Monday 6 Sep 2021
Network Rail completes major signalling work near Peterborough ready for freight trains to begin diving under East Coast Main Line this winter
- Network Rail completes vital stage of work in a project to install a tunnel at Werrington, north of Peterborough
- Engineers completed work on the signalling system over the weekend- with no disruption to passenger train services
- Essential work will now take place to test the new tunnel ready for freight trains to use it from this winter
Network Rail has completed major signalling work on a new section of track north of Peterborough, ready for freight trains to dive underneath the East Coast Main Line, helping to cut congestion and increase capacity.
Over the weekend (Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 September) engineers commissioned the signalling system, which will allow trains to safely run on the two new tracks, marking a major milestone in the final stage of the project, part of the £1.2billion East Coast Upgrade.
Work began onsite at Werrington in Summer 2018 and the ground-breaking 11,000-tonne tunnel -which was built onsite as trains continued running on the East Coast Main Line - was pushed into place using innovative construction techniques in January 2021.
Teams then installed around 8km of track in the area which runs through the new tunnel. Over the summer, work has been completed to connect the new track to the existing Stamford lines and put signalling equipment in place.
Vital work to test the new tunnel will take place over the next few weeks and trains are expected to begin using it by the end of this year. Diverting freight trains underneath one of the busiest routes in the country will mean faster, more reliable services for both passengers and freight.
Ed Akers, Principal Programme Sponsor for Network Rail’s East Coast Upgrade, said: “We’ve completed vital signalling work over the weekend which will allow freight trains to begin using the new tunnel and divert underneath the East Coast Main Line, rather than crossing it, from later this year.
“Our teams have completed the vast majority of this project, without impacting on train services. It’ll bring faster, more frequent and more reliable services for passengers travelling between London, Peterborough, the North of England and Scotland.”
Rail Minister Chris Heaton Harris, said: “This is another step towards completing the astounding engineering project being undertaken at Werrington.
“This scheme, part of our £1.2bn investment into the East Coast upgrade, will unlock the potential of our railways, freeing up tracks so that passengers and freight can have faster, more reliable journeys.”
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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.
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.