tunnel and Platform Areas)

Involves the complete replacement of running rail, sleepers in tunnel section or pitblocks in platform areas, fixings, concrete & shingle to a new design within Class I tolerances.

Sleeper Popping Reconditioning

Similar to Full Reconditioning, however, instead of replacing all of the surrounding concrete, the old sleepers or pitblocks are popped out of their sockets thus reducing material cost (less replacement concrete required) and improving production rates.

Re-Rail & Re-Rail+ (incl. Check Rail Sites)

This is where a like for like re-rail is carried out to Class II tolerance. The "+" element requires either sleeper grouting or spot sleeper replacement. In some circumstances partial design for re-alignment is required.

We make use of the following Train and Plant Fleets to carry out or renewals of London Underground's assets.

New Engineering Train Fleet (GBRf)

  • FEA Flat Wagon (Salmon)
  • FEA Sided Wagon (Tench)
  • Falcon (5BT box)
  • Side Tipper (56T box)
  • Rail & Sleeper Delivery Train (Slinger)
  • Auto Ballaster

Transplant Fleet (Tube Lines)

  • High Deck or Rail Wagon
  • GP Wagon
  • Turbot Wagon
  • Hopper


  • 360 degree excavator
  • Milling machine
  • Bagging machine
  • Rapid ballast excavator

Making Safety Personal

To make strides in changing the safety culture a 'See It, Sort It' Campaign has been implemented whereby operatives and supervisors are briefed and have signed up their commitment to tackling site safety concerns immediately. Gift Vouchers are presented to staff when they have demonstrated that once a problem has been identified that they have personally worked to resolve the problem (demonstrating 'See It, Sort it' behaviours).

The campaign was nominated for a number of awards (detailed below).

  • Finalist – Metronet Safety Campaign of the Year (2008)
  • Finalist – IoSH Campaign of the Year (2008)
  • Finalist – HSBC Safety Campaign of the Year – Construction (2009)

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