The new type of concrete has been first used as part of an innovative track-laying system for the mainline link between Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Hope was approached to develop the bespoke mix to complement the innovative Slab Track Austria system and ensure rapid track replacement work in the 330-metre long Winchburgh Tunnel section of the track.
The floor of the Victorian tunnel had to be lowered to accommodate overhead cables as part of the electrification of the line, Scotland’s busiest passenger route. This is part of the Edinburgh to Glasgow improvement programme (EGIP).
To meet the specifications of the project, Hope’s researchers designed HopeFlow Rail, a high-performance, self-compacting concrete that has the properties required for fixing the Slab Track system into place, including extended workability and high early strength. It uses a blend of selected aggregates, cement and specialist admixtures.
Slab Track is a specialist precast concrete rail system used widely to develop high-speed rail links throughout Europe, Hope said. More than 470 metres of Slab Track has been laid on the Winchburgh Tunnel project.
Hope believes this first application for its HopeFlow Rail product will lead on to more rail based projects for it throughout the UK in the coming months.
David Morrow, Hope’s business manager for Scotland, said: “When we were tasked with this challenge we were determined to make it work, and bring another innovation to the sector by developing this high-performance and first-of-its-kind product.
“When designing HopeFlow Rail we took into consideration all of the attributes needed for the concrete, ensuring it was strong, free-flowing and had a sufficient working time.
“We’re proud to have our product used to develop the first Scottish high-speed mainline and we believe this will be the first of many projects which uses the product and help to make a difference to rail improvements throughout the UK.”