Case study: Fibreglass grating for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link

The client

If you've ever taken the Eurostar, you'll have experienced the Channel Tunnel Rail Link at first hand. The first major new railway line laid in the UK for over 100 years, it now transports millions of passengers each year over the 68 miles between London and the Channel Tunnel.

The problem – an alternative
to concrete

2.4 miles of the line is elevated on viaducts, and the major rail company undertaking the project needed an alternative to concrete for the cable trough covering that runs along the viaducts.

After a thorough investigation, they identified fibreglass grating from Sui Generis as a viable, cost-effective alternative to concrete that could meet their stringent requirements.

The solution – fibreglass grating

In addition to having a high strength-to-weight ratio, excellent impact resistance and an almost indefinite life expectancy, we made sure our fibreglass grating sections would meet all the client's requirements, including:

  • An anti-slip surface with superior slip resistance to concrete, particularly when wet
  • A 25kg weight restriction on each section so a single worker could handle them
    • Excellent corrosion resistance
    • A load rating for heavy pedestrian traffic of 5KN/m2
    • A Class 1 flame spread rating of 25 or less
    • Long life expectancy
    • Containing UV inhibitors to counteract the degrading effects of sunlight.
  • Our installation service
    saves the day

When it came to installing the fibreglass grating, a technical survey revealed numerous variations in the dimensions of the concrete cable trough recesses – which meant the covers needed to be supplied in varying widths and thicknesses.

This posed a significant challenge, but Sui Generis was up to the task.

By creating a detailed installation schedule, we were able to do almost all the resizing work at our production facility – minimising the amount of cutting required on-site and keeping our installation service on schedule.

In total, 9 miles of fibreglass grating panels were laid – acting as an important layer of protection for the essential cables running alongside the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.

Fibreglass grating for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link

Unsealed PipeFibreglass grating as a concrete replacement

Our strong fibreglass grating was designed to act as a protective cover for the cabling troughs running alongside the section of the track elevated on viaducts – but a technical survey revealed many variations in the dimensions of the cable trough recesses.

Unsealed PipeA flexible installation service

Because the panels needed to fit snugly into each section of trough, it was agreed that it would be impractical to produce each section of panel to size – so we came up with an installation schedule that allowed us to cut each panel to size while minimising additional work on-site.

Unsealed PipeThe strength to double as a pedestrian walkway

Some of the areas were also due to be used as pedestrian walkways, which meant each panel had to be secured in place with special steel plates with a countersunk fixing hole – this minimised any potential trip hazard.

Unsealed PipeProtecting vital infrastructure

In total, 9 miles of fibreglass grating trough covers were supplied to schedule, securing the vital infrastructure of one of Europe's busiest rail links – demonstrating another way fibreglass can improve on traditional concrete materials.

Sui Generis: The market leader in fibreglass gratings

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