Designing Out Waste

Reducing waste, reducing cost in Railway Systems

All our railway systems projects, which involve the design and construction of new train stabling facilities including sidings, accommodation buildings, carriage washing machines, controlled emission toilets and walkways, identified actions to reduce waste in design and construction.

Specific actions included:

Modular and pre-fabrication

At Bedford we used Hering Bau modular precast concrete platform and reclaimed steel tubular piled foundations, which provided a number of benefits such as; reducing the volume of concrete used (320 tonnes) and volume of material requiring excavation (115m3), saved 15 lorry movements and reduced transport related carbon emissions, reduced the construction programme, disruption to the local community and improved safety on site through limiting possessions.

Reduced track gradient

At Peterborough we increased the gradient of the track in the sidings to reduce the volume excavated material and therefore waste. This led to a saving of 500m3 of excavated material, 1.5 tonnes of CO2
and £10,000 in disposal costs. At Horsham we reduced the need for excavation and subsequent fill materials site by also reducing track level and layout alterations. This identified opportunities to reuse 950 tonnes of material on and off-site generating £16,000 of savings.

Reducing material in design

We made simple design changes such as reducing the size of the concrete bases for our Relocatable Equipment Building and extending our existing signal structures rather than installing new cantilevers and supporting foundations. By reducing material in design we reduced both waste and costs and minimised disruption to our community through reduced noise, lighting, deliveries, time on site.

Re-using materials on site

At Peterborough we reused 1,305 tonnes of soil and stones to raise levels around new TOC accommodation saving £10,000 and reducing transport related CO2 emissions. At Brighton we reused 100% of onsite materials use as bedding material along troughing routes, track works and to build up the ground level for roadways, access tracks and authorised walking routes saving over 450 tonnes and £43,000 in waste disposal costs.

Reusing NR NSC serviceable spares

At Peterborough and Bedford we re-used serviceable spares such as concrete sleepers and rail from NR’s National Supply Chain. At Peterborough the reuse of 3,400 concrete sleepers saved £92,000 and helped avoid 209 tonnes of embodied carbon. At Bedford the reuse of 2186 sleepers and 567 metres of rail saved over £75,000 and avoided 250 tonnes of waste.

Community wood recycling

Across our depots and stabling portfolio we donated all our waste wood that was not re-used on site to a Community Wood Recycling Project (a local not for profit social enterprise) which provides employment and training to long term employed and socially disadvantaged people.

Donating materials

At Blackfriars and Farringdon we donated redundant materials to the London Wildlife Trust for use in conservation and community projects.

Signalling innovation on point

Recycled points markers

For our signalling projects we replaced traditional cast iron points markers with a product made from 100% recycled milk bottle tops. The benefits included reducing the use of virgin materials, recycling waste, reduced installation time from 20 minutes per marker to 7-8 minutes and reduced cost from £65 per marker to £38.

The recycled markers also offered greater durability, did not compromise product quality or performance and offered a lifespan of 40yrs.

Re-use of wood shuttering

At Brighton we re-used 80% of wood shuttering from previous TLP project sites. Typically our wood shuttering was re-used up to 4 times across the project saving costs and disposal to landfill.

Further information

For more information on this Learning Legacy case study please email

Case studies

Designing Out Waste: Stations and Civils

Reviewing the identified actions undertaken to reduce waste during design and construction of all major Thameslink Programme station and civils projects.

Designing Out Waste: Thameslink Programme

How Thameslink Programme used its power as client to set and raise the performance of the programme and its supply chain to reduce waste.

Designing Out Waste: London Bridge station

Collaboratively challenging the design and construction process to reduce waste during the redevelopment of London Bridge station.

CEEQUAL: Farringdon station

How CEEQUAL helped both measure and drive sustainability performance during the redevelopment of Farringdon station.

CEEQUAL: London Bridge station

This CEEQUAL case study assesses how sustainability was integrated into the design and construction of London Bridge station.