A successful track construction week in Groningen
Last week no trains were driving between the Groningen-Assen and the Groningen-Veendam/Winschoten/Weener stations.
We spent an entire week working on the tracks here under contract to ProRail. We not only worked on the Groningen Europapark and Haren stations, we also spent time working on the De Vork trainyard in Haren.
Groningen Europapark Station
The Groningen Europapark station forms part of the Groningen Spoorzone [Railway Zone] project. A fourth track and an additional platform will be constructed here to facilitate the newly adjusted timetable. To make space for this, a number of concrete walls were removed at the Helperzoom road side. Holes were first drilled into the walls, after which the walls were removed in smaller sections from the top down.
A noise barrier installed along Track 3 to reduce noise pollution had to be removed to make room for the new track and the new platform.
You cannot just install a new track without any preparation. Impact plates are required as a foundation for the ballast and the tracks. Furthermore, these plates as much as possible prevent subsidence and reduce noise pollution caused by vibrations. In total, eleven impact plates were installed.
An impact plate is a large, 1.5 x 4 metres, concrete plate. The plate is 40 centimetres thick and weighs 4,000 kilos.
After the impact plates were installed, the ballast was added.
De Vork Trainyard
A section break was relocated. It forms part of the overhead line and makes it possible for the trains to draw power in the future.
When the project is completed, the Dutch National Railways (NS) trains will drive from the Main Station to the new De Vork trainyard. A number of switches was installed to ensure the trains will be properly positioned there. One of these switches is a double slip switch or an English connection. A double slip switch is often used in areas where there is little room to change from one track to another or to fully cross over a track.
New rails were installed at the level of the double slip switch. The new rails were attached to the existing tracks using a thermite weld. This technique makes it possible to seamlessly weld the rails together.
The thermite weld is a special welding technique during which the temperature runs up as high as 2,400 degrees Celsius.