Latest Rail News

30.07.20

£81m signalling scheme hits halfway marker in South London

As the London Bridge Area Signalling Centre ends operations, an £81m scheme by Network Rail (NR) to renew infrastructure in the Hither Green area of South London reaches the halfway mark and is on track to deliver an improved railway for passengers.

The project means the entire main line from Charing Cross and St Pancras International to Chislehurst is under the control of Three Bridges Rail Operating Centre near Gatwick in Sussex, signalling from modern WestCAD workstations.

NR and its contractors have been working on site at Hither Green since Saturday morning (25th July) replacing the 1976 built signalling equipment, which was reaching its end of operations and was becoming progressively hard to maintain and operate dependably.

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Teams are installing 92 LED signal heads, and replacing almost 90 track circuits with 262 Frauscher axle counters, along with enhancing 86 sets of points and laying 24km of power cable and 19km of fibre telecoms cable.

As well as new signalling equipment, significant work is being undertaken at stations, from new drainage and platform edging at Chislehurst, to ongoing work at Hither Green station itself, which is getting new platforms and canopies.

Blockade Director Jon Ruch said: “This is a massive project and much-needed as we know passengers in South London have been suffering increasing disruption in this area. The move to axle counters will improve reliability as we won’t have to maintain insulated block joints and impedance bonds, and we’re also building in greater operational flexibility with new turn-backs at Lee, Hither Green and Grove Park.

“People often forget the impact of cable faults on reliability too, and relaying all the power supply and telecoms will have a massive positive impact. On top of all that, for many of us who worked on the Thameslink Programme, this is really the final part of the jigsaw we started many years ago and puts control of the busiest and most difficult to manage part of our network in a single location with modern technology.”

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