Rail alliance starts £250m WCML phase 2

Aaron Morby 10 years ago
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The partnership between Network Rail and Atkins, Laing O’Rourke and VolkerRail has started work on the project to deliver £250m worth of upgrades on the West Coast main line.

Phase two of the Stafford Area Improvement Programme will involve the installation of new signalling equipment and the creation of a new freight loop around Stafford station.

Under Network Rail’s first pure construction alliance set-up, the project team will share the benefits and risks of working on the project.

The new employer/contractor relationship moves away from the more traditional ‘hub and spoke’ style of contracting towards a completely integrated ‘one team’ structure based around one unified agreement.

The majority of the work will take place at weekends and overnight and the improved signalling and line is due to be fully operational by summer 2015.

Ian Jones, Network Rail programme manager and head of the Staffordshire Alliance said: “The resignalling of Stafford is part of a wider package of investment in the West Coast main line between Stafford and Crewe which, when complete, will help to boost reliability and capacity and remove one of the last remaining bottlenecks on the route.

“Alongside phase one linespeed improvements currently being delivered between Crewe and Stafford, these upgrades will mean a more reliable, faster and frequent service for the millions of passengers who travel on one of Europe’s busiest rail routes every month.”

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A third phase of the project has been proposed, subject to a development consent order, which would see the construction of a flyover at Norton Bridge near Stafford.

This would involve construction of a grade-separated junction, including six miles of new 100mph railway, 10 new bridge structures and two bridge enhancements, four river diversions and major environmental mitigation works.

Upon the granting of the order, main works are scheduled to run from spring 2014 to 2017, with key commissionings in 2016.

This would untangle the existing lines and remove the last major bottle neck on the route.

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