Bank work helps keep GWSR services running smoothly - The Evesham Observer

Bank work helps keep GWSR services running smoothly

Evesham Editorial 3rd Nov, 2023   0

UNNOTICED by many travellers on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway’s (GWSR) trains leaving Winchcombe station for Broadway, is the River Isbourne which, following significant civil engineering works now flows freely beneath the high railway embankment.

The recently-completed works comprising two separate contracts to correct developing bank erosion and mitigate the risk of flooding, has been vindicated following October’s heavy rainfall with the river running at an unusually high level

Ian Scholey, the GWSR’s infrastructure manager and a civil engineer by profession, said: “This is an area with a history of flooding, which has caused erosion of the banks at the foot of the railway embankment and an increasing risk of damaging the railway embankment itself. In addition, deposits of gravel had formed an island on the upstream side of the bridge, interrupting the flow of water.”

Walsh Construction, the company that has also been contracted to carry out repairs to the railway’s enormous Stanway Viaduct, has completed the works to improve the flow of the river and eliminate the risk of the railway embankment being eroded which, left unchecked, could eventually have led to significant stability problems.

“Walsh installed steel sheet pile walls to contain the river, as well as gabions (stone filled cages), not only to protect the embankment but nearby properties as well.

“The work has taken some time to complete as it was interrupted by both the need to carry out works elsewhere on the railway as well as Covid and flooding in 2020 which emphasised the need for the river work to be completed as a matter of urgency.

“Recent heavy rain in the aftermath of Storm Babet – which fortunately was not as severe as elsewhere in the country – has vindicated this work and gives me confidence that the works will also cope with the aftermath of Storm Ciarán.

“The river, which carries runoff from the Cotswolds was over a metre and a half higher than normal, yet it flowed unimpeded beneath the bridge that carries the railway, causing no damage to the banks or surrounding property.

“I have no doubt that without the work that has been done, the storm river flow would have caused extensive damage on both sides of the railway embankment” he added.


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