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New power supply needed for Barnes Station

New power supply needed for Barnes Station

As part of Network Rail’s Access for All programme, the power supply to Barnes railway station needs to be upgraded to support the new lifts as well as existing services.

The existing supply, which runs under the public footpath from the substation near Queen’s Ride, cannot be upgraded or replaced in situ. As a result, a new high-power cable needs to be installed in a conduit between the substation and Barnes railway station.

Richmond Borough Council’s Parks Team and Ecology Officer, as well as Barnes Common Limited, have investigated all available options with UK Power Networks, Network Rail, and their contractor Octavius.
Digging a new trench under the public footpath has been dismissed as it would be damaging to the roots of the many well-established trees which form an avenue along this path. Many of these trees are already showing signs of stress, and it is feared damage to the roots could prove terminal in some cases. Taking a route going into the woods to the south of the path raises similar concerns for trees.

Three options across the meadow have therefore been considered:

  • the shortest direct route from the substation to the platform;
  • going under the desire line path until opposite the first part of the compound and then cutting across to the platform;
  • running as much of the route as possible under the desire line path and then a short section off to the platform.

The first two have been rejected as they both pass through areas of high value for biodiversity. The third, using as much as possible of the worn desire line path, has been selected as the least damaging to the flora and fauna of the meadow. It is also likely to be the least damaging if in future the conduit requires any maintenance.

The work will involve cutting a 600mm wide trench (approximately the width of the desire line path) to a depth of 1.25 m, laying the conduit pipe in sand, backfilling with some soil and then laying a warning tape, before completing the backfilling. Where turf will be affected this will be cut, stored, and replaced. Work within tree protection zones will be hand dug. The topsoil replaced along the desire line will be checked to make sure that glass etc is not left near the surface. Where the route passes close to orchard trees these will be fully protected.

The work will require a fenced off strip 5m wide, and the grass within this will be protected by plywood or other load bearing barrier to carry the digger and spoil. The timing of the works will be confirmed in due course, but are expected to commence mid-June and the work of conduit laying should be completed within 2-4 weeks of fencing off. The power cable pulling/installation should not require any further disruption to the meadow. It is likely that the footpath by the substation will need to be closed temporarily to dig the channel for the conduit, as well as a pit/manhole where the connection can be made.

The safety of people and wildlife at all times is fully covered in the proposed work method. If you require further information, please contact [email protected].

Photo: Andrew Wilson (@wildlondonpics)