Wednesday 24 Aug 2005


Region & Route:
| North West & Central
| Southern
The North London Line reopened for passengers in the early hours of Monday morning after a successful 16 day closure allowed engineers to carry out essential track improvements.  Engineers worked around the clock to install over two miles of new track in eight different locations between Gospel Oak and Barking, as part of a £3.5 million investment programme. Jon Wiseman, Network Rail Route Director, said: “This is great news for passengers using the North London Line as it will mean we can remove all temporary speed restrictions and allow trains to run at full speed.  The new track will be smoother, quieter and more reliable, improving train performance for passengers but also benefiting local people.” Prior to this work, Silverlink trains were restricted to just 20mph over a one mile stretch between Gospel Oak and Barking, due to the aging condition of track.  Brand new track and equipment has now been installed which will allow the train speed to be raised to 45mph.  Engineers worked around the clock to remove and replace more than 4,000 metres of life-expired rail, 7,000 sleepers and 17,000 tonnes of ballast (the stone that forms the track bed).  Network Rail and contractors Balfour Beatty used careful working methods and specially adapted machinery to minimise any impact on lineside neighbours. Jon Wiseman continued: “Careful planning and a lot of hard work meant this challenging project was successfully completed within tight timescales.  The essential work was timed to coincide with the school holidays to reduce inconvenience to rail passengers and local people.  We are grateful for the patience and support of all those affected.” Network Rail worked closely with Silverlink Metro to ensure alternative travel arrangements were available for passengers and a full replacement bus service was provided. Mark Steward, Silverlink Metro’s Route Director, said: ”The work that was carried out by Network Rail over the past 16 days has been has been of huge strategic importance.   With ever-growing numbers of people relying on the Gospel Oak-Barking service a 20mph speed restriction just was not sustainable.  With work completed the line now has a robust and secure future which all my customers will welcome.   My thanks go both to Network Rail for completing the programme so quickly, and to my customers for their patience while the line was closed so the work could be carried out.” Leaflets containing full details of the project were delivered to over 10,000 properties prior to the start of work and a 24 hour helpline was provided throughout. 

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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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