£250m work to boost West Coast Main Line numbers

Work has now started on a£250 million scheme to boost passenger capacity on the West Coast Main Line at Stafford, as a public inquiry was launched into part of the four-year scheme.

The Stafford Area Improvements Programme will see two extra trains running between London and the north-west every hour. There will also be an additional fast train between Manchester and Birmingham every hour, and one extra freight train passing through Stafford each hour by 2017.

Work to increase line speeds between Norton Bridge and Crewe from 75pm to 100mph is currently taking place and is due to be completed by April 2014.

Bosses say most of the work will take place during weekends and midweek nights to limit the impact on passengers and residents.

Preparation work has also started on a major replacement of the outdated Stafford signalling system which will boost reliability.

A short additional ‘loop’ line for freight trains will be built near Stafford to give drivers rest time and to allow faster moving passenger carriages to pass.

The bulk of this work will take place between Spring 2014 and Summer 2015.

A six month public inquiry was launched yesterday(Thurs) into the final and most complicated stage which would see a flyover built in Norton Bridge.

The works require Government approval and include constructing six miles of new 100mph railway comprising 12 new bridges, four river diversions, and the diversion of the B5026, Meece Road and Searchlight Lane.

Four major gas and fuel pipelines will have to be diverted with rare newts being rehomed and temporary haul roads built.

If granted approval by the Secretary of State, work should take place between Spring 2014 and Autumn 2016.

The changes will separate the InterCity, commuter and freight lines which currently hold each other up.

Work on the Norton Bridge phase will require the purchase of land with negotiations still ongoing.

The project is being conducted by the Staffordshire Alliance – a partnership of Atkins, Laing O’Rourke, Network Rail and VolkerRail – who are working on the joint contract.


Source : ExpressandStar

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