Diamond drilling specialist sees light at end of Glasgow Queen Street tunnel



Drilling of 8500nr 112mm Diameter Holes
Drilling of 8500nr 112mm Diameter Holes

A Broxburn-based diamond drilling specialist has completed key infrastructural work on Glasgow’s Queen Street Station tunnel upgrade, doing so on budget and ahead of schedule.

Corecut was singled out by Story Contracting – which was awarded the track-slab replacement contract for the Edinburgh to Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP) – to take the lead role in the removal of 10,000 tonnes of existing concrete slabs as the station’s tunnel underwent significant improvements.

The £60 million high level tunnel upgrade is considered to be the most significant feat of engineering along the Edinburgh-Glasgow line in 170 years. And at a value of £1.25m, the contract represented the largest diamond drilling project undertaken in Scotland to date.

Corecut was considered for the highly complex work after its work on large-scale Scottish construction projects across almost 40 years.

Starting on 20 March, the company worked around the clock, seven days a week, to remove almost a kilometre-long concrete slab track, before concluding on 26 June – a whole six days ahead of schedule.

Corecut was involved in the planning of the project nearly two years prior to undertaking the actual works, including on and off-site trials. Once the tunnel upgrade had fully commenced, it then worked nearly 900 man days on site without a lost time incident.

New Precast Rail Units in place
New Precast Rail Units in place

The company approached the project in distinct phases: the first being pre-blockade works which included the Diamond Drilling of almost 8,500 112mm diameter x 500mm deep holes to allow the subsequent use of Hydraulic Bursting equipment to crack the slab, and 2,750 metres of Tracksaw Cutting to both the up line and down line to divorce the concrete slab track from the walls.

The second phase commenced on 11 April and saw main blockade works undertaken, including Longitudinal Sawcuts, Hydraulic Bursting - one of the safest and most efficient methods of removing reinforced or mass concrete, brickwork, or natural stone.

It also utilised remote-controlled Robolition demolition equipment to remove 10,000 tonnes of existing concrete, reducing it to manageable sections for removal by train.

Upon installation of the new concrete slab, Corecut drilled 3,500 holes to a depth of up to three metres, helping to anchor concrete to bedrock.

Ahead of the overall project’s anticipated 8 August opening, 40-year-old track continues to be replaced, power lines installed, and platforms expanded by a network of dedicated contractors.

Robolition Equipment breaking up the slab after Hydraulic Bursting
Robolition Equipment breaking up the slab after Hydraulic Bursting

Managing director of Corecut, Finlay Crocker, said: “The Queen Street tunnel represented a significant challenge for our team, which worked diligently on a 24/7 basis in difficult conditions across almost 100 days from late March to late June.

“With the difficult environment and tight deadline in mind, it is particularly pleasing to us that we were able to complete the work safely, within budget, and nearly a week ahead of schedule, which is testament to the quality and work ethic of those involved.

“We believe that, in doing so, we provided a major boost to the project’s immediate progress in the run-up to the 8 August opening.

“We hope that our contribution to Queen Street lays the foundations for wider success, both for those still engaged on the project, and for the station’s long-term future.

“Quality, precision and continuous innovation are at the heart of every stage of our operation and represent fundamental parts of our culture as we look to deliver the best possible solutions.”

Location scheme project manager, Eddie Esdale of Story Contracting, added: “It was a fantastic effort throughout by everyone involved at Corecut.

“A very innovative solution was proposed and delivered, and without it, the project may not have progressed as smoothly as it did. A professional approach from all operatives on site ensured the safe delivery of the works ahead of programme.”



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