Cumbrian Coast Line defences bolstered with 15,000 tonne ‘rock armour’
Work to repair and protect the railway on the Cumbrian Coast Line at Parton has been completed following the installation of a 15,000 tonne rock armour sea defence.
Working around the tidal patterns of the Irish Sea, Network Rail engineers have been delivering emergency repairs to the sea wall since storms battered sea defences protecting the railway over Christmas and the New Year.
The team began by repairing the breaches in the wall using cement as a temporary measure. Then, only able to work at low tides when they could access the beach, they installed a permanent layer of rock armour comprising around15,000 tonnes of huge boulders at the base of the sea wall to absorb much of the wave energy.
John Owen, works delivery manager for Network Rail, said: “In total we’ve put around 15,000 tonnes of the rock armour into place which will help protect the railway for several decades to come. The main challenges have been the weather and access, and we had to carefully plan our work around low tides so we could safely and effectively install these defences.
“The logistics were also challenging as we had to move the rock in from quarries, into a compound and then, during low tide, onto the beach. The result is a safer and more reliable railway for the people of Cumbria.”
The work at Parton forms part of a multimillion pound scheme to protect high risk areas of the Cumbrian Coast line from erosion and protect the railway from future weatherrelated disruption.
Cable theft chaos
Over 4 weeks in March thieves attempted to steal cable 7 times in the east Midlands causing significant disruption to East Midlands Trains services in Nottinghamshire, costing the railways £119,165.
While investigations continue, the authorities are asking for information that might lead to the arrest of those responsible.
Detective Inspector Gareth Davies from British Transport Police said: “Directed patrols are now being carried out across the area – including officers patrolling on foot, in vehicles and with police dogs – to catch and deter criminals.”
Reinstatement of Liverpool’s Halton Curve gets the green light
The Liverpool City Combined Authority has approved a project to bring the Halton Curve back into full use for passenger services.
Halton Curve is a 1.7 mile stretch of line between Frodsham Junction and Halton Junction that links the North Wales Coast Line to the Liverpool section of the West Coast Main Line in Cheshire.
The £18.75m project will initially enable hourly direct services to run between Liverpool and Chester, with the prospect of extending them into Wales in the future.
Work is due to start in June 2017 and be completed by May 2018.
The Authority has also agreed to develop proposals for the devolution of stations on the Merseyrail network.
Electrification of the railway enters next crucial stage in the Swindon area
The next and rather noise phase in the preparations for electrification of the Great Western Main Line has begun between South Marston and Royal Wootton Bassett, and will continue through the summer. Network Rail is working closely with the local communities to minimise disruption.
The work involves installing the foundations for the overhead lines using a process known as piling which is inherently noisy. For safety reasons the work cannot take place when trains are running and therefore tends to occur at night.
To minimise disruption as much as possible, the team will be carrying out on-site noise monitoring and installing equipment to reduce the sound made by the piling process. They are also engaging with the local community through letters to those who live close by, and follow-up visits from Network Rail representatives.
Alstom and Amey win £90m contracts for signalling and power supply on London to Reading line
Network Rail has awarded a contract for the final stage of the signalling system that will control trains between Reading and Paddington to Alstom, and a separate contract for resilient power supplies to Amey. The upgrades are crucial for Elizabeth line services and modernisation of the Great Western Main Line.
Both contracts have been awarded under existing Network Rail framework agreements which allow suppliers to invest in the skills and resources needed to deliver large projects efficiently.
The £79m contract with Alstom is for the final stage of the full re-signalling of the Great Western Main Line between Reading and Paddington in the west of London. The contract covers the design, manufacture, supply, installation, testing and commissioning of a state-of-the-art train control system. The signalling work, which is already well underway, will enable Elizabeth line trains to operate on that section of the railway along with other services on the Great Western Main Line.
The £11m contract awarded to Amey for signalling power works between Paddington and Hayes & Harlington includes replacement of obsolete power supplies and crucially, fully resilient new supplies for the signalling equipment. This enables the system to be automatically supplied from separate supplies in the event of a power failure anywhere between two points, drastically reducing train delays while maximising reliability for trains to and from Paddington.
Signs and road studs to stop cars straying onto tram tracks
Manchester’s Metrolink has come up with a series of measures to stop drivers straying onto the tram tracks near the Holt Town stop.
Over the last 18 months, 15 motorists have driven onto the traditional tram tracks and become stuck, causing delays to services, and vehicle recovery and infrastructure repair costs.
Additional no entry signage has been fitted at both ends of the Holt Town tram stop, along with bespoke bollards, road edge studs and an instruction sign asking motorists to pull off the track to an adjacent bay or risk their vehicles becoming damaged and stuck. Ramps have also been added where the embedded track meets traditional track, to make recovery easier.
The £20,000 cost of implementing these measures is negligible compared to the cost associated with each incident.
TfGM is now reviewing other stops where cars have been driven onto tracks, to identify and prioritise modifications at these locations.
New trains for c2c three years ahead of schedule
Extra trains are to be delivered to the Fenchurch Street to Shoeburyness line in East London and South Essex, to ease congestion three years ahead of a major fleet update.
The news came as c2c and the Department for Transport reached an agreement for 24 new class 387 carriages from Bombardier in Derby to be leased to c2c until 2019. They will enter passenger service between October and December this year, increasing the number of seats at peak times by 1,400 and providing room for 3,000 more passengers.
At the end of the lease period in 2019 the company will be introducing 68 new carriages to the route. The formal procurement process for the first tranche of these started in April and a manufacturer is expected to be appointed in the summer.
c2c managing director Julian Drury said: “This agreement is hugely important, as we will now get new carriages on c2c within six months when they normally take years to be delivered. Combined with the other changes we are making in both the short- and longterm, this is the most significant increase in capacity for c2c passengers for over a decade.
Phase three of £12m Moorfields station refurbishment begins
Work to transform Moorfields underground station in Liverpool has entered its third phase. The work is part of a £12m investment programme to upgrade the station’s platforms and escalators, and improve facilities for Liverpool’s main business district.
The station, which is operated by Merseyrail, is the latest on Merseyside to be redeveloped as part of a £40m investment by Network Rail, working in partnership with Merseytravel and Merseyrail. In addition to work on the platforms, improvements will be made to walkways and the upper and lower concourse areas. There will be new flooring, fresh enamel cladding on the walls and brighter lighting, which will give a cleaner, airy, less cluttered environment. Nine of the station’s escalators will also be refurbished to improve their reliability and lifespan.
The first platform to be refurbished, platform 3 on the Wirral line, re-opened in August 2015. Platform 1 serving the Northern line reopened on 2 April this year after a three-month closure. Work has now begun on platform 2, northbound on the Northern line, and will be completed in the summer.
Terry Strickland, area director for Network Rail, said: “The upgrade of the first two platforms has made a huge difference to the look and feel of the station. The modern look on platforms 1 and 3 will be replicated on platform 2, completing the upgrade of the underground stations in the Merseyside area.”
HS2 and TUC make pact
HS2 Ltd and the TUC have agreed a framework to maximise the economic and labour benefits of the new rail line. It sets out how to discuss issues on employment, development and diversity through the supply chain, and provides a platform for making work package agreements between contractors and unions.
Forth Bridge mystery plans
Engineers working on designs for a new visitor facility have unearthed 71year-old plans for the reconstruction of the iconic Forth Bridge. The blueprints show a three-arch structure, similar to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. One theory is that they were a contingency measure, should the world-famous structure have fallen victim to attack during WWII. Network Rail is trying to track down anyone who knows who drew up the plans… and why.
UK’s first rail milling train
Crossrail has ordered a £12m rail milling train from Linsinger, for rail maintenance in the Crossrail tunnels. The vehicle, the first of its kind in the UK, reduces the long-term wear of rails and wheels by restoring rail head geometry. Delivery is scheduled for spring 2018 and it will be located at the Plumstead infrastructure maintenance depot in southeast London.
December target for Dover line reopening
Extensive repairs to the battered Dover to Folkestone line include a new 235 metres viaduct supported by 134 concrete columns sunk into the beach and protected by rock armour. Engineers say they aim to reopen the line in December. Work to protect existing structure and cliffs has been ongoing since the start of the year.
Public back historic Market Harborough station
Following clear feedback from the public, Network Rail has confirmed that its plans to remodel Market Harborough station and make adjustments to the track layout will include retaining the much loved station building, currently in use as the ticket office. The track and station redesign will reduce journey times and enable longer trains to call at the station.
Preston station to get a facelift
Virgin Trains is to invest a further £1.5m in Preston station, in enhancements that will transform access from Platform 7. A new entrance and concourse will include ticket vending machines, customer information screens, car park payment machines and a new retail unit. Work started on Monday 25th April.
Birmingham New Street recognition
The newly reconstruction Birmingham New Street station is one of three projects shortlisted for the Legacy Award for Sustainability at the Celebrating Construction Awards, and one of eight projects shortlisted for the Project of the Year award. Birmingham New Street station, which opened on 20 September 2015 after a five-year £750m transformation, is famed for its iconic new atrium over a huge passenger concourse.
Escalator refurbishment at Euston Tube station
Work has now begun on the refurbishment of 4 heavily used escalators at Euston Underground station, with completion set for July 2017. The escalators will be taken out of operation one at a time. During the refurbishment, which includes renewing key components, there will be reduced access to the Northern and Victoria lines.