The winter storms of February 2014 took a heavy toll on the Dawlish coastline, breaching 90m of seawall and severing a key rail link to the south west, with a huge impact on the local infrastructure and economy.

Staines Hire and sister company Staines Trailers specialists in the hire and manufacture of commercial specialist trailers were called upon to design, manufacture and supply heavy-duty bespoke transport trailers with the specification of safely transporting concrete section of the retaining walls underneath the currently in use railway. These bespoke solutions aided the main contractor BAM Ritchie’s as part of the urgent works to get Dawlish back on track.

Phase 1 of the works relied heavily on the rapid instillation of 96 precast L-shaped concrete retaining wall panels, which we developed a specialist step frame low loader for, this trailer complete with its turntable and front dolly axle aided in safely supporting the concrete weights while also maintaining the required low ground clearance. These L sections were used both behind the parapet seawall and the retaining wall which together formed a u-shaped channel, which supports the railway line and access road way.

Phase 2 of the works required 152 profiled precast seawall units and countless 12, 14 and 16m pile tubes to replace 19 steel shipping containers, which had been installed as a temporary breakwater following the initial breach. To solve the transport challenges on this phase of the project we developed an ‘adjustable’ transport trailer which could adjust the approach and departure angles of the steel tubes so that they could past under the railway line. Due to the lengths of the tubes, height of the underpass bridge and the height of the road way on the land side of the railway we had to develop a trailer that could adjust the position of the tubes several time in order to get them through. We modelled up a 3 dimensional Site which allowed us to test the angles of approach and departure on our trailer before manufacture, this helped us produce this very bespoke trailer with adjustable drawbar and adjustable suspension heights.

The majority of the precast sections were shipped from Teignmouth docks to two enormous barge platforms, the largest of which featured a 160 tonne crawler crane used to lift the precast units into place. The units were placed into position between the sea and the railway line on an in-situ slab of fibre reinforced concrete, forming a plinth along the length of the works.

Specialist trailer design has enabled us as a company to help many contractors over the years, safely optimising the workflow of a construction project, which in turn maintains deadlines, helps improve safety and simplifies the Risk / method statement process.