Cast stone proves cost-effective for restoration of railway bridge
Procter Cast Stone has manufactured and supplied custom cast stone units for the restoration of Kimberley Bridge, replacing original stones that were damaged or missing. To simulate the deep pitched carved surface of the original coping stones, the cast stone units were manufactured with a finish that was created by taking mouldings from representative samples of the coping stones on the bridge.
Kimberly Bridge, also known as Midland Railway Bridge 13, is a three-arch brick structure that was built in 1879 to span a deep cutting through which ran the Bennerley and Bulwell Section of the Midland Railway. Today the railway is disused and the Kimberley Railway Cutting is managed by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust as a nature reserve, being designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation. In particular, the site is a sensitive haven for wildlife such as moths, insects and bats. Owned and maintained by Broxtowe Borough Council, Kimberly Bridge is a local landmark and maintains as important link between communities. Following its restoration in 2009, Kimberley Bridge once again forms part of a popular network of footpaths.
After years of neglect, the bridge was declared unsafe in 2008 and, by the time the restoration project was ready to proceed, a number of the coping stones were missing, having either been stolen or pushed off the bridge by vandals. Rexco, the main contractor for the restoration, identified several potential suppliers of cast stone when tendering for the project. All of the suppliers initially said they could undertake the work but, when Rexco won the contract and entered into detailed discussions with the cast stone suppliers. it became apparent that most would not be able to meet the specification.
Mike Jenkins, the Managing Director of Rexco, explains how Procter Cast Stone came to be awarded the order:” The level of customer support from Procter Cast Stone was exceptional; they were extremely knowledgeable, very helpful, and nothing was ever too much trouble. Their price was reasonable, though not the cheapest, and I was confident that they would be able to keep their promises.”
Procter Cast Stone appointed a Project Manager who undertook a site survey. Moulds were taken from representative samples of the coping stones that were still in good condition, after which a wooden mould was manufactured to enable a sample cast stone unit to be submitted for approval. Once approval was granted, manufacture of the required quantity commenced so that deliveries could be made to an agreed schedule to aid site logistics and avoid cast stone units being stored on site for any longer than necessary – which helps to avoid the units incurring accidental damage. The Project Manager also provide detailed advice and technical support as required, covering everything from fixing and mortar specifications, through to site handling and protection. For the Kimberley Bridge project, approximately 20 identical units were supplied, delivered on time against the agreed schedule.
Procter Cast Stone adheres to rigorous quality standards to ensure that products are manufactured in accordance with British Standard BS 1217 and the UKCSA Standard . The cast stone units used to restore Kimberley Bridge should last as long as their natural stone, the cast stone units saved a considerable amount of money. This is because they were all cast from a single mould, which is quicker and less labour-intensive than cutting and carving multiple units from natural stone. To the untrained eye, cast stone is generally indistinguishable from natural stone.
- Mike Jenkins concludes:“Rexco is a small company that, over nine years, has earned a reputation for quality. We have built up a network of high-quality, reliable suppliers such as Procter Cast Stone. Everyone from Procter was helpful, right from the project manager to the people in the office and even the delivery driver. It was a pleasure to work with Procter Cast Stone and I would not hesitate to use them again.”
To help architects and specifiers gain a better understanding of cast stone and maximise the benefits of this versatile material – including using cast stone in restoration and refurbishment projects – Procter Cast Stone has published a series of guides and other information resources. These are available free of charge from the Cast Stone Downloads section of the website, or request copies by telephoning us or emailing email@example.com