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A new kind of possession

SITE REPORT

CONSTRUCTION works on operating railways during short-term possessions are governed by stringent regulations set out by Her Majesty's Railway Inspectorate.

But conforming to rules designed for situations where trains only stop running for a matter of hours would have delayed works needlessly on a site closed for five months specifically to ensure swift progress.

The alternative was to completely decommission the site and bring it outside HMRI jurisdiction. But the lengthy processes necessary to hand it back would lose any t ime benef its gained.

The solution was a tailor-made set of working practices designed to cut red tape whilst protecting workers and satisfying HMRI. These rules are a hybrid of general construction site and railway-specific regulations.

They were d raf ted together by London Underground, Metronet, Balfour Beatty and the Health and Safety Executive.

Mr Adams is particularly complimentary of the HSE. He says: 'They were so cooperative, sometimes turning documents round in a couple of days which could have taken weeks. Everyone wants this project to be a success.' The new system not only allowed the fullt ime benef its to be realised , but also saved £3 million in costs. London Underground ploughed the money back into the project, engaging Balfour Beatty Rail in additional works to the stations which were not originally planned.