Llanbader Culvert Case Study

Project Name: Llanbader Culvert

Client: Network Rail

Duration: 3 weeks 

Description of thecontract:  

Provide excavator, operator and labour

Brief Description:

To de-veg and clear 700 yards of track side culvert, re pipe under a farmers crossing and reinstate the farmers crossing.

Overview of the project

The Llanbader culvert is a 700 yard system that runs adjacent to the track. The inlet water arrives from a culvert under the tracks and runs down stream 700 yards adjacent to the track then into a ditch along the farmers field and away.

The culvert over time collapses and gets overcome with vegetation. This hampers the flow of water and at times causes the water level to rise and flood onto the tracks causing wet beds and other water related problems.

Super Rod was instructed by Network rail de-veg along the 700-yard ditch to the outfall and then excavate the ditch to a suitable level where the water could flow away. Along the 700 yards was a farmer crossing, which had to be taken out temporarily whilst two 450mm pipes were installed into the ditch and then the farmers crossing reinstalled. Once complete the culvert under the tracks required clearing using high pressure water jetting.

Overview of work completed

The work faced several challenges, which were overcome in the following ways.

  • The site was in a remote location which hampered large machinery being brought in. This was overcome by using a 5-ton excavator with an experienced operator.
  • The site was exceptionally wet, and the ground was extremely water-logged. The operator used the cut vegetation to form a dam to restrict the water flow and stabilise the excavator from sinking. The spoil from the farmers crossing was also used to stabilise the ground as

there was no easy way to bring materials down to the work site.

  • The vegetation was in places denser than anticipated and the machinery used had to be upgraded to manage with the undergrowth. An experienced chainsaw crew were drafted in to clear the area.
  • The farmers crossing was of poor construction and required further works to future proof the design. A solution was arranged with two 450mm pipes installed to allow the water level to pass through unhindered and a new designed construction was used to make the reinstalled crossing stronger.
  • The water flowing through the system had a tidal influence, so care had to be taken as to which part of the system was workable and at what part of the day. This slowed the job down considerable at times, but once tidal information was obtained the job could be managed better.


  • Good relationships were gained with the local population and the land owners. Regular updates were given to explain how the job was progressing and any further works that were required.
  • Good collaboration with all parties included in both the planning stages and the execution of the job. Including the adjustments that had to be made on site during the job.
  • All works completed safely and to a high standard.