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Ventilation at Dudley VLR tunnel

The Dudley VLR (Very Light Rail) project is the new concept inner city rail link for Dudley and a global benchmark in rail innovation.

The first phase of construction, involved stripping out existing track in the old Castle Hill tunnel and laying a new test track. This was carried out by Trackwork Ltd and Airflo Dynamics provided temporary ventilation and exhaust emissions control in the tunnel.

Initially calculating the required air volume, given the number of workers and the types and sizes of diesel machinery in the tunnel, we were easily able to achieve this by using exhaust filters on the machinery and a jet fan in the tunnel to maintain a constant air flow.

As workers were often downwind of the machinery, we introduced HVO fuel for the machinery to further reduce emissions, in particular the gases. So it was a three-pronged approach:
  1. Exhaust filters to remove the particulate matter from the exhaust fumes,
  2. HVO fuel to significantly reduce the particulates and combustion gases in the exhaust fumes,
  3. Ventilation to maintain a constant fresh air flow through the tunnel
Jet fans simply work on the principle of induced air and by adopting this principle we were able to achieve a net air volume flowing through the tunnel which was twice the duty of the fan itself, more than sufficient for the requirements of this project.
Throughout the project, we monitored the dust levels in the tunnel using the Trolex AirXD monitor and used the Airtec personal EC analysers to monitor personal exposure to diesel particulates.

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