Arcow Quarry - Story Contracting and Aspin’s ground investigations

Arcow Quarry - Story Contracting and Aspin’s ground investigations

Client: Network Rail/Tarmac

Date/Duration: Completed 2015

Project Overview

Aspin provided a comprehensive package of ground investigations to support Story Contracting’s delivery of track and civils works in a £6m scheme to reconnect Tarmac’s quarry near Settle with the national rail network. The quarry is in the Yorkshire Dales National Park where policies are in place to minimise road haulage.

Demanding timescales and engineering challenges were overcome to complete the complex programme of works in just 14 months – a feat described by Network Rail’s project manager as “exemplary” and a “spectacular achievement”.

The project needed a significant earthworks solution in a challenging area that included an SSSI to create a new, 640m long embankment, 300m of pre-curved track plus three new sidings in addition to a refurbished footbridge and new walkways.

Aspin’s award-winning ground investigations team was commissioned to provide a wide range of essential data on the ground conditions over a 26-week project. The works took into account the special environmental needs of the site, the need for access over frequently waterlogged ground, groundwater monitoring, environmental survey and in depth sampling, investigation and analysis.

The Solution

The Arcow Quarry site posed significant challenges for the access of plant and equipment, with frequently flooded surrounding ground which meant the works had to be efficiently planned.

The 26 week Aspin scheme of fieldwork and post-fieldwork monitoring involved the formation of 40 exploratory holes, some of which were up to 25 metres deep. A variety of techniques were used for the exploratory holes, including windowless sampling, shell and auger, rotary dynamic
sampling and machine-dug trial pitting. The majority were undertaken during midweek daytime shifts, although some weekend possessions were required to access certain locations.

The investigations examined:

• The extents of soft material and the extent and depth of clay lamination
• Depth of rock head
• Groundwater monitoring instrumentation to confirm the level of the groundwater table throughout the site
• Sequence of superficial deposits within and under the embankment.

The Result

Aspin provided full project management for the ground investigation, delivering all works on time and within budget to ensure a smooth transition into Story Construction’s civil engineering works.

Chris Sidwell, Construction Manager, Story Contracting said: “We relied heavily on the integrity and quality of the ground investigation information from Aspin for our overall work planning and ensuring we delivered the promise. The whole team were very collaborative, professional and friendly too.”

Network Rail’s Scheme Project Manager, Joelle Caldarelli confirmed NWR’s satisfaction with the result, reflecting well on Story Contracting’s overall performance and its suppliers including Aspin.

“Story Contracting’s performance delivering this complex and comprehensive project has been exemplary. Despite demanding timescales and engineering challenges, a spectacular achievement has been realised in only 14 months due to their hard work and collaborative spirit.”


  • Rail

Services Provided

  • Consultancy
  • Ground Investigation

Specific Services

  • Groundworks & Earthworks

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