Latest Rail News

08.04.14

Green light for Norton Bridge flyover

Plans to build a new railway flyover on the Stafford to Crewe section of the West Coast Main Line have been given the green light. 

The planned flyover at Norton Bridge, which will help increase capacity and improve reliability on the line, will see six miles of new 100mph railway constructed as well as 10 new bridge structures, one bridge enhancement, four river diversions, major environmental mitigation works and pipeline, road and footpath diversions. 

The works are part of the £250m Stafford Area Improvements Programme, delivered by the Staffordshire Alliance, a partnership of Atkins, Laing O'Rourke, Network Rail and VolkerRail. Network Rail said it will provide a significant boost to journeys made by millions of passengers who use the WCML every month. 

map for norton

(Map courtesy CEEQUAL)

Ian Jones, head of the Staffordshire Alliance, said: “With the WCML set to reach capacity in just five years time, the flyover at Norton Bridge is one of the last improvements which can be made on the route which will help to provide a better service for passengers. 

“Building on the recent completion of line speed improvements between Crewe and Norton Bridge, this has been a milestone month for the programme. Our key focus now is to deliver these works efficiently and effectively and minimise the impact they will have on the local community.” 

As an infrastructure project of national significance, the Norton Bridge scheme was the subject of a Development Consent Order (DCO) application – a process preceded by comprehensive consultation dating back to 2010, with the views of stakeholders directly influencing the final scheme. 

Following submission of the DCO application by Network Rail in December 2012, a six month examination period began in April 2013, with a recommendation made to the secretary of state for transport, Patrick McLoughlin MP, who last week made a decision to grant the DCO application. 

Work on the flyover is due to start in spring 2014 and be completed in summer 2016. 

The wider SAIP works are as follows: 

Phase 1 – Linespeed improvements between Crewe and Norton Bridge, increasing the line speed on the slow lines from 75mph to 100mph. Running from January 2013 to April 2014, these works include modifications to the overhead line equipment and installation of four new signals and will be delivered during weekends and midweek nights, significantly reducing the impact to passengers and lineside residents. 

Phase 2 – Stafford resignalling. The installation of a new freight loop and the replacement of life expired signalling, telecoms and power supplies, with the signalling control transferred from the existing Stafford No4 and No5 signal boxes to Rugby, plus the installation of bi-directional signalling for all platforms and an increase in the ‘slow’ line speeds (predominantly used by local passenger/freight services) from 75mph to 100mph between Great Bridgeford (near Norton Bridge) and Stafford. Running from spring 2014 to summer 2015, the majority of these works will also be delivered during weekends and midweek nights. 

Phase 3 – Proposed flyover at Norton Bridge. The proposed construction of a grade-separated junction, including six miles of new 100mph railway, 10 new bridge structures and two bridge enhancements, four river diversions, major environmental mitigation works, pipeline, road and footpath diversions and the construction of temporary haul roads. The key commissionings are in 2016. 

staffordshire alliance apprentices Jake Ashe Emily Davies and Sahil Aggarwal

(Image shows apprentices on the Staffordshire Area Improvements Programme)

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