VolkerRail completes first project on Network Rail’s Panel Framework

VolkerRail has completed a rail systems enhancement project along the Bolton to Blackburn Line. The works incorporated the installation of 4,000m of new track, extending the exiting passenger loop by approximately one mile in either side of Darwen station.

The Bolton to Blackburn capacity enhancement project is the first project to be completed on Network Rail’s CP5 London North Western (LNW) North Panel Framework.

The project, which took place over five weeks, was funded by the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, Blackburn Borough Council and Darwen Borough Council. The new track, built either side of Darwen Station, now provides extra line capacity with the potential of half hourly daytime service between Manchester and Blackburn in the future.

In support of the track works VolkerRail also installed two new bridge decks, strengthened existing retaining walls and upgraded the existing signalling and power distribution systems.

James Syson, project manager for Blackburn with Darwen Council said: “As part of our wider plan for prosperity we have worked long and hard with our supporters, partners and funders to deliver this strategic link. We are delighted with the performance of VolkerRail in creating a track capable of supporting an increased service frequency throughout the day between Blackburn and Darwen and Manchester.”

Edwin Booth, chairman of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, said: "Improving rail links within Lancashire and with the surrounding region is a vital element in boosting economic growth and creating jobs for the people of Lancashire, as part of broader investment in our transport infrastructure. This work will provide greater capacity on this key railway line and should bring benefits for individuals and businesses across East Lancashire."