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Composites UK launches information partnership as rail industry invests in plastics

Composites UK, the trade body for the British composites sector, has agreed to partner with railways supply body the Rail Alliance to inform suppliers of ways to use new composites to solve rail industry challenges.

Advanced composites have superior strength to weight ratio, durability, and longevity.

With composite materials, trench covers can be moved by hand instead of using lifting equipment, train doors can open faster, while even larger items like bridges can be built using less material reducing costs. Their durability means they last in all weather conditions and can withstand exposure to corrosive materials like salt and fuel. Their longevity means they last longer than traditional materials, reducing disruption which is especially important for products like sleepers. Finally, composite products can be custom manufactured to suit the application, instead of building on site, which enables fast installation, allowing products like fibre-reinforced bridges, which can be installed overnight.

Some recent composite projects on the railways include:

Doncaster Hitachi Depot, where a hundred metres of custom build glass-reinforced trench covers were made by Fibrelite for pipe openings, protecting them from heavy vehicle while providing easy access for monitoring, and trench covers for utility apertures at Oldham’s Metrolink platforms, providing an exact fit for existing trenches with a safe walking surface.


Composite trench covers at Doncaster Hitachi Depot, off Ten Pound Walk by the A6182.

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