Network Rail’s new 300,000 sq ft national distribution centre (NDC) is located on the site of the former Peugeot plant at Ryton, Warwickshire.
The £25m centre is a significant hub for Network Rail’s National Delivery Service (NDS), positioned at a convenient location for access to major main lines and with direct access to the A45 and the motorway network. The NDC represents a major cost saving exercise for Network Rail, reducing the cost of the railway by centralising previously leased properties in Lichfield, Worcester and Ludgershall. It also helps cut Network Rail’s carbon footprint by reducing road fleet mileage. With a standard eave height of 12.5m, the NDC ‘future-proofs’ the ongoing requirements of Network Rail’s NDS with the capacity of the facility being more than the combined storage of the previously leased properties.
The NDC stocks railway components and systems sufficient to meet UK rail network demand. As opposed to sleepers, ballast and rail, the NDC holds a varied range of 120,000 small parts ranging from light bulbs to rail clips. The building, delivered by Buckingham Group Contracting on behalf of developer Prologis, has been designed to be BREEAM rated – an environmental standard, and has created 100 jobs since it was opened in July 2013.
The initial racking specification and layout for the warehouse was prepared by both Network Rail and DHL project teams ‘off-plan’ (DHL having secured the distribution contract for the NDC). The preparatory work for this initial phase also reviewed whether the concrete floor was capable of fully accommodating the racking system. On verification, the density of the flooring concrete slabs was increased by 50% to sustain the weight of both the racking and goods.
Network Rail invited suppliers to tender for the racking design and installation. The tender process which covered 40 commercial and operation questions, was primarily based on cost and meeting time constraints; a timeline had already been established for the installation and suppliers were required to adhere tothe schedule. Quality, accreditation and liability insurance were all related factors.
Following considerable interest from a number of parties, Link 51 were awarded the contract.
- Utilising approximately two-thirds of the warehouse capacity, Link 51 provided a wide aisle racking solution designed to store Network Rail’s products. By utilising the full height of the building (12.5m eaves) Link 51 were able to provide Network Rail with over 37000 pallet locations within the main pallet racking. Due to the nature of Network Rail’s products, Link 51 utilised their super heavy duty racking product with rack protection consisting of floor fixed steel uprights and heavy duty end barriers. Within certain bays of racking, Link 51 fitted coil cradles to stores drums of electrical cable, ranging from 450 – 2000mm diameter.
- A separate 19 lane drive-in racking installation for bulk products, located to one side of the warehouse, was also installed, providing an additional 1800 pallet locations for Network Rail’s slow moving items.
- To accommodate the storage of irregular and outsized items, such as pallets of spares parts, engine components, rail bogies and long electrical items, Link 51 designed and manufactured a bespoke racking solution.
By using Link 51, Network Rail benefited from:
- UK-based in-house manufacturing capability
- Fully managed market-leading storage solutions
- Extensive project management expertise
- Substantial knowledge and experience
- High-quality product range combining strength, durability and operational reliability
“The racking installation has doubled our capacity and realised a cost benefit. Link 51 fully exceeded our expectations, enabling us to open the warehouse and move product across a month in advance. The installation teams in particular were superb – I cannot praise them highly enough – brilliant!”
Teresa Beadle, Project Manager
NDS Rail Components & Systems