Platform Extension - Audley End Station, Essex

Platform extension is ‘light’ work for Leca® LWA

Network Rail’s nationwide station up-grade programme required platform extensions to be carried out without hindrance to existing commuter operations. With speed and safety in mind and the use of Leca® LWA was a major contributor to rapid completion of this type of construction project. At the Audley End British Rail Station the platform extension had to be constructed over poor soil conditions where extensive vegetation roots had to be removed. Substantial foundations and support walls were constructed by main contractor J. Murphy & Sons Limited before more than 200m³ of Leca® LWA was placed as the compacted base infill to support the platform surface. A totally natural product, Leca® LWA is a lightweight expanded clay formed by heating and firing natural glacial clay in a rotary kiln at up to 1150°C. This process transforms the clay into lightweight ceramic granules that have a hard shell and porous core. The material is extremely light with a bulk density of just 0.3 tonnes per cubic metre. At Audley End this low weight advantage reduced overall loadings on both the retaining walls and soil base. Firas Mageed, project manager for J. Murphy & Sons Limited, was delighted with Leca® LWA and said: “I would recommend it for this type of construction. It was very easy to handle, very quickly placed as it flows easily and the material compacts very quickly without heavy equipment. This kept us on schedule. Where we needed solid bases for platform furniture it was easy to form a concrete pouring with simple formers.”