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Link 51 doubles storage for Network Rail’s National Hub

Network Rail moved into its new £25 million national distribution centre (NDC) in Warwickshire a month early, thanks to storage solutions experts Link 51.

As the market leader for the supply of steel storage products, Link 51 was able to work quickly to manufacture and install heavy duty racking at the former Peugeot plant at Ryton. The design also achieved savings for Network Rail and doubled the organisation’s storage capacity.

Link 51, which was awarded the contract to fit out the 300,000 sq ft centre after competitive tender, was called upon to design a robust and efficient storage system that would enable workers to access quickly the 120,000 railway components, including rail clips, cables and light bulbs that are stored there.

Using about two thirds of the space available and making full use of the height of the building, which reaches 12.5 metres to the eaves, Link 51 installed its super heavy duty racking with rack protection, floor-fixed steel uprights and heavy duty end barriers and provided more than 37,000 pallet locations.

Some racking bays had fitted coil cradles to store drums of electrical cable, which range in size from 450 to 2000mm diameter, while a separate 19 lane drive-in racking installation was added for bulk products – providing an additional 1,800 pallet locations for Network Rail’s slow-moving items.

As experts in bespoke design, Link 51 also created and manufactured a racking solution for a range of irregular and outsized items, such as pallets of spares parts, engine components, rail bogies and long electrical items.

Teresa Beadle, Project Manager, NDS Rail Components & Systems, praised Link 51 for its work to create a substantial storage facility at the hub, which replaced three smaller ones at Lichfield, Worcester, and Ludgershall.

“The racking installation has doubled our capacity and realised a cost benefit,” she said. “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!”

Simon Baugh, Link 51’s Marketing Director, said that the project provided the team with the perfect opportunity to demonstrate its skills and knowledge for creating complex storage solutions for very busy environments.

The design and installation team worked closely with Network Rail and DHL, which secured the distribution contract for the NDC, to make sure that every inch of space was used effectively.

“Network Rail made it clear that it wanted this hub to have the capacity for further growth and our design means that there is scope for that,” said Simon. “The huge range of products that are stored there presented its own challenges in the design but the flexibility of our storage solutions meant we could accommodate every detail comfortably.”

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