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Ground decontamination delays Bromsgrove station relocation

Resignalling work and the relocation of the new station at Bromsgrove have been delayed, but the overall project timescale will still be met, RTM has been told. 

Barnt Green to Bromsgrove electrification, which is part of a £100m investment in the railway in north Worcestershire, will significantly improve local rail services once complete. 

Work is progressing on the structures clearance at Barnt Green and in parallel the construction of a new railway station at Bromsgrove has been taking shape – but is now delayed. 

Richard Dugdale, Network Rail’s project sponsor, told RTM that the relocation is a “considerable undertaking”. The original completion date was May 2015 but this won’t happen. 

The station project is a third party scheme, promoted by Centro and Worcestershire County Council, being delivered by Network Rail. Work started on the new site, 450m south of the existing Bromsgrove station, last year. 

bromsgrove artist's impression hi-res

“But we’ve encountered issues there, principal of which is that [the need for] ground decontamination is more extensive and onerous than the trial pits would have led us to believe,” said Dugdale. 

“It is a difficult site, as it is on the site of an old locomotive depot and a more recent large oil terminal. There are some considerable contamination issues and that decontamination work, which is probably four times bigger than predicted, is just concluding. 

“This has involved a deep dig and the removal of spoil and the replacement with clean fill, mostly in the area that will be the new car park.” 

The date for the station opening is now November 2015, but that delay does not matter in output terms, Dugdale said. “The new and the old will continue to service the existing level of timetable up until the December 2016 timetable change, which is when the electrics come in.” 

As well as delaying the station relocation, Network Rail has deferred a 12-day closure in late October for the new signalling system to be installed between Ashchurch (Cheltenham) and Five Ways, to be brought into use on 2 November. 

Part of the project, needed to electrify the line, is that the existing signalling equipment between Barnt Green and Bromsgrove requires immunisation works, which will result in a complete signalling renewal and control transfer to the West Midlands Signalling Centre.

“We are not going to commission in November; it’ll be next year,” said Dugdale. “The main reason for this is that the readiness reviews indicate that a level of risk associated with the November commissioning which we won’t accept. 

“We are deliberately re-planning and allowing the resignalling project more time and deferring what was a sizeable closure of the route through Bromsgrove – not just for resignalling.” 

Network Rail has a regulatory requirement to have Barnt Green to Bromsgrove energised by July 2016. 

Dugdale told us: “We are still working to this schedule. However, we are currently in negotiation with train and freight operators about the access requirements for the signalling commissioning. I can’t say any more than that, other than it will be early 2016.” Despite the deferrals, he is confident the project will be delivered on time. 

To learn more about the Barnt Green to Bromsgrove electrification project and for the full interview with Richard Dugdale read the April/May 2015 edition of RTM which is now available for FREE using the new RTM App, available on iOS and Android. Search ‘RTM Magazine’ in the App Store / Google Play. 


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