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Clearing UXO in Munich

German and British SafeLane colleagues collaborated - with both manpower and technology - for clearing UXO on the site of the largest rail project in the world in Munich.

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SafeLane clears both German and British land and waters of WWII ordnance, and the German and British teams recently collaborated to support the advancement of the largest rail project in the world in Munich.

SafeLane UK sent key staff and employed new methodology to help improve efficiency and increase productivity to ensure the critical project remained on track.

What is the largest rail project in the world?

The largest rail project currently under construction is a €3.85bn development in Munich to overhaul its overloaded rail network.

The phase underway currently is to replace an existing tunnel, which was built in 1972 when around 220,000 passengers used the Munich S-Bahn every day.  Today there are around 840,000 daily passengers, lines and tunnels have reached capacity - and so the massive project is to keep Munich moving.

The construction includes additional tracks and pointwork, two flyovers and a double-track steel arch bridge on the surface section between Laim and Donnersberger Bridge.

A second tunnel will relieve the existing line beneath the city centre, which carries up to 60 trains an hour and has reached its capacity limit.

The project involves constructing a 14km line from Laim in the west to Leuchtenbergring in the east - running parallel with the existing line, with a 7km twin-bore tunnel between Donnersberger Bridge and Munich East Station.

When it opens in 2026, the new tunnel will travel a very similar route to the old one, except that it will be longer, passing under the belly of the city for 10 kilometres from Donnersberger Bridge to East Station.

It will also only stop in three stations: one 41 metres below the Main Station, a new station at Marienhof, and one 36 metres under East Station.

Clearing Trunk Line 2 of unexploded ordnance: supporting Munich's S-Bahn expansion

SafeLane Deutschland was contracted to clear acres of land and thousands of pile foundation positions of unexploded ordnance.

The ground type they encountered on site was heavy gravel, and this hindered the productivity of daily drilling operations. 

Drillers were only achieving 6 positions a day; the drilling methodology was breaking the ground up on return. 

In order to support operations and keep the client on time and budget, SafeLane deployed a highly experienced Lead Driller to Germany from the UK to solve the problems. 

The Lead Driller brought technology to Germany that had never been used in country before, and changed the methodology of drilling from a solid to a hollow auger.

Productivity increased to enable the clearance of 50 positions a day - and the entire UXO clearance project was delivered ahead of schedule. 

Clearance tolerances were increased also from 0.75m to 2m thanks to SafeLane's experience, expertise and specialist techniques. 

This project, the largest rail project in the world currently under construction, has 52,000 pile positions in total, includes a 7.5km long sheet piling wall, 6 additional rail tracks, bridges and tunnel works to be built by 2026.

As a global company with over 1,000 people working on international projects, on land and at sea, we work closely between all our business units.

In the example of this project, we were able to share our expertise and knowledge between Germany and the UK, train colleagues in new ways of working and collectively we ensured that the project remains on track for success. 

Other rail projects SafeLane has supported include:

  • HS2. London-Euston station to Watford.
  • MOD Railway Sidings, Bicester
  • Bridge replacement at Gipsy Patch near Bristol
  • Platform extension, Sandwich Railway Station in Kent
  • Ilford Rail Depot
  • Crossrail - Canary Wharf
  • Crossrail – Liverpool Street
  • Crossrail – Whitechapel
  • Crossrail – C510
  • Ramsgate Railway Station
  • Gravesend Railway Station
  • West Ealing Railway Station
  • Tipton Railway Station
  • Battenhall Railway Bridge
  • Railway Freight Development
  • Crossrail C696 Plumstead Sidings


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