Monday 14 Aug 2006


Region & Route:
Eastern: Anglia
| Eastern

Passengers are experiencing fewer delays and a more reliable service on the East Coast Main Line as an extensive engineering programme approaches the renewal of its 1000th overhead line. Over the past 18 months Network Rail’s major projects and maintenance teams have been renewing the overhead lines (OHL) between Kings Cross and Hitchin on the East Coast Main Line (ECML). The programme has been a huge success so far with more than double the amount of overhead line equipment renewed than planned, reliability improved and a 37% decrease in delay minutes. Network Rail’s Route Director Dyan Crowther said: “This project is an excellent example of passengers and the train operating companies benefiting from our continued investment in the railway. The improvements passengers are now experiencing are a tribute to the expertise, dedication and sheer hard-work of our staff. I congratulate them on their work so far and look forward to seeing the continued improvements their work will bring to passengers on the ECML.” The age of the southern end of the ECML was beginning to cause a growing number of delays so the scheme was put together with a clear emphasis on improving performance and reliability for passengers. More than 350 people have been involved in delivering the scheme during planned engineering work overnight and at weekends, including three separate closures of King’s Cross Station over Bank Holiday weekends which allowed a huge section of the work to be completed. The project has involved the renewal of the existing aluminium catenary wires (the sagged wires from which the contact wires hang) with a modern copper equivalent. Future work in the project will include renewing the contact wires along which trains’ pantographs slide; and the continued renewal of the span wires which run across the track. So far 926 span wires have been replaced and the project team are well on-track to renew their 1000th span wire in the coming weeks. The project has been a joint effort between Network Rail’s major projects and maintenance teams and their emphasis on teamwork has brought direct benefits to passengers. By carrying out renewals and maintenance of the OHL equipment at the same time, the project has avoided the need for additional closures of the line and minimised the disruption for passengers. The project continues to bring improved performance to the ECML with work due to be completed by Christmas 2007.

Notes to editors

- Further background details and technical information about the project are available on request - Train delays caused by OHL defects fell from 56,500 minutes in 2004/5 to 35,100 in 2005/6 - a 37% improvement - Major incidents causing more than 500 minutes delay fell from 17 in 2004/5 to 10 in 2005/6 – a 41% improvement. - The project has also received recognition in the form of a National Rail Awards nomination, and an award for Best Project in Network Rail’s own Major Projects Excellence Awards

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We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

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