Wiltshire Publications

Issue 467 – Westbury launches Britain’s first rail recycling hub

The rail green movement has been started in Westbury, as Network Rail begins recycling the first 10,000 tonnes of track materials at its brand new recycling centre in the town.

The Westbury site also marks the launch of Britain’s very first dedicated purpose-built rail recycling hub. To date, the new facility has recruited seven employees from the local area.
Built to cater for 25% of the country’s disused track materials, the Westbury recycling centre is integral to Network Rail’s wider aim of building a greener and more cost-effective railway.
The centre is among three hubs to be built in Britain, and it will bring £2m worth of benefits, contributing to the company’s target in cutting costs by 24% in five years. It will also assist in boosting Network Rail’s rate of re-use/recycling rail material waste to 95% by 2014.
Martin Elwood, director for Network Rail’s national delivery service said, “A good railway not only contributes to the environment, it also contributes to the success of the country.
“Network Rail has always been working hard to drive cost efficiency within the business, because we understand an affordable and sustainable rail service also forms part of an integrated transport system fit for the 21st century. Our recycling hubs in Westbury and across the country are part of this vision.”
Most of the 110,000 sleepers will be reused on the railway. In addition, 30,000 tonnes – the weight of around 150 trains – of waste steel from rail and fixtures will be recycled. These will be supplied to the UK’s steel industry for manufacturing or for export, contributing to the UK’s £2.9bn trade in steel. Each tonne of scrap recycled by the steel industry saves 1.9 tonnes of iron ore and 0.6 tonnes of coal.
The Westbury centre is linked to the railway, so that materials can be transported by trains to remove the need for up to around 1,200 lorry journeys per year. The centre is also built with recycled fixtures and fittings, including rail, lighting and office accommodation, and with drainage that is equipped with an automated dust-busting system.
Around 90% of the 1.48m tonnes of construction and maintenance waste, including concrete, steel rail and used ballast, were re-used, recycled and recovered last year by Network Rail.