Weeley railway station serves the village of Weeley in Essex. It is located on the Sunshine Coast Line, a railway operated by Greater Anglia that links Colchester to Clacton-on-Sea.

The task of the replacement fell to the regional train operator Greater Anglia who in turn included it within the Greater Anglia and Spence Ltd partnership framework. It was to be a combined engineering and delivery venture.

The works however required a long working window of opportunity to allow for contingencies with the risk being ever present.

The works were programmed for Easter 2014 shutdown in order to take full advantage of a 100hr possession.

In order not to disrupt the travelling public, the requirement was to not only install a new steel modular bridge but also remove the existing concrete structure during the same working window.


The Task

As part of the regions infrastructure the station has a footbridge connecting the platforms allowing pedestrians to travel freely from one side to the other. The existing pedestrian footbridge was a 1960’s installation and deemed to be life expired. With the footbridge forming a key part of the pedestrian’s accessibility it was crucially important that the footbridge was replaced with new upgraded versions without complication.

Engineering Solution

Spence appointed supply chain partner VEDA to undertake the multi-disciplined design package. Spence working in partnership with Greater Anglia’s Asset Engineers and Network Rail developed the scheme to final design stage. The priority was to incorporate the very latest revisions to the Network Rail engineering standards to ensure that the bridge was based on the most contemporary and efficient rail engineering solutions. Incorporated within this, the design team also developed an achieved approval of a custom made cable management system to overcome issues relating to the running of power between the platforms.

Trial Erection

Our client, Greater Anglia were invited to witness a trail erection of the modular steel bridge in factory conditions. The trial erection was timed at 4hrs and the operation was completed without issue. The trial erection is designed to establish that the structure is in good working order and ready for actual installation.


Prior to the 100hr possession, Spence undertook extensive enabling works including subterranean foundation piling works located on the platform demise’ beneath where the bridge would be situated. The piled foundation reached up to 17 metres in depth from the belly of the foundation to the top of the pile cap.


Possession was granted at 01:00hrs on Friday 18th April 2014 with the first shift commencing works at first light (06:30hrs). The first challenge was to install the modular steel bridge where the new foundation had been cast. Using the 100 tonne self-erecting mobile crane that was situated adjacent to the location, 11 staged lifts were completed, assembling the bridge with precision. As anticipated during in the trial erection, the bridge was installed and accepted as fit for purpose, by 15:30hrs that same day. Despite the success of the new bridge installation, the difficult task of removing the existing 1960’s pre-cast concrete original remained. On the morning of Saturday 19thApril at 06:30hrs a larger 150 tonne crane arrived on site, to assist in the removal. After setting up the crane on spreader mats, the crane was fully rigged, and ready to undertake the first of the 17 lifts required to remove the structure. The dismantling operation was overseen by NFDC sub-contractor Econ, who strutted and braced each sectional element prior to removal. The lifting operation was a great success, with each section of the concrete bridge being lifted and then carefully landed within designated demolition exclusion areas. The old pre-cast sections were then further reduced in size via hydraulic cruncher. All arising’s where then loaded into awaiting transport and disposed of for recycling.  All the dismantling was all complete by 20:00hrs, inclusive of the de-rigging of the crane, at which point the works on the access bridge were deemed to be successfully completed.

Watch the works at Weeley Station here.