Derby’s rad­i­cal re­mod­elling

The rail­way around Derby was suc­cess­fully re­mod­elled in a 79-day project that only in­volved one day of the sta­tion’s to­tal clo­sure. AN­DREW RODEN takes a closer look at how Net­work Rail and train op­er­a­tors worked to­gether to make it such a suc­cess

Rail (UK) - - Letters -

On Oc­to­ber 8, af­ter a 79-day par­tial block­ade, the re­mod­elled Derby sta­tion opened on time and on bud­get in a text­book ex­am­ple of ex­pert plan­ning and pan-in­dus­try co-op­er­a­tion.

The £ 200 mil­lion project was hailed by Net­work Rail Lon­don North Eastern and East Mid­lands Route Manag­ing Di­rec­tor Rob McIn­tosh as the big­gest area re­mod­elling since the schemes at Crewe and York in the 1980s.

The aims of the project were to re­model the ap­proaches to the sta­tion to re­duce con­flict­ing move­ments, in­crease the line­speed through the sta­tion from the pre­vi­ous 15mph limit to 30mph, in­crease ca­pac­ity and re­new life­ex­pired sig­nalling and tracks. The project formed part of the on­go­ing Mid­land Main Line up­grade which will fea­ture elec­tri­fi­ca­tion as far as Corby and ca­pac­ity en­hance­ments along the route.

The changes are sig­nif­i­cant. Old sid­ings and goods lines in the sta­tion area were re­moved to cre­ate space for a new 320-me­tre plat­form, one new sig­nal gantry was in­stalled, along with 300m of drainage, 2km of new track in­stalled and 15km of track re­newed, 11 sets of points, ten new straight post sig­nals, 50 piles to sup­port new sig­nals and 18km of sig­nal cable trough­ing were also in­stalled. Some 240 en­gi­neer­ing trains ran dur­ing the block­ade to sup­port the project.

A vi­tal as­pect of its suc­cess was ex­ten­sive plan­ning more than two years ago that es­tab­lished the de­tailed pro­gramme of how it would all work to­gether. The thor­ough­ness of this meant that un­like some projects where ex­ten­sive se­nior man­age­ment in­ter­ven­tion is re­quired, in­ter­ven­tions were few, al­low­ing staff on the ground to get on with the job. The statis­tics give an in­di­ca­tion of the scale of the work at Derby. More than 600,000 hours of work was car­ried out, and 150,000 tonnes of bal­last and 21,177 sleep­ers laid. The project re­quired the use of 14 Kirow cranes and 95 tamp­ing shifts. It was a ma­jor project in every sense of the term.

Phas­ing was vi­tal to Derby’s suc­cess - as was an ex­ten­sive in­for­ma­tion cam­paign to in­form pas­sen­gers of the work and what was hap­pen­ing. So suc­cess­ful was the lat­ter that McIn­tosh says there were only a hand­ful of com­plaints from pas­sen­gers af­fected by the in­evitable dis­rup­tion.

In the first nine days, ex­ist­ing track was re­moved and new track re­laid from Sunny Hill to Os­mas­ton Road out­side the sta­tion. At the same time, sig­nals and train de­tec­tion equip­ment were in­stalled.

The next phase, run­ning from day nine to 23, fea­tured the re­moval and re­lay­ing of tracks from Os­mas­ton Road to Derby sta­tion, in­clud­ing on Plat­forms 1-6.

At this time, work started to straighten Plat­forms 2 and 6 to al­low line­speeds to be raised though the sta­tion from 15mph to 30mph. Sig­nalling was in­stalled and the re­newal of Spon­don level cross­ing started with ob­sta­cle de­tec­tion sys­tems in­stalled to im­prove safety. The aim of this as­pect of the work was to re­duce the amount of time the level cross­ing bar­ri­ers stay down and re­duce road con­ges­tion.

From days 23 to 30, at­ten­tion fo­cused on re­mod­elling Lon­don Road South Junc­tion to Derby sta­tion to re­duce the num­ber of con­flict­ing move­ments - a key aim in in­creas­ing the sta­tion’s ca­pac­ity. Again, sig­nalling engi­neers in­stalled and tested new sig­nals af­ter the track was in­stalled.

PAUL ROBERT­SON.

Derby's plat­forms were straight­ened (inset) and a new Plat­form 6 built in the £200 mil­lion re­mod­elling.

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