New siding at £250m Stafford rail development will cut deliveries by road: Stafford siding being built as part of £250m upgrade

Wednesday 13 May 2015

New siding at £250m Stafford rail development will cut deliveries by road

Region & Route:

A major rail development near Stafford is on track after workers built a siding on the existing West Coast main line so materials can be delivered by train.

The installation of the railhead - a siding on the West Coast main line at Little Bridgeford - will allow track materials and ballast to be delivered to the site reducing lorry deliveries and traffic on nearby roads.

The work is part of the Stafford Area Improvements Programme which will remove the last major bottleneck on the West Coast main line at Norton Bridge allowing more passenger and freight services to run between London, the Midlands and the north-west.

Network Rail is delivering £250m of investment in new signalling equipment in and around Stafford, line speed improvements between Stafford and Crewe and building a new rail over rail flyover at Norton Bridge.

Workers were on site around the clock over the Bank Holiday weekend (May 1-4) to construct the new siding north of Stafford.

Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of earth have been moved at the site near Norton Bridge and eleven new bridges are being built along with 10km of new track to allow separation of fast and slow lines.

The work is being delivered by the Staffordshire Alliance - a partnership of Atkins, Laing O’Rourke, Network Rail and VolkerRail.

Staffordshire Alliance manager Matt Clark said: “This is a real milestone for the programme and we’re delighted to have the railhead in place.

“It is great news for the programme and great news for the local community as we can take traffic off the roads and deliver our materials direct to the site without affecting the running of the railway.”

Network Rail senior programme manager Ian Jones said: “We’d like to thank rail users and our local communities for their patience, particularly over the bank holiday weekend.

“The works in Stafford are of local and national benefit for passengers. It was essential we completed the work on time and means we can now get materials to the site by rail.”


Stafford Area Improvements Programme
With unprecedented levels of passenger and freight growth on the rail network and the West Coast main line full to capacity within the next five years, the Staffordshire Area Improvements Programme seeks to remove a major bottleneck through the Stafford area. Once complete, the £250m programme will facilitate the introduction of new timetables between 2015 and 2017 and help to create the capacity to run:
• Two extra trains per hour (off peak, each direction) between London and the north west of England
• One extra fast train per hour (each direction) between Manchester and Birmingham
• One extra freight train per hour (each direction) through Stafford

The programme will deliver this through the following three key projects:
• Phase 1 – Linespeed improvements between Crewe and Norton Bridge, increasing the line speed on the ‘slow’ lines from 75mph to 100mph. Completed in March 2014, these works included modifications to the overhead line equipment and installation of four new signals.
• Phase 2 – Stafford resignalling. The installation of a new freight loop and the replacement of life expired signalling, telecoms and power supplies, with the signalling control transferred from the existing Stafford No4 and No5 signal boxes to Rugby, plus the installation of bi-directional signalling for all platforms and an increase in the ‘slow’ line speeds (predominantly used by local passenger/freight services) from 75mph to 100mph between Great Bridgeford (near Norton Bridge) and Stafford. Running from spring 2014 to late 2015 (with an August 2015 commissioning), the majority of these works will be delivered during weekends and midweek nights.
• Phase 3 – Norton Bridge remodelling. The construction of a grade-separated junction (flyover) at Norton Bridge, including 6 miles of new 100mph railway, 10 new bridge structures and one bridge enhancement, four river diversions, major environmental mitigation works, pipeline, road and footpath diversions and the construction of temporary haul roads. Main works are scheduled to run to 2017, with key commissionings in 2016. As a project of national significance, the Norton Bridge project has been the subject of a Development Consent Order application which was approved by the Secretary of State for Transport in March of this year following a consultation process dating back to 2010.

Staffordshire Alliance - The Stafford Area Improvements Programme is being delivered by the Staffordshire Alliance – a partnership of Atkins, Laing O’Rourke, Network Rail and VolkerRail, working as part of a new collaborative contract that will help to transform the delivery of rail infrastructure projects in the UK.

Atkins - ( is one of the world's leading design, engineering and project management consultancies*, employing some 18,000 people across the UK, North America, Middle East, Asia Pacific and Europe. Our people’s breadth and depth of expertise and drive to ask why has allowed us to plan, design and enable some of the world’s most complex and time critical projects.
*15th largest global design firm (Engineering News-Record 2014) and the third largest multidisciplinary consultancy in Europe (Svensk Teknik och Design 2013).

Laing O’Rourke - A globally diverse engineering enterprise with a commitment to delivering Excellence Plus performance, founded on 164 years’ of experience. It funds, designs, manufactures, constructs and maintains the built environment – providing the facilities to accommodate, educate, employ, transport, care for and sustain communities.
Network Rail – Network Rail is the not for dividend owner and operator of Britain's railway infrastructure, which includes the tracks, signals, tunnels, bridges, viaducts, level crossings and stations - the largest of which we also manage. We aim to provide a safe, reliable and efficient rail infrastructure for freight and passenger trains to use.

VolkerRail - A leading multi-disciplinary railway infrastructure contractor with over 70 years’ project experience in both the heavy and light rail sectors. In addition to the delivery of major projects, it provides design, manufacture, construction, installation and testing services in the following disciplines - electrification, HV power distribution, signalling, plant, track construction, renewals and maintenance. VolkerRail is part of VolkerWessels UK, a multi-disciplinary civil engineering, construction and rail group with a turnover of £700 million. VolkerWessels UK employs c2,000 staff in six operating companies. The group is the UK arm of Dutch based VolkerWessels, one of the largest construction groups in Europe

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