Railway upgrade to improve freight and passenger travel between North and South: Northwich loop track montage December 2018

Thursday 20 Jun 2019

Railway upgrade to improve freight and passenger travel between North and South

Region & Route:
North West & Central

An important section of railway line which keeps people and goods moving by separating passenger and freight trains in Cheshire is being upgraded.

Around half a kilometre of track dating back to the 1950s will be replaced near Northwich in a £700,000 Great North Rail Project investment.

The section of railway acts as a bypass for freight trains – meaning journeys for passenger services operating between Chester and Manchester Piccadilly will be faster and more reliable.

The upgrade will ensure fewer delays for passengers and will make the movement of freight across the North and South of the country easier.

Between 29 and 30 June, 530 metres of worn-out wooden sleepers will be replaced by modern concrete ones.

The new rail will be continuously welded - a technique which makes it stronger and better able to cope with heavy freight trains weighing up to 2,500 tonnes.

Tom Hugill, asset engineer at Network Rail, said: “Northwich loop’s £700,000 Great North Rail Project makeover allows the safe movement of freight and passenger trains essential to the Northern Powerhouse to continue across the Pennines and down to the South. This not only eases congestion on our roads, but also helps the environment as each freight train takes 76 lorries off the road.

“This upgrade also means less maintenance costs for the railway in the long-run, as the more modern and robust track can better carry the heavy loadings of the eight freight trains that pass through each weekday.”

There will be no disruption to passengers while the work takes place.

Each freight train takes 76 lorries off local roads and every tonne of freight carried by rail cuts carbon emissions by 76%.

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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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