Isle of Man Winter Rail Programme
In 2017, SCUK Global Services Limited and MECX were awarded a major track upgrade contract on the Isle of Man Winter Rail Programme on both the Santon Steam & South Cape Manx electric railways.

IOM Winter Rail Program
Picture of track
IOM Winter Rail Program
IOM Winter Rail Program

Client :                 Isle of Man Railways

Location :           Isle of Man

Value :                  Undisclosed

Remarks :           Despite challenging conditions the team at MECX delivered all aspects of these two challenging projects on time and within budget. 

The partnership were asked to complete track upgrades on the Isle of Man Steam Railway and the Manx Electric Railway system. Both projects involved track renewal/upgrades including thermic welding, installation of pedestrian tarmac walkways, ballast retention boards, lateral resistance end plates and DC bonds as follows:

Santon steam

Upgrade of 450m of curved track;

  1. Cut out .5m of rail at each joint to remove crippled ends
  2. Pull back rails simultaneously at North and South end of work site creating a gap of approximately 4 panels centrally
  3. Bridge gap using new pre-curved rails
  4. Alumino Thermic weld alternate joints over 450m & provide weld certificates to client
  5. Drill and fit fishplates on alternate joints over 450m
  6. Install lateral resistance end plates on sleeper ends to prevent creep through curve
  7. Excavate west side of curve along embankment and install ballast retention boards
  8. Lay new ballast along work site
  9. Align track both horizontally and vertically in accordance with new design specification to improve ride

South Cape Manx electric railway

Upgrade of 150m of curved track on landside road;

  1. Remove spikes and lift worn rails out
  2. Sit and secure Pandrol baseplates to replace spikes
  3. Lift new pre-curved rail into place and drill
  4. Joint with fishplates and fit new DC bond wires
  5. Remove pedestrian tarmac footpath and renew
  6. Lay new ballast along work site
  7. Align track both horizontally and vertically in accordance with new design specification to improve ride

There were a number of challenges when working on these projects, one of those being track access. The tracks run through residential environments, so the projects needed considerable planning to efficiently undertake the work without disturbing the local residents.

Another issue when working on this island project was the microclimate. Most areas on the rail infrastructure are exposed to the mercy of the dramatically changing weather conditions, so timing and efficiency were key.

Finally, organising equipment was complex and costly as the track is a 3ft gauge, so organisation and high levels of communication between all parties were required to ensure efficient and timely conclusion

However, having been faced with these challenges, SCUK Global Services and MECX ensured that all issues were resolved and the project was completed successfully, safely, on time and to budget.

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