Monday 6 Sep 2004

BEDFORD TO BLETCHLEY RAILWAY IS SIGNALLED INTO THE 21ST CENTURY

Region & Route:
South East
London North Western
North West Central
Southern
A £35 million resignalling scheme by Network Rail has brought the Marston Vale railway line into the 21st century.  The line, which runs between Bedford and Bletchley, had been operating with century-old equipment but after a six week closure the line now has a brand new signalling system with state-of-the-art equipment.  Huw Evans, Network Rail Project Manager said: “Network Rail would like to thank Silverlink and their passengers for their patience during the six-week closure. The closure enabled us to complete the multi-million pound project which will bring performance, safety and reliability benefits to the line.” The railway between Bedford and Bletchley was originally opened in 1846 as part of the Cambridge to Oxford railway.  The four signal boxes, two gate boxes, three crossing keepers huts and related signalling equipment had not been completely updated since.  This investment brings the route in line with the West Coast Main Line and Midland Mainline which it connects. Mr Evans continued: “The railway is a nostalgic place as the history is visible in the old signal boxes and lineside equipment, but in reality this old equipment just couldn’t do its job anymore and a full signalling upgrade was the best solution.” As a result of the upgrade the signal boxes, crossing huts and gate boxes have now been closed and the signalling system and level crossings are all controlled from Ridgmont. - more - Open – 2 A new signalling centre has been opened opposite the former station.  Network Rail signallers now control all train movements and the level crossings from this one location which is computer based with VDU screens and control panels. Mr Evans concluded: “We have secured the future of this line, which is important to the local community who use it for travelling to work, school and to and from the major shopping centres at Bedford and Milton Keynes.”

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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.

Every day, there are more than 4.8 million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

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