With railway travel continuing to be a popular method of public transport, Chatham Station in Kent decided that it wanted to improve the travel experience for all users by creating step free access between the two platforms as part of its access for all (AfA) scheme. This new accessible platform would provide a better means of movement between platforms for all users.
Creating step free access is a simple enough task for delivery team BAM Nuttall, but they realised an opportunity existed to experiment with ultra-low carbon material Cemfree, specifically Cemfree Optima, and lower the embodied CO2e of the project. BAM Nuttall had previously been introduced to Cemfree a year earlier.
The challenge arose when Cemfree would have to prove itself as a like for like replacement for Portland Cement (PC) to Network Rail in order for it to be specified. Network rail outlined the parameters that Cemfree would have to meet, which included its ability to reach design strength, pumpability, health and safety requirements, CO2 savings and guaranteed supply. To prove that they could meet these requirements, Cemfree, along with BAM Nuttall, prepared a technical document, providing comprehensive technical literature and data.
As well as this document it was noted that Cemfree conforms to BSI PAS 8820:2016, a standards document providing alternate means of specification from the Series 1700 for Portland Cement.
Having proved that Cemfree could be a like for like replacement for Portland Cement for this application, they worked collaboratively with BAM Nuttall and Network rail developing the design and methodology to enable Cemfree to be used.
In preparation of the main pour, Hanson had undertaken trial mixes of Cemfree, including rheology assessment and slump retention to check the mix design for pumpability and ease of placement.
The pour lasted 10 hours, pumping out over 300m3 of cement-free concrete, the largest Cemfree pour to date.
By using Cemfree, 62 tonnes of CO2e had been saved, entirely by replacing the cement with Cemfree. This massive saving is equivalent to emissions generated from driving 230,000 miles in a diesel car or flying from London to New York and back 62 times!
All of this Cemfree concrete now supports the foundations for Chatham Stations step free accessible platforms as part of their AfA programme. This works concurrently with the government’s own AfA programme, ensuring all platforms are free from obstacles and have accessible between platforms.
The collaboration between Cemfree, BAM Nuttall and Network Rail helped to embed a process where Cemfree can be used on future projects, to deliver even more huge carbon savings.
As a result of these massive carbon savings, BAM UK & Ireland and Network Rail received the top award for Environmental Excellence at the National Rail awards.
“Railways should be for everyone and although we always have more to do, it’s great to see Chatham becoming fully accessible. This investment means that more people can benefit from step-free access and with the help of funding from the DfT we’re able to make sure people can navigate their way around them safely and with ease.” “In addition, this was a fantastic milestone in our sustainability strategy, bringing Cemfree low-carbon concrete to the railway for the first time. Thanks to everyone who made this project happen”.
“It has been great to work with the BAM Nuttall and Network Rail teams to achieve our first major pour on a Network Rail scheme. Not only did we save a significant amount of CO2e, but we have demonstrated the ability to specify Cemfree in the future.”