Ballast Retention Systems

Fibreglass Inspection Chambers Allows Examination of Hidden Critical Elements (HCE) of Bridge Girders

Fibreglass Ballast Retention Systems

Fibreglass Ballast Retention Systems Have a 60+ Year Design Life.

Dura Composites co-design and supply a range of Network Rail approved fibreglass Ballast Retention systems. Fibreglass / FRP / fibre reinforced plastics ballast board systems have gained considerable success at various locations throughout the UK. The hidden critical elements (HCE) works are to replace the existing timber designs or provide new ballast support to the main internal and external steel bridge girders and thereby providing visual access for inspection of the previously hidden steel girders.

Dura Ballast Retention Systems & Products

Supplied throughout the United Kingdom, Dura Composites Ballast Retention Systems are fully engineered, market leading and the ideal choice for any Ballast Retention or Hidden Critical Element (HCE) projects. Each system supplied meets the individual project requirements and has achieved approval through the F001 to F003 process.

Not only do Dura Ballast Retention systems improve buildability, but they also help speed up the design process for design agencies, thanks to Dura Composites’ technical resources, core material data and extensive project history.

Using advanced composite technology, all systems have proved time and time again to significantly reduce the on-site time needed. Components can be supplied pre-fabricated to increase on-site productivity in tight possession times. This allows for a faster project turn around in comparison to using traditional materials. Workability and short supply lead times are just two elements which have been key to minimising the risk of any potential problems or last minute delays.


Dura Web Stiffener Closed System with Inspection Lid 

The Web Stiffener System is produced using GRP profiles bonded and bolted together. This type of Ballast Retention reduces the number of components, saves weight and enhances strength. It improves installation time on site and allows easy modifications if required. With less components it is easier to supply quotations, purchase, fabricate and install.

The Closed System with inspection lid has been adopted in scenarios where low level ballast is sitting on the existing structure. It is an ideal solution for retaining shallow ballast whilst offering a sloping inspection lid to aid with fast yearly survey inspection and detailed 5 yearly survey inspection.


Pultruded Dura Grating Closed System Ballast Board

The Closed Ballast Board Retention System features high strength and durable pultruded Dura Grating. It is designed to be used in scenarios where ballast may be sitting high against the original bridge girder, or the girder may be buried by the ballast.  Rather than individual inspection lids, this system allows for quick digging of ballast to allow for fast inspection with fibre optic inspection cameras to enable the required annual and 5 yearly detailed surveys to take place in tight possession times.

Fully Closed Ballast Retention System with Lockable Hatch Detail

The Fully Closed Ballast Retention System with Lockable Hatch Detail is designed for two specific scenarios. The first occurs when ballast could be sitting low or high against the structure. The second is where the structure needs to be completely sealed to eradicate the ingress of leaves or other debris to damage to the hidden critical element (HCE). To develop this unique system, Dura Composites has invested heavily in CNC machinery which gives us the ability to create bespoke hatch locations to meet the needs of specific structures. We have also supplied double hatch plates which can be cut into existing steel ballast boards to allow for regular inspections.

Systems with Inspection Lids only

Dura Ballast Retention Lids can be added to existing structures.

This solution is suitable where the requirement only calls for lids or extensions onto existing Ballast Retention Systems. The lids are comprised of either pultruded or moulded Dura Grating and are durable, high strength and quick to install.

Easier and Faster to Install On-Site

By significantly reducing the weight and number of components needed to create an effective Ballast Retention System, we have not only increased our speed of delivery but we have also reduced installation time. Based on real site feedback, not only is it easier to handle but the new design also allows for easier on-site adjustments.

High Strength to Weight Ratio

The new design has been created as a two-part pultrusion with an advanced resin, glassfibre system. This hi-tech precision engineering allows a significant weight saving over previous designs whilst retaining a huge safety factor in terms of load capacity.

With the our patented Dura Composites Modular Web Stiffener System now in stock, we can deliver urgent materials to coincide with last minute possession or line blockages, making it the ideal choice over current systems on the market.

Hatcher Plate


Type 40 Pultruded

Type 40 Grating


  • Hidden Critical Elements (HCE) Projects
  • Ballast Retention Projects
  • Extensions to Existing Ballast Boards
  • Inspection Lids for Existing Ballast Retention Systems
  • Replacement of degraded timber systems
  • Complementary additions to existing steel structures


  • High Load Capability
  • Non Conductive
  • Low Weight
  • Easy Access Lids & Hatches for Inspection
  • Quick Installation
  • Short Turn Around
  • Pre Assembled options available


  • Many projects supplied across the Rail Network
  • Individual components can be manually handled
  • Allows for rapid annual surveys to take place 
  • Minimised track times and possessions
  • Quick delivery for last minute possessions
  • Helps speed up the design process for design agencies
  • Vast array of technical information available

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Please note that whilst we will endeavour to fulfil your sample or brochure request as soon as possible, you may experience a slight delay due to the impact of the coronavirus on our postal fulfilment partners. We thank you for your patience and look forward to supplying your upcoming project.

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