AN EFFECTIVE SOLUTION FOR THE RESTORATION OF RAIL TRACK GUTTERS
The vast majority of stations and railway buildings were built during the Victorian era most noted for architectural excellence and engineering innovation.
Stations particularly were the “face” of the railways and great design and build care was exercised with the result that many
of these are among the greatest public buildings ever created. Even small stations had character and visual appeal.
The “designed in” longevity of these creations is evident even today when many structures can be refurbished with relative ease using modern materials where appropriate, usually the roof; and traditional restoration techniques when required by listed building status.
The result is always a building restored to an “as new” condition but with improvements to serve the needs of today and the future. It is most often a testament to the huge skills and ability of the originators coupled with modern materials, techniques and expertise.
During these refurbishments, the gutters, which can be manufactured from a variety of materials but most likely from Cast Iron or Lead lined timber on older buildings and prefabricated steel and aluminium on more modern buildings, will most likely need to be either renewed or lined.
Sometimes it is possible to renew or replace existing gutters providing there is access to one or both sides of the gutter to permit removal , for example if the roof is being replaced, but is often totally impractical in any other circumstances.
Quite often the gutters are part of a listed structure and must be retained.
This provides a restoration problem, particularly if the gutters are already leaking. The long term repair of existing, leaking gutter joints can be very difficult and most repairs consist of bandage and bitumen applications or other coating systems, neither of which will work long term as the existing gutters cannot be cleaned sufficiently to allow correct bonding and leaking joints can often “move” beyond the capabilities of the repair materials used.
A practical and long term solution is to line the existing gutters and Unifold™, which is a metal and membrane lining system, offers exceptional life expectancy in excess of 50 years and very often better than the original gutter.
Any lining, such as Unifold™, should be an engineered solution to closely follow the profile of the existing gutter cavity. The existing installation and its serving components must be surveyed correctly, preferably by the manufacturer, to ensure that the resulting design solution is carefully considered for capacity and drainage capability, calculated to current standards and any thermal movement of the existing installation is balanced by the lining system using expansion joints where necessary.
Unifold™ has been used on many occasions to line gutters on Railway buildings such as Norwich Crown Point Rail, Chester Station and Southend Station to name but a few, however, most notably
Lime Street Station, Liverpool received a Unifold installation to all its gutters as part of the last major refurbishment some 11 years ago.
THE ROOF AT LIME STREET STATION
Gutter lining systems should not always be considered inferior or secondary to new gutters, in reality they may be considered to be far superior providing the system can demonstrate all or most of the following:
- Full survey and design service with calculations to current standards provided by the system manufacturer.
- Effective replication of the existing gutter
- Provision of expansion/contraction facilities and the ability, when required, to induce movement in the lining system to correspond with the existing installation.
- Ability to enlarge outlets or to introduce additional outlets with relative ease.
- The ability to be easily repaired throughout its lifespan
- And finally the system should be well engineered from design and manufacture through to installation and have a proven, long and trouble free lifespan to enable the provision of an effective guarantee that not only includes materials and manufacture but installation as well.
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