Rail Industry Focus

01.03.12

Full speed ahead

Source: Rail Technology Magazine Feb/March 2012

Drought conditions have disrupted services on parts of the Fen Line in Norfolk. Network Rail’s Sam Kelly tells RTM how this issue is being tackled to bring train services back up to speed.

Speed restrictions are gradually being lifted on the Fen Line, reducing the amount of delays to passengers waiting for services between King’s Lynn and London.

Dry weather in the region over the last six months, with below average rainfall and above average temperatures, has caused peat soil under the track to dry out and shrink.

This affected the track, which could move unexpectedly and become “bumpy”. In some cases, this also caused the track to move out of alignment with the overhead wires.

Drivers have to slow down to negotiate the areas that were worst affected, travelling at a mere 40mph due to TSRs. Network Rail is working to raise these limits, and bring service reliability back up for passengers.

Network Rail’s Sam Kelly said: “Passengers have experienced delays to services on the Fen Line between Ely and King’s Lynn recently. These are the result of speed restrictions imposed along some stretches of track.”

Stabilisation

She went on to explain the programme of work Network Rail has underway to stabilise the track bed. Speed restrictions can now be gradually lifted on affected sections before removing the restrictions altogether.

This work includes the removal of a number of trees alongside the track to stabilise the soil near the track, adding extra ballast and tamping the track to make it firmer. It will cover the whole route between King’s Lynn and Littleport, not just the areas that currently have speed restrictions in place.

 Kelly added: “While the work is done we will use a high-tech inspection train to examine the track and identify if any further work is needed.

“Following the first phase of this work we have increased a 40mph restriction to 60mph between Littleport and Downham Market. While this is still slower than the usual line speed, it is a step towards removing the restrictions altogether,” she continued.

“Our aim is to remove all speed restrictions in the coming weeks, provided the ground conditions continue to improve as planned.

“We understand that journey times are affected by these speed restrictions and are sorry for any delays people experience while we deal with this issue.”

A mammoth undertaking

Services between King’s Lynn and London are run by First Capital Connect. In a statement, the operator said: “We have been asked why we can’t amend the timetable to include the delays.

“It is a mammoth undertaking to rewrite the timetable; it takes many months to create and agree with other train operating companies, Network Rail and the Department for Transport. This is one of the reasons why we have only two timetable changes a year.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

Comments

JSW   12/05/2013 at 08:06

Ludicrous that a temporary timetable can not be introduced at short notice to incorporate slower running. Another example of the ineffectual, over-complex, fragmented structure that disables our national railway system.

Add your comment

 

related

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

View all News

rail industry focus

View all News

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Year with brand-new infrastructrure to... read more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the TOC, gives RTM an update on the innovative scheme. Recognising that young people are more likely to take a risk trespassing on railway tracks, C... more > more last word articles >

interviews

Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provi... more >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Apprentice to Co-leading the Rail Sector Deal

05/06/2019Apprentice to Co-leading the Rail Sector Deal

In a series of Q&A’s with key speakers on the run up to TransCityRail Midlands, we caught up with TransCityRail panellist and Amey’s commercial account director, Anna Delvecchio, for her insight into what the Rail Sector Deal means for the rail industry and its supply chain. Anna started her career as an apprentice at the age o... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

Hitachi trains for Happy trains

10/06/2019Hitachi trains for Happy trains

ScotRail project manager Kirsty Devlin discusses the withdrawal of Class 365s, to be replaced with the brand-new Class 385 fleet. While Scot... more >
Malcolm Holmes on new stations for the Black Country

10/06/2019Malcolm Holmes on new stations for the Black Country

Malcolm Holmes, executive director of the West Midlands Rail Executive, described the new stations set to be built for the Black Country region o... more >
The skills bottleneck: Dealing with growing apprenticeship demand

10/06/2019The skills bottleneck: Dealing with growing apprenticeship demand

Richard Turner, head of apprenticeships at Network Rail, details the reasons for growing apprenticeship demand in the rail sector over the coming... more >
A train journey on the Midland Main Line 15 years from now…

10/06/2019A train journey on the Midland Main Line 15 years from now…

Chris Hobson, director of policy and external affairs at the East Midlands Chamber, talks in detail about what travelling through the region will... more >