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Network Rail Flow Bridge


Network Rail Flow Bridge



Network Rail



Design Team

Epsilon Optics, FoFlo, Jacobs, KS Composites, Q-Railing, Rapid Root and Sui Generis


Railway Innovation Award 2021

Composites UK Award 2021 (Runner-up)

Building Innovation Award 2021 (Shortlisted)

NCE TechFest Award 2021 (Shortlisted)

Challenging standard conventions through innovation

Knight Architects was appointed by Network Rail to help develop an innovative new standard footbridge design as part of their nationwide drive to improve safety at level crossings. The brief also sought to find an alternative to the standard, heavy steel footbridge commonly used on the railway.

The project challenged the design team to find a way to deliver a user-focused footbridge that is not only cheaper but quicker to produce than a steel equivalent, and adaptable to a wide range of locations. By using a range of modern composites, the different properties of which are tailored to their location and structural function, the design concept achieves a lightweight, strong and cost-effective solution.

Improvements to the bridge geometry and parapets allow for a radically enhanced user experience, when compared to the standard through-girder. A modular concept design was developed in fibre-reinforced polymers (FRP) using parametric modelling tools, which allowed for a highly collaborative process and real-time design evolution. The result is a standardised product which accurately reflects the concept, whilst offering a variety of configurations to respond to site specific characteristics.

The innovative procurement process meant concept to completion of full-size prototype took less than a year and was achieved largely remotely.

Learn more about this ground-breaking project here.

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