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A crucial part of Rochester’s new state-of-the-art railway station slowly slid into place on a bed of air at the weekend.
The £1.8 million pre-constructed underpass was delicately slotted into a hole cut into the railway embankment. It will link the new station, due to open next year, with Corporation Street and the town centre.
The 75ft long, 900 tonne concrete structure was put on air jacks pumped full of compressed nitrogen, rising up like a hovercraft and pushed gently along the tracks and into its final position.
It is the first time the engineering process has been used on a railway contract in the UK and it was watched by an audience of specialist contractors and Medway councillors keen to witness an integral part of the multi-million pound Rochester Riverside regeneration project.
It took up to 160 workers working round the clock to shift 7,000 of land spoil to make the 40 metre cut to the riverside.
No trains were running through the Medway Towns over Easter as the work was carried out. A replacement bus service was in place between Meopham and Gillingham.
The new station, 500 metres up the line from the current one in the High Street, is one of the biggest schemes in the south east undertaken by Network Rail.
It is part of an overall £147 million scheme to improve the railway network through the Medway Towns.
The new terminal is due to be finished by December 2015 and is costing £26 million.
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