New track loop
Felixstowe branch line are set to begin in April 2018, bringing a significant step change for the transportation of freight as well as improved reliability for passenger services.
As a part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan, engineers will start a £60.4m programme of works to transform the single-track branch line to allow more freight being transported by rail to and from the Port of Felixstowe by installing a 1.4km track loop near Trimley Station. This additional track will allow the line to operate more effectively.
In addition to the track re-doubling, works will Important engineering works to upgrade the include the upgrade of several level crossings to make them safer and new bi-directional signalling infrastructure to support the demand for more freight trains. Once complete, there will be a more reliable service, improving journeys for all passengers.
Meliha Duymaz, Network Rail’s route managing director for Anglia, said: “This is a significant upgrade to one of the most important freight routes in the country. This work will help us to meet the demand for freight to and from Felixstowe port, and at the same time, increase reliability for passenger services.”
Passengers between Kettering and Corby have begun using newly commissioned track and signalling installed by Network Rail marking the successful completion of a £130 million capacity project. Since construction began between the two Northamptonshire towns in 2014, a significant amount of work has been carried out to improve the capacity, speed and resilience of the Kettering to Corby route.
Fourteen bridges and viaducts have been strengthened, 21km of track laid (12km of new track and renewal of 9km of existing track), 4km of drainage installed, 15km of railway embankment has been stabilised and 73km of cabling laid. Further work will be delivered between Kettering and Corby to get the route ready for electric trains services.
Jake Kelly, Managing Director, East Midlands Trains, said: “We have worked in partnership with Network Rail since 2014 to deliver this important upgrade between Kettering and Corby and it is fantastic to see the line now in use by our services. “In the short term, it improves reliability of our services but it is also a critical part of the wider Midland Main Line Upgrade which will boost capacity and provide a better service for customers.”
Viaduct refurbishment begins
Lanes Rail has begun a programme of works to refurbish a major viaduct on London Underground’s Piccadilly Line. Brick laying teams are repointing and replacing brickwork on the structure between South Harrow and Rayners Lane Tube stations in West London.
The viaduct, one of the longest on the Tube network, opened on 1st March 1910. It was constructed to extend the line across the Roxeth Marshes, which were drained and built over in the 1930s.
London Underground has commissioned Lanes Rail Division, part of Lanes Group plc, to repair a 204-metre section of the viaduct, encompassing 17 arches, as part of a phased maintenance programme. Lanes Rail Project Manager Steve Demwell said: “This particular stretch of the viaduct is the centre of a thriving commercial community and is a thoroughfare for thousands of commuters using South Harrow Station.
“We are working closely with businesses along the viaduct, in partnership with London Underground colleagues, to minimise the impact of our work, while maintaining a safe environment for all.”
The viaduct has been enclosed in scaffolding to provide a platform for Lanes Rail’s bricklayers to work, safely contain all repair activities, and allow train services to continue to run just feet away.
Signalling testing continues
More testing has been completed on the brand-new signalling system set to transform the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines, reports Transport for London (TfL). This represents another step forward for the programme before the first trains operate under the new system this summer.
Stuart Harvey, TfL’s Director of Major Projects, said: “This work on the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines will transform one of the oldest parts of the network into one of the most modern and revolutionise journeys on 40 per cent of the Underground.” The new system, provided by Thales, has undergone significant testing since October. The section between Hammersmith and Edgware Road will be the first to go live on the new system, which will provide better, more accurate real-time customer information and improve reliability.
The new system will be introduced progressively over 14 sections across the network, each one improving reliability as it is introduced. Customers will benefit from quicker, more frequent services from 2021, with all four lines using the new system by 2023. The new, modern signalling will allow trains to run closer together, which will increase the frequency of train services across these lines with 32 trains per hour set to operate in the central London section. This will boost capacity by a third across all four lines – equivalent to space for an extra 36,500 customers during the busiest times of day.
Railway cable theft deterrent
Anderton Concrete supplied Anderfin to the Network Rail Crossrail project, which is being overseen by Balfour Beatty, as the Maidenhead area was deemed to be at high risk from cable theft. The company’s Anderlite Troughing and Ander-Loc products were also installed on the stretch of line to further minimise the risk of theft. Ander-fin is manufactured from glass filled nylon and has a failure load in excess of 2kN. The easy to install product enables cables to be secured to troughs every metre in high risk areas.
Connector for tight spaces
HARTING has extended its Han HPR connector series with the Han 22 HPR slim: an ultra-slim high-current device optimised for up to four 250 A contacts. Equipped with a robust HPR housing made of die-cast aluminium, the new connector is ideally suited to use in high-power motor connections in the restricted spaces available in the underfloor areas of rail vehicles. The new connector was originally developed for a tram project in Vienna. Working in close co-operation with the customer, HARTING was able to fit the connector into the narrow gap of roughly 8cm between the carriage body and the bogie.
Open and operational
iPort Rail in Doncaster, the UK’s newest intermodal inland rail freight hub, is now open and fully operational, having welcomed its first train in late February. Located on a 30-acre site within the 337-acre iPort logistics hub, iPort Rail is a state-of-the-art rail freight facility able to accommodate the UK’s longest trains up to six times a day. It has storage capacity for 1500 TEUs and a reach stacker operation with a 115tonne front axle load.
The site connects to the East Coast Main Line and is located next to the M18, close to Doncaster Sheffield Airport and within two hours of the East Coast’s deep water ports.
Consortium wins Alpine project
The S2IP consortium, comprising SYSTRA, Setec, Italferr and Pini Swiss Engineers has won a major contract with TELT (Tunnel Euralpin Lyon-Turin), the Franco-Italian company delivering the new rail tunnel link between Lyon and Turin. TELT is one of the largest rail projects in Europe. The S2IP consortium has won Lot 2 for the civil engineering project management of the access tunnels between SaintMartin- La-Porte and La Praz in the French Alps. The French section of the works represents 80% of the entire tunnel.
The S2IP consortium will be responsible for project managing two single-track parallel tunnels, which are 22.1km in length.
Upgrade benefits rail industry
Pickersgill-Kaye, already enjoying record sales of its locking systems, is benefitting from a major restructuring by owner ASSA ABLOY, the global leader in door opening solutions, to turn the Yorkshire business into a R&D facility and rail centre of excellence.
A major programme of refurbishment, including revamping the manufacturing facility, improving the work environment by creating new office space and implementing the latest design and computer technology, is nearing completion as the business looks to build on the success in its target markets. The comprehensive renovation by ASSA ABLOY is designed to help Pickersgill-Kaye drive further opportunities in the rail sector through innovation and improved service levels for emergency override mechanisms, safety critical solutions and locking equipment.
Work on the site is scheduled for completion in 2018, creating the right conditions not only for the workforce to develop the locking systems for the trains of the future, but also enhancing Pickersgill-Kaye’s capability to support legacy rolling stock on the UK’s rail network – often retro-fitting problematic locks originally supplied by competitors.