Bristol boost: NR completes Filton track quadrupling
NETWORK Rail’s quadrupling of 4.5 miles of track from Bristol Temple Meads to Filton Abbey Wood was due to be completed in the first weekend of December, following a three-week blockade from October 27-November 18 and two subsequent weekend closures.
Filton Abbey Wood station reopened on time with its new fourth platform on November 19. Ten units of switches and crossings were laid and all 13 units commissioned, the remaining 5km of the total 15km (9.5 miles) of plain line track was completed, and track drainage was installed along with signalling and telecoms systems to support the operational railway.
With the track laid and the signalling commissioned for opening to traffic by November 19, work on the following two weekends involved welding and tamping the new track to increase the line speed from a temporary restriction of 50mph to its normal 75mph by December 3.
Network Rail Project Manager Kate Trevorrow told RAIL that preparatory works before the blockade involved earthworks and laying plain line on the free parts of the formation.
When the four tracks were reduced to two in the 1980s, around half of the route was on one side of the formation, slewing to the other according to track condition.
During the blockade, the new plain line was connected to the existing tracks, signalling and telecommunications systems installed at Dr Days and Horfield Junctions, and signalling commissioned on the newly quadrupled stretch. Major signalling works involved the construction of a new four-track signal gantry and one two track cantilevered structure.
Speaking to RAIL just before the final weekend of closures to complete tamping, Trevorrow said: “The Filton quadrupling will transform rail travel in Bristol. It removes a key bottleneck by separating long-distance and local trains and will increase capacity and reliability in the area. The circa-£130 million project was completed on time and on budget by a team of project managers, engineers and planners in Network Rail and contractors including VINCI, Alstom, Telent, Amey and Resonate.”
Network Rail has completed a project to return the line through Filton Abbey Wood (Bristol) to four tracks and add an extra platform to the station’s three.