How this access innovation saved Story £5m and six months


Story Contracting has shortened a major repairs contract by six months and saved £5 million in costs by using an innovative solution to overcome access challenge. 

Royal Border Bridge
Credit: Story
by Rory ButlerMarch 1, 2023

The firm has been appointed by Network Rail to conduct a series of repairs to the iconic Royal Border Bridge in Northumberland. 

The 28-arch, Grade I Listed masonry bridge, which crosses the River Tweed, is difficult for engineers to deliver replacement brickwork and metal straps, as well as masonry maintenance, they are commissioned for. 

Ordinarily, for a job this big, rigid scaffolding would be erected around the entire structure, but this alone would take six months and cost £9 million 

Plus accessing hard-to-reach areas and overhead works would also be made more difficult. 

What Story did 

By using abseilers (engineers on ropes) and a suspended cradle system to deliver the repairs, the programme has been shortened by six months and a £5 million cost saving has been made.  

“With a number of safety procedures and processes in place, this way of working is just as safe as scaffolding,” said Story. 

Dan Jones, Story operations director, added: “By working smarter and looking at innovative ways to reduce cost and programme, this project has become an excellent example of embracing SPEED principles.  

“Thank you and well done to the combined team of Story, Network Rail Capital Delivery Eastern, the Route Engineer team and our trusted partner, RopeTech for fully committing to the Agile Client Eastern model to deliver a project for us all to be proud of.’’ 

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