Monday 29 Sep 2003

EXTRA WEEK FOR FINISHING TOUCHES AT STOKE

Region & Route:
National
The rail industry has decided to take an extra week for testing and completion works to a 50 mile stretch of the West Coast Main Line through Stoke. One of the biggest renewal projects in rail history, the upgrade of the route from Colwich Junction in Staffordshire to Cheadle Hulme, south of Stockport, has seen over 1,000 engineers working flat out to provide a safer, faster and more reliable railway. Part of the Strategic Rail Authority and industry’s strategy to deliver a 125mph railway by September 2004, the works, which started in May, have been on a scale comparable to building 25 miles of new motor way in just 12 weeks. Engineers have also seen the original scope of works increase by 20%, with additional formation and drainage works on top of the already challenging programme. Now the project team are using the additional seven days to carry out essential testing and completion works, to ensure the handback of a high quality route. - more - Completion - 2 Commented Network Rail Chief Executive John Armitt: ‘We want to hand this route back into operational use fit for purpose. It is our view that the extra week is absolutely vital to ensure we can complete and hand back the railway that people would expect. My apologies for the extra time taken, but I’m sure that passengers and freight customers would expect nothing less.’ During the additional works, the alternative coach and bus arrangements that have been in place will remain.

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