Overhead line and signalling work at Hitchin


VolkerRail was contracted, under the Hochtief/Network Rail alliance, to design build and commission the Hitchin Grade Separation; a new railway line to carry trains from the East Coast Main Line (ECML), in the down direction, over a new 29 span 800m viaduct and 1.2km chalk filled embankment, to join the down Cambridge line.

This was a two year, £6.2 million project, and VolkerRail delivered all the rail system elements including design, p-way, OLE, signalling and E&P works.

The project involved the construction of a new single track electrified railway providing a grade separated link, partly on a viaduct structure and partly on embankment, which now allows Cambridge bound trains from London to pass over the top of the ECML to increase reliability and assist in improving capacity.

The new junction is positioned at Hitchin north junction, approximately 1.1km North of Hitchin station, to link the down slow and down fast lines of the ECML with the Down Cambridge line.

The programme was split into four phases:

  • Works to facilitate building the new viaduct over the ECML
  • Installing the new connections in the ECML and the Cambridge line
  • Build the new line between ECML connection and Cambridge line connection
  • Commission and bring into use the new line

The main contract for VolkerRail commenced in August 2011 and was commissioned June 2013, five months ahead of schedule.