Swanage wins engineering award

Work to restore and upgrade the Swanage Railway’s link to Wareham from Norden has won the annual Institution of Civil Engineers’ South West Engineering Award 2017.

The Swanage Railway’s £950,000 project to restore the link from Norden to Wareham has won the ICE’s annual South West Engineering Award 2017. ANDREW P. M. WRIGHT

The Swanage Railway’s £950,000 project to restore the link from Norden to Wareham has won the ICE’s annual South West Engineering Award 2017. ANDREW P. M. WRIGHT

Winning ICE’s ‘projects costing less than £1 million’ category, the award recognises the £950,000 scheme to reconnect the ‘Purbeck Line’ with Worgret Junction on the South West Main Line between Waterloo and Weymouth, allowing trains to operate over the entirety of the Swanage branch for the first time since 1972.

The transformation saw three miles of little used former Network Rail line restored to a passenger-carrying standard, overgrown embankments and drains cleared, a quarter-mile long embankment upgraded while half a mile of new railway track was also laid.

The £950,000 work also involved the installation of a state of the art level crossing – to protect Perenco’s Wytch Farm oil field access road near Norden station – and the creation of a nearby road-rail interchange (RRI) for locomotives and carriages. The RRI construction involved the excavation of 2,500 cubic metres of earth that was re-cycled and used to extend a quarter-mile long embankment near Furzebrook.

Swanage Railway Trust chairman Gavin Johns said: “I am delighted by this award and feel very proud of the excellent team effort that has seen our project team, led by Frank Roberts, our civil engineers GB Card & Partners, Swanage Railway departmental staff, consultants and our contractors – Andrews of Wareham and Schweizer of Switzerland – working together so effectively. 

“This prestigious award recognises their hard work and dedication – it’s a real feather in their caps because the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Awards is the benchmark for recognising excellence in civil engineering in the United Kingdom,” he added. 

The £950,000 required for the Project Wareham civil engineering work came via a £450,000 grant from the Government’s Coastal Communities Fund and a £500,000 ‘legacy’ donation from former Wytch Farm oil field operator BP.