Thursday 10 Jun 2021
Huge leap over West Coast main line for East West Rail
A new video has been released showing the huge progress made so far to rebuild the Bletchley flyover for the East West Rail project.
The new flyover will eventually be at the centre of the first direct rail service to connect communities between Oxford, Bedford and Cambridge in more than 50 years.
The film released by Network Rail today (Thursday 10 June) shows how 103 precast concrete beams were lifted into place over the West Coast main line during a full railway closure in early May.
The team used two 600 tonne crawler cranes to lift the 40 tonne-beams into place. Each lift took approximately 25-30 minutes to complete.
As well as the lifting, the complex web of 25,000-volt overhead electric cables which power trains had to be dismantled then reinstated underneath the new flyover.
Before the early May bank holiday work the flyover’s support structure was built using 138 precast concrete shell abutments.
The technique used allowed most of the new structure to be constructed while the railway stayed open so passengers were not disrupted.
East West Rail will bring people closer to the things that matter most including jobs, new homes and family; providing reliable, quick, environmentally sustainable journeys and more affordable travel.
Mark Cuzner, East West Rail Alliance director, said: “Bridging the gap over the West Coast main line for East West Rail has been a critical milestone for the project. It is the culmination of an enormous amount of collaborative effort by the team who have coupled good engineering with innovative thinking to overcome the many challenges posed by this complex piece of work undertaken within the railway corridor.”
“With the beam installation complete, our focus now switches to reconstructing the section of the flyover which will span Buckingham Road, while also completing the new Bletchley High Level Station which will provide two new platforms to connect East West Rail to the existing Bletchley Station.”
Road closures start next week on Monday 14 June for the next section of the flyover rebuilding work.
Buckingham Road will be shut until 19 July for construction to take place.
The rebuilt flyover replaces a 1960s-built concrete structure which wasn't suitable to carry the new East West railway.
The huge demolition project on the old flyover took place throughout 2020.
- Read again: Up, up and away: 1960s West Coast main line railway flyover has lift off
- Read again: Next phase of railway flyover demolition involves three of the UK’s largest cranes
For more information on the East West Rail project visit: www.networkrail.co.uk/east-west-rail/
Notes to Editors
About the East West Rail project
The East West Rail Alliance is delivering the Connection Stage One phase of the scheme and consists of Network Rail, Atkins, Laing O’Rourke and VolkerRail.
East West Rail will create a new direct connection between Oxford and Cambridge. Serving communities across the area, it will bring faster journey times and lower transport costs as well as easing pressure on local roads.
East West Rail is being delivered in three Connection Stages:
- Connection Stage One: Oxford to Bletchley and Milton Keynes
- Connection Stage Two: Oxford to Bedford
- Connection Stage Three: Oxford to Cambridge
Passengers / community members
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About Network Rail
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.
Usually, there are almost five 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.