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

 

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

View all News

rail industry focus

View all News

editor's comment

21/11/2017Keep up, we’re moving on

There has never been a more exciting time to write about rail: technology is improving, ways of working are changing and pan-industry collaboration is at its peak, all in an effort to keep up with unprecedented levels of demand. I am therefore thrilled to present you my first-ever edition as editor of RTM, which I am confident is bursting at the seams with excellent contributions from leaders across the board. One of the special features in this edition is our Scottish Rail focus... 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

Modernising journeys in north east England

09/11/2017Modernising journeys in north east England

First Hull Trains is about to embark on the biggest fleet overhaul it has delivered since being... more >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Eurotunnel rebrand: a more ‘Anglo-Saxon’ name?

21/11/2017Eurotunnel rebrand: a more ‘Anglo-Saxon’ name?

The owners of Eurotunnel have decided to change its name to Getlink, a move which the company described as “very Anglo-Saxon.” Despite the company operating across both England and France it has decided to change its name as it looks to “take on the challenges of new forms of mobility.” Previously called Group... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

Boosting workforce safety through design automation

17/11/2017Boosting workforce safety through design automation

David Shipman, innovations engineering manager in IP Signalling at Network Rail, makes the case for safeguarding the industry’s workforce t... more >
Rail risk: reality and perception

17/11/2017Rail risk: reality and perception

George Bearfield, director of system safety and health at the RSSB, looks at risk – reality and perception – and how the industry nee... more >
The new era of station retail

17/11/2017The new era of station retail

Hamish Kiernan, commercial director of retail at Network Rail Property, explains how investment in better retail outlets is transforming the cust... more >
Digital connectivity fit for the 2020s

17/11/2017Digital connectivity fit for the 2020s

Raj Sivalingam, executive director for telecommunications and spectrum at techUK, makes the case for pan-industry collaboration in order to deplo... more >