Network Rail installs plastic bridge

Network Rail has installed a footbridge of made from a type of plastic called Fibre Reinforced Polymer in St Austell

London-headquartered Network Rail, the company in charge of Britain’s railway infrastructure, has installed the first footbridge of its kind made from a type of plastic called FRP (Fibre Reinforced Polymer) in St Austell, Cornwall.

Network Rail invested £435,000 in testing FRP and manufacturing the bridge. It is now looking at whether FRP can be used to renew bridges on other parts of the rail network in lieu of traditional materials such as steel, concrete or timber.

John Gill, Network Rail’s area general manager for the west country said: ‘Network Rail is committed to looking for innovative engineering solutions and the new footbridge at St Austell is a great example of this. FRP is very strong, but much lighter than steel and it also has the advantage of being more cost effective to maintain. Unlike steel which tends to rust and regularly needs repainting, this new bridge will need virtually no maintenance, which means Network Rail can concentrate its resources on improving the railway for passengers.’

The bridge will open to pedestrians on 3 November.