January 06, 2020 3 min read



Customer: Balfour Beatty Rail


Allow trackside workers safe access and walkways on rail wagons loaded with railway sleepers for unloading or moving.


Portable, lightweight, self-assembly aluminium access walkways; with ladder access and handled walkways, designed and manufactured specifically for rail wagons.


Trackside workers no-longer have to pull themselves onto wagons and balance on beams whilst unloading. Safer working conditions which are also more efficient. Portability and weight of walkways means they can be transferred from wagon to wagon without the need for tools or lifting equipment. Strengthening of health and safety procedures.

With operations throughout the UK, Far East and as far as Australia; this customer is a leading engineering, design and construction business for the rail industry. This rail infrastructure business operates a Zero Harm policy, to ensure the safety of it’s over 2,000 UK employees. The organisation approached Arbil for a Zero Harm solution to enable its workforce to work both safely and effectively when transferring railway sleepers both on and off wagons.

Both Arbil and its’ customers frequently review best practice systems to ensure workforces have the tools needed to work both effectively and safely. On a job site visit, the unloading of railway sleepers was witnessed by a senior member of the customer’s team and discussions began with Arbil as to how this task could be made both easier for the individual carrying out the task and also strengthen health and safety procedures. Brian Timmington, Arbil’s Engineering Manager explains,

“It had come to our customers attention, through a job site visit that their methods for moving railway sleepers from and too wagons wasn’t as effective and safe as it could be. Previously the employees who carried out these tasks had to climb and pull themselves up onto the wagons and balance on the sleepers whilst attaching them to the lifting equipment to move them. Although this process had never led to any accidents, our customer always looks to improve and meet the highest possible safety standards.”

The customer now had a challenge that it needed a solution too; at this point, Arbil, its supplier of over 20 years was contacted. Timmington continues,

“We often get approached with ad hoc requests from this customer, as with constantly wanting to develop and improve its processes, they need a supplier who can be flexible and design and develop solutions for them quickly but without compromising on safety. We were invited onto site to see the challenge first hand and took measurements from the railway wagons so we could get to work straight away.”

Arbil designed, created a prototype for the customer to test and then delivered a full fleet of Access Walkways. Timmington, gives details of the design,

“We realised that although being fully functional as an access point and walkway onto rail wagons was the primary objective; for these walkways to be practical they had to be easily portable, with quick fixings and lightweight enough to be man handled. Aluminium 6082 T6 was used in the construction of the walkways to make them lightweight and moveable by hand, and the clip mechanism attachment to the wagon requires no tools. The walkways are interlocking so they can be attached together to run the length of a wagon; with end pieces having fixed ladders as the access points onto the walkway.”

The customer now has a fleet of Access Walkways in use and the use of these has now been made part of its safety policy. Timmington concludes,

“These walkways have enabled the customer to strengthen its Zero Harm policy. Not only do they meet their strict safety requirements but they improve the efficiency of the tasks their employees undertake and in short make their day to day tasks easier.”

If you want to discuss a project with us or bespoke product, don't hesitate in contacting the Rail Team on 01384 424 008 or rail@arbil.co.uk

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