Rother Valley Railway goes full steam ahead

Kee Safety BeamClamp® type BB fixings are being used on the reconstruction of an East Sussex heritage railway transport link. In 1991 Rother Valley Railway Ltd was formed with the goal of reconnecting the Robertsbridge and Bodiam line that was closed in 1961. The reconstruction is being funded by the Rother Valley Railway Heritage Trust.

The railway has slowly been buying parts that it can use for the trackbed and at the moment five bridges have been built with more planned. The Railway has to use a clamp with some packing pieces in order to connect the handrail transoms and railway sleeps to steelwork for railway bridge number one’s reconstruction.

John Sreeves, an Associate Director, Bridges for CH2M Hill acting as a volunteer bridge engineer for the railway, provided design, drawings and site supervision for this project. Being aware of BeamClamp® products, and requiring a means by which to fix the timber sleepers to the main longitudinal rail bearers, he specified Type BB fixings.

“We contacted a few companies and BeamClamp® responded quickly with an excellent quote,” said John Sreeves. “They were extremely helpful and reactive throughout the project.  We found that the BeamClamp® fixings were flexible and allowed final adjustment of the sleepers before they were finally tightened into position. A benefit of these fixings was that they did not require the longitudinal rail bearers to be drilled on site, which allowed the galvanised surface to remain unbroken.”

Andrew Wood, a local contractor, installed the Type BB BeamClamp® fixings. These systems offered a cost effective solution with sufficient tolerance to accommodate small variations in the timber and steel dimensions.

The BB clamps are hot dipped galvanised to match the steel structure, and ensure longstanding durability.  BeamClamp® fixings are available in a variety of different types and sizes to allow a connection to be made to almost all types of steel section, making them a very flexible solution for steel to steel connections.  The full range of BeamClamp® products can be seen at www.beamclamp.com , with the technical features and loading capabilities of each size.  BeamClamp® fixings are supported by third party approvals and testing to provide the Engineer and user with the peace of mind they need when specifying a connection detail.

Towards the end of September, the railway held a grand opening gala which saw the first public steam train service since 1961 between Robertsbridge and Northbridge Street. The Rother Valley Railway project, which includes bridge one, was highly commended in the Volunteers’ category at the National Railway Heritage Awards.