Polystyrene platform steals the show at Peterborough

Polystyrene platform steals the show at Peterborough

Timelapse video released today shows a modular polystyrene platform being installed as part of the Peterborough investment project by Network Rail.

To reduce disruption to passengers during construction the extension of platform 1 was cut from 20 weeks to just 20 days.

Three options were considered; a traditional concrete build, modular steel construction or modular polystyrene. Although widely used in Europe, the modular polystyrene option has only been trialled once before in the UK by Network Rail, but given it is available as Network Rail standard design and would be achievable within the timescale, the team opted for the new technology for the extension.

The project team and contractors, Carillion, worked with Megatech Projects to develop the design and deliver installation of the 30 polystyrene blocks and matching concrete surface panels used to build the new platform.

Delivered in just 73 hours including approximately half of the time to remove existing infrastructure and prepare the site, the reduced people time on site improved safety and has proven to be an excellent demonstration of sustainable delivery with very little waste/spoil generated and a design life of up to 60 years.


Phil Verster, Route Managing Director for Network Rail, said: “The work at Peterborough at Christmas was crucial to our programme improving capacity and reliability on the East Coast Main Line. The innovation demonstrated here has paid real dividends for the project. We need to embrace these new technologies and adopt new ways of working if we are to deliver our essential improvements whilst maintaining an acceptable level of service for our customers throughout our next five years of investment.

“This platform extension is a good example of what can be achieved through challenging the norm and putting the customer at the heart of everything we do.”

Adopting the modular polystyrene technology has delivered significant benefits for the project both in terms of improved safety and reduced the time taken to complete the work. This method has been proven to be four times quicker to construct than traditional build and between two to three times faster than using a steel modular solution. The design eliminated the need for foundations, which contributed to reducing construction time, minimised the risk of buried service strikes and meant less material from excavation.

Programme Manager, Steve Coe who managed the project added: “Platform 1 traditionally has extremely heavy footfall so minimising passenger disruption was key, making the modular polystyrene design the best option.

“The modular design and speed of build generated real tangible benefits to the project and it’s a method I will certainly consider adopting for future projects.”