Network Rail prepares to begin work on £200m grade-separated junction on the East Coast Main Line near Peterborough.
NETWORK Rail is preparing to begin work on a new gradeseparated junction on the East Coast Main Line.
The £200 million project will directly link the Stamford lines and the Great Northern-Great Eastern lines at Werrington Junction to the north of Peterborough, via a 600metre dive-under.
The dive-under will enable slowmoving freight trains to travel on a dedicated route beneath the ECML, eliminating the current need for them to traverse the three running lines of the ECML on the level.
It will reduce delays to passenger services and increase the number of long-distance high-speed train paths between London and Doncaster from six to eight.
Having already accepted the full business case in June, Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling authorised the project on August 3 when NR’s application for a Transport and Works Act Order was approved.
The TWAO had been submitted in 2016, following extensive consultation on a range of design options with the general public and other principal stakeholders - including Peterborough City Council and the Environment Agency. A week-long public inquiry was also held in November 2017, where the project received just three objections.
In order to accommodate the dive-under, the TWAO authorises NR to slew the Stamford lines by approximately 25 metres to the west, where they will sit on top of the newly culverted Brook Drain watercourse.
Cock Lane footbridge will also need to be replaced by a new truss bridge, which will be lengthened in order to span the widened alignment.
One local road will require re-directing so that the new rail link can utilise an existing bridge span beneath the A15, while three residential properties have been voluntarily purchased.
NR’s main contractor for the project is Morgan Sindall. Signalling work will be completed by Siemens and trackwork by the S&C North Alliance, which will operate together in a hub and spoke model.
Devegetation has already commenced in the area, while work compounds and access roads are due to be built before the end of the year (when the main construction sequence is expected to begin). The dive-under is expected to enter service in 2021.
NR told RAIL that a nine-day closure of the ECML would be required to complete the works, during which time only a limited service would be available. Further disruptive possessions would also be needed overnight and at
weekends, although exact dates and details are still being discussed with individual train operating companies.
NR’s London North Eastern and East Midlands Route Managing Director Rob McIntosh said: “This is a significant investment into the railway in this area which, when coupled with other upgrades on this route, will have widespread benefits for those travelling between London and the North through an increased capacity of 33%.
“This vital upgrade will ensure we can provide an improved service for passengers, and create a more modern, reliable and resilient railway suitable to meet the needs of the communities and economies our railway serves.”
An East Midlands Trains Liverpool Lime Street-Norwich service passes Werrington Junction on October 24. Looking north west from Cock Lane footbridge, the alignment will be widened here to accommodate a new dive-under from the Stamford lines on the left to the Great Northern Great Eastern lines that curve away from the East Coast Main Line towards the top of the picture.