Monday 28 Jul 2003


Region & Route:
The SRA and Network Rail today announced the implementation of a major performance and capacity improvement project for the Cherwell Valley route, between Banbury and Leamington Spa. This route handles a large tonnage of freight and has experienced a high growth in passenger traffic.  It is severely constrained for current and future passenger and freight demand, the primary constraint being the long signalling headway. The £30 million plus scheme provides for new signalling for 20 miles of two-track railway, a new control panel, and three new track crossovers and enhanced freight looping facilities.  Work on the scheme, specified by the SRA – to be delivered by Network Rail – will begin immediately and is programmed for completion in early summer 2004. The key benefits of the scheme are: ·        Improved timetable performance; ·        Greater capacity, facilitating long-term growth in passenger and freight traffic; ·        Provision of a convenient and reliable alternative service during the proposed nine day blockade of the West Coast Main Line in early summer 2004, enabling capacity for passenger services between London and the West Midlands to be doubled from one to two trains per hour in each direction. Cherwell –2 Jim Steer said: “The SRA is committed to improving the performance and long-term capacity of the rail network in the UK.  This project has been conceived specifically to help realise this objective, and we now look forward to the challenge of delivering the scheme over the next 10 months.  The start of this project is the result of a significant collaborative process over the past year, involving the SRA, Network Rail and other key parties within the rail industry.” Network Rail Regional Director for the Midlands, Robbie Burns, commented: “We are delighted the signalling improvements on the Cherwell Valley have been given the green light.  The developments will provide increased capacity for both freight and passenger services as well as allowing greater flexibility in the operation of the timetable and will be welcomed by all train operators on the route.”

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