Monday 16 Jun 2003


Region & Route:
The roll-out of the new Pendolino’s onto the West Coast route continues apace, with testing ongoing to ensure the tilting trains are safely introduced onto the rail network. Infrastructure operator Network Rail has been working closely with Virgin Trains to increase the introduction of the new Class 390 trains onto the West Coast Main Line, whilst carrying out stringent checks to resolve any compatibility issues which may arise between the train and the track. Explained Network Rail’s Director of the West Coast project James Martin: ‘As with the introduction of any new train onto an existing railway, such as West Coast, we have experienced some electrical interference from the Pendolino’s which has affected certain parts of the signalling and telecommunications. ‘Constant monitoring and adjustment works to both the trains and the infrastructure have largely resolved any issues south of Preston, which has enabled Virgin to progressively ramp up the introduction of its Pendolino fleet, running between London, Birmingham and Manchester. `We are now also holding compatibility tests north of Preston, through to Glasgow and Edinburgh to identify any further issues and put measures in place to resolve them. This work is going well and means that we continue to see the Virgin fleet progressing further north.’ Rail Midlands has today officially unveiled the new state of the art Rail Traffic Control Centre at Saltley, Birmingham, which will form the hub of West Midlands and West Coast train signalling and operations – allowing for greater flexibility and further efficiencies in service delivery and safety. The building, is already home to Network Rail’s Midl Notes for editors: ·        Built in the 1860’s, the West Coast Main Line has developed into the UK’s busiest mixed traffic railway (responsible for 43% of Britain’s UK freight market) and is recognised as a leading European rail artery. Responsible for over 2,000 train movements each day, more than 16 million people rely on the route as their main form of transport. ·        The West Coast Main Line comprises some 1,660 track miles, 2,800 signals including 13 major junctions and 10,000 bridge spans. ·        The modernisation will introduce a 125mph railway with tilting train operation by Winter 2004. Network Rail, the new operator of Britain’s rail network, is the ‘not for dividend’ successor to Railtrack.  Its objective is clear: to provide safe, reliable and efficient rail infrastructure.  Network Rail owns and maintains the tracks, signals, tunnels, bridges, viaducts, level crossings and stations of Britain’s railway.  It provides access to the tracks and stations for every passenger and freight train, timetables their movements and operates the signalling. Network Rail’s focus is clear – operations, maintenance and renewal. Its vision is uncompromising – engineering excellence for Britain’s railway.  The company is determined to build upon the high levels of safety, which exist in every aspect of its activities.  Network Rail is a company limited by guarantee with members instead of shareholders.  It is run along commercial lines but any operating surplus is re-invested in the rail network.  This innovative structure ensures that investment is funded at very low cost, and the suggestion of putting profit before safety is removed. Network Rail has one main priority: to fix the railway.  Major enhancements will be developed by separate ‘special purpose vehicles’ led by the Strategic Rail Authority. Network Rail will pursue a dedicated focus on its critical role of delivering engineering excellence for Britain’s railway. Details about the company can be found on the Network Rail web site: For more information please call the Network Rail press office on 0161 228 8582 or 0207 904 7749.

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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.

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