It’s always good to have a local supplier for any railway work. It keeps the logistics challenge down and it means that, if needed, experts can be on site quickly.
So it’s not surprising that Mabey Hire, whose West Midlands depot is located on the doorstep of the tram line, has been selected as one of several local suppliers to support the development of a new 2.2km tram route.
Midland Metro Alliance is designing and constructing the Birmingham Westside Metro extension in two phases on behalf of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA). The first, between Grand Central and Centenary Square, is due to open later this year. The second phase will take passengers along Broad Street to Edgbaston and will be operational by the end of 2021.
The new services will carry visitors and commuters to key destinations and attractions including Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, the new HSBC headquarters, the Arena Central and Paradise regeneration sites, Brindleyplace, Symphony Hall and the Town Hall.
Mabey Hire was initially contracted by the alliance to deliver 100-metres of bespoke excavation struts throughout the Pinfold Street excavation on the new line which will take passengers between Grand Central in the city centre, though Victoria Square, before ending in Hagley Road, Edgbaston.
These Shaftbrace struts held the ground open as workers dug down and installed slabs, forming the base of the soon-to-be-installed tramline. Aside from ensuring there was no risk of soil collapse as the dig progressed, the struts also contributed to the protection of nearby historic buildings, which could be damaged by a ground collapse around the construction area.
Following the successful use of this system, a further 70-metres of struts were requested for the Broad Street excavation, which is still ongoing.
Paula Gray, head of procurement for the Midland Metro Alliance, commented: “We want to work with suppliers who are innovative, agile, collaborative and who always put engineering integrity first. Mabey Hire ticks all these boxes. We also want our suppliers to have local knowledge and expertise and, given the new tramline quite literally runs past the backyard of Mabey Hire’s depot, we knew they could help us accelerate the critical first stage of construction as quickly, safely and efficiently as possible.”