NTC Dec 2015 Norton Bridge 081.JPG

Stafford rail development sets track-laying record as it enters final stages

Workers at a major development near Stafford have set a track-laying record as they enter the final stages in the construction of a new rail-over-rail flyover.

As part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan the Staffordshire Alliance is building the new rail-over-rail flyover at Norton Bridge to remove a major bottleneck on the West Coast mainline (WCML).

This will deliver the capability for more passenger and freight services to run.

The work has involved construction of 11 new bridges, six miles of new track and a new 1.2km section of road, as well as four river diversions and movement of over one million tonnes of earth.

The previous record for track-laying in a 48-hour period was 3,932m set by Network Rail High Output, but the Alliance achieved 4,017m of (un-commissioned) track over December 12 and 13th, hitting a peak production output of 375m/hr to achieve 3km of track laid in just 8 hours.

Teams worked throughout the weekend, utilising two new track construction machines in parallel to ensure the new track was in place.

Greg Salisbury, project leader for Track and OLE on the project said “There has been a tremendous amount of hard work by everyone involved in the project working together to get us to this point, from design, structures, earthworks, and into track.  Setting a new record for the amount of track installed in a weekend is just the culmination of months of planning and effort from the whole team.  We’re now looking forward to continue this success into the OLE and signal installation and test phases to enable us to meet our planned commissioning of the new tracks in Easter 2016.”

A cutting has been created for the new lines which branch off the existing WCML at Little Bridgeford, north of Stafford, with one line re-joining the WCML towards Crewe and the other running over the WCML to re-join the Stone/Stoke-on-Trent line avoiding the existing Norton Bridge junction.

Staffordshire Alliance manager, Matt Clark, said he was delighted with the progress.

“This is another massive milestone for the project that has been achieved on programme, with the whole Alliance team pulling together to deliver an exceptional amount of earthworks and track in a very short space of time.  We are all now focussed on the completion of the remainder of this Railway Upgrade Plan project that will remove a major bottle neck on the WCML, which will be great news for passengers.”

The £250m programme of rail investment is entering its final stages with the new rail-over-rail flyover set to be commissioned at Easter 2016 at Norton Bridge.

Passengers are being advised to check before they travel this Christmas with track formation works and bridge construction taking place in the Stafford area as part of the works.

The work is being delivered by the Staffordshire Alliance - a partnership of VolkerRail, Atkins, Laing O’Rourke and Network Rail.