Track and drainage upgrades complete on major Midlands rail route: Track removal machine in action during Water Orton upgrade work February 2022

Monday 28 Feb 2022

Track and drainage upgrades complete on major Midlands rail route

Region & Route:
North West & Central
| North West & Central: Central

Essential work to improve future journeys for passengers and freight on a major rail route into Birmingham is complete.

Between 19 and 27 February, alterations to track and lineside drainage were carried out as part of long-term improvements to the network, including preparations for HS2 – Britain’s new zero carbon, high-speed railway.

The work over the last nine days between Birmingham New Street and Coleshill Parkway has seen:

  • 457m of new railway track laid near Water Orton station
  • Major sewerage diversion work
  • Maintenance to signals – the traffic lights of the railway
  • Preparation for HS2 at Duddeston
  • Clearance of overgrown trees and bushes

Now the essential work is complete CrossCountry Trains services are running as normal through the Midlands.

The track upgrades included a railway first, with six specialist railway ‘track removal machines’ being connected to move an incredible half kilometre section of track in one go.

This was made possible thanks to a new '4D' computer planning tool which allowed engineers to simulate the lifting and moving of the track in advance to make sure it could be done in the short period of time available.

The vital upgrades will mean more reliable journeys for passengers travelling on this busy route in and out of Birmingham.

Patrick Cawley, director for ‘On Network Works’ for Network Rail and HS2, said: “I’d like to thank passengers and local people for their patience while we completed important upgrades between Birmingham and Coleshill Parkway stations which are needed to prepare the network for HS2.

“The work is the first in a series of upgrades in this area which will pave the way for more reliable journeys and help build the railway for the future.”

Richard Morris, regional director East Midlands & East Anglia for CrossCountry, said: “Managing upgrades while running a reliable service is never easy. However, these upgrades will help to future proof our railway for the next generation. We worked hard with industry partners to minimise any inconvenience to customers. The alternative rail-replacement services were well received and a number of customers have got in touch to say that their journeys went a lot more smoothly than they had anticipated.”

The next major phase of work between Birmingham New Street and Water Orton will involve the demolition of Saltley Viaduct which will take place in August 2022.

Network Rail will continue to work closely with CrossCountry Trains to keep passengers informed about changes to services.

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