Thursday 16 Apr 2015
Better, faster, quieter rail journeys get a step closer as major bridge work near Bedford finishes early
Passengers are a step closer to better, faster, quieter journeys today as Network Rail completed a major programme of work to rebuild a road bridge to the north of Bedford three weeks early, as part of a £1.6bn railway upgrade plan that’s underway on the main line to and from London St Pancras.
The Midland main line, which runs from London St Pancras to Sheffield, is due to be fully electrified by December 2020 in a £1.6 billion programme of work that will see overhead electrical wires being fitted along the length of the line. Bridges along the route will be altered to allow for the extra clearance needed for the wires.
Steve Hughes, area director for Network Rail, said: “The rebuilding of this bridge is another vital step towards us being able to provide better, faster, smoother and quieter journeys for the millions of passengers who use this essential rail artery every year. Finishing three week early is a huge bonus as well and is testament to the hard work of the teams involved and we hope the Sharnbrook community are pleased with the results.”
The rebuilding of Templars Way bridge in Sharnbrook, eight miles north of Bedford,began last November and saw the removal and replacement of the existing bridge deck and supports. The public footpath across the bridge was also widened and the existing road surface was replaced in line with the new road levels.
The main bridge replacement work was carried over the Christmas period when there were no trains running in order to minimise disruption.
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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.