Friday 18 Aug 2017
Rugeley Trent Valley to Walsall electrification work is well underway
- London North Western
Improvements to the railway between Rugeley Trent Valley and Walsall are progressing as planned as Network Rail engineers continue work to electrify the Chase line.
Over the past six days, engineers have carried out a range of work including installing 52 steel structures to support the overhead lines which will power electric trains, refurbishing existing power lines south of Walsall station and installing over 25 concrete foundations ready for steel stanchions to be installed. Vegetation has been cut back, 120m of new drainage has been put in and the railway tunnel under Walsall has been inspected.
The line will reopen on Tuesday 29 August after a 16 day closure as part of Network Rail’s national Railway Upgrade Plan which is seeing more than £100m invested in the Chase line.
An increasing number of passengers use the Chase line each year and improvements are needed to accommodate this growth. Overhead wires are currently only installed as far as Walsall which means London Midland currently runs diesel trains from Birmingham to Rugeley Trent Valley. Once fully electrified, passengers will benefit from a cleaner, greener, quieter and more reliable railway between Birmingham and Rugeley with more frequent services.
Over the next 10 days the remaining steel structures will be installed, more of the existing overhead power lines will be replaced and 2800m of rail will be replaced.
Martin Tiller, Network Rail’s project sponsor, said: “This work, part of our Railway Upgrade Plan, will mean passengers travelling between Rugeley and Birmingham via Walsall will have a better, more reliable railway.
“The work is going to plan and we are progressing well. Unfortunately these upgrades cannot be done while trains are running so we have had to close the line between Walsall and Rugeley Trent Valley for 16 days. The work has been carefully planned with London Midland to get the maximum amount completed whilst causing the least disruption. I would like to thank passengers for their patience while we carry out these upgrades to deliver a better railway.”
Amanda Milling, MP for Cannock Chase said: "I completely understand that passengers will be very concerned about the disruption on the Chase Line in the coming weeks but they will enjoy a much better service once the electrification is complete. The electrification of the Chase Line will see faster and more frequent trains which mean there are hundreds more seats, bringing an end to the misery passengers have faced over the last few years. I would urge passengers to check before they travel as there will be an amended timetable with a replacement bus service."
London Midland’s head of Route, Rob Hornsey, said: “We would much sooner be running trains than buses in August but it will be worth it when we can run more frequent, cleaner, quieter and quicker trains to carry more people when the work is done. I’d like to thank all our passengers and neighbours for their patience and understanding while this exciting project to upgrade the Chase Line progresses.”
The closure in numbers:
- 16 days of closure
- Over 100 new steel structures installed
- 14 engineering trains used
- 500m of troughing put in
- 2,800m of rail replaced
- 20,000 tonnes of aggregates used
- 6 gantries erected
- 12+ pre cast concrete bases installed
- 40 piles installed
- 20 concrete foundations installed
- 2 electricity substation developed
- Nearly 200,000 track components used
- 1,250m of geotextile matting installed under the track
The closure has been carefully planned with London Midland. Work which will take place includes:
- Replacing and realigning the track at various locations between Walsall and Rugeley Trent Valley
- Temporary closure of Bloxwich level crossing. A diversionary route for road traffic and pedestrians will be in place
- Temporary closure of Landywood and Stoneyfields footpath crossings
- Piling to install remaining foundations for stanchions
- Installation of stanchions and gantries ahead of overhead lines being installed in 2018
From Sunday 13 August until Monday 21 August buses will replace trains between Tame Bridge Parkway, Walsall and Rugeley Trent Valley to an amended timetable
From Tuesday 22 August until Monday 28 August buses will replace trains between Walsall and Rugeley Trent Valley to an amended timetable.
For more information on the work visit: https://www.networkrail.co.uk/running-the-railway/our-routes/lnw/chase-line-electrification-rugeley-to-walsall/.
For travel information visit www.nationalrail.co.uk.
About Network Rail
Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.
About the Railway Upgrade Plan
The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:
- longer, faster more frequent trains;
- better, more reliable infrastructure; and
- better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.