TPA’s lightweight foam RRAPs are just the ticket at Colthrop

01 Nov


Lightweight foam rapid rail access points (RRAPs) from the Rapid Rail Access division of TPA provided a “perfect” solution to a short lived but challenging maintenance project for Network Rail.

The project

The Reading Delivery Unit (DU) of Network Rail required a temporary access solution. This was because the existing one, at Colthrop level crossing in Berkshire, was undergoing maintenance. The crossing was removed for a total of 36 hours to allow work on the ballast underneath.

The crossing is the only access to a busy industrial/residential area where vehicles of all sizes use the facility on a 24/7 basis. Although local businesses knew Network Rail would be closing the road, access was still needed by a few cars … and Network Rail who also used TPA’s panels for the RRV (Road Rail Vehicle) carrying out the maintenance work.


Network Rail’s permanent (Track) supervisor for Reading DU had spent literally weeks trying to find a temporary emergency access solution, including a temporary crossing bridge to span the 9m2 gap. He had almost given up when he contacted Aaron Penfold, sales representative for TPA’s Rapid Rail Access division. Aaron quickly suggested the lightweight foam rail ramps. Approved for use by RRVs up to 15 tonnes per axle and to a maximum 30 tonnes gross weight, they were the “perfect” solution.


TPA’s foam panels did exactly what they said “on the tin”! They are lightweight, meaning two people can install them in approximately 10 to 15 minutes, without any machinery whatsoever. This also means that at only 32kg for a 2m long panel, removal is extremely quick, allowing either emergency access or maintenance works to proceed, and be reinstalled at an equally fast pace.

Aaron said: “The section supervisor contacted me to assist in providing something that was quick and simple to install, which would allow emergency access across the level crossing at short notice. A product was needed that would not only allow access but also ensure the surface was of similar height to the road to ensure vehicles could pass over safely.

“The customer sent me dimensions of the level crossing, so I sat and calculated which parts would be required in each section of the track. I explained the installation and the team were impressed with how quick and simple it was to install and remove. It received great feedback from site as they had been searching for a system for a while and found nothing until I suggested trialling this method.”

Client comment

Network Rail’s permanent (Track) supervisor for Reading DU,  said: “I’d nearly given up until I asked TPA and they explained about these temporary panels and they were perfect. They did exactly what I needed them to.

“I tried finding a temporary crossing/bridge to span the gap but there was nothing suitable that could be lifted in and out as required and at the same time allow us to carry out our maintenance. This was the only suitable system I could find.

“TPA are a great company. They were very helpful in getting them to me at late notice and the product is perfect for the job we required. We would certainly use them again when the work suits.”