Railway maintenance isn’t always planned. Often, it is totally unexpected and then the maintenance crews have to respond quickly to get the railway up and running as soon as possible.
That’s just what happened on the evening of Saturday 16 May 2020, when a fire broke out in a warehouse in Barking, East London. It was next to the Tilbury Loop line, just the other side of the boundary fence, and debris from the fire was falling onto the tracks.
Network Rail Anglia asked J Murphy & Sons, the framework contractor for the region, to attend and make sure that the line would be safe to reopen on Monday morning. Even with the reduced timetable due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the line still had to operate at a minimum of 70 per cent of capacity.
Responding to the urgent request, Murphy worked with Network Rail and the London Fire Brigade and sent specialist teams and plant to site within hours of getting the call. Work started early on Sunday morning, while the fire brigade was still damping down the warehouse, and finished by 21:00 on Sunday, ahead of schedule.
A total of 20 employees worked over the weekend, including the support teams. Despite having a deadline to meet, all maintained a safe distance of two metres while carrying out the works.