Latest Rail News

31.03.15

Network Rail completes aqueduct works at Carmuirs

Network Rail has completed work to demolish and replace the Carmuirs twin railway tunnels beneath the Forth and Clyde canal.

The canal was closed and drained in October 2014 to allow for the £4.5m works and has now been refilled and reopened.

The construction of the aqueduct and reinstatement of the canal – delivered as part of the £742m Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP) – was completed ahead of the busy Easter programme on the waterway.

EGIP is delivering a rolling programme of electrification across the central belt – reducing journey times and boosting capacity on routes including the Edinburgh-Glasgow Queen Street (via Falkirk High) line.

The new aqueduct is the 51st structure completed in a programme of 61 bridge works being delivered across the central belt to create extra space beneath bridges and tunnels to allow electric overhead power lines to be erected on key routes.

Rodger Querns, Network Rail programme director for EGIP, said: “While we are used to working with councils to close roads for bridge works, closing and draining a canal is novel and unique and we are grateful to Scottish Canals for their cooperation throughout this project.

“Carmuirs Tunnel presented an unusual engineering challenge and when you see the aqueduct and the re-instated canal, it is clear that our project team and contractors, BAM, fully met this challenge.”

Ahead of the six-month-long reconstruction programme, Network Rail diverted the canal tow path and installed a temporary footbridge across the railway to maintain access for the many runners, walkers and cyclists in the area and to ensure people could continue to visit the Falkirk Wheel during the work.

The canal was then drained with demolition of the twin tunnels and initial stages of reconstruction of the new single tunnel taking place over extended railway closures at both Christmas and New Year. There then followed an intensive period of work to complete the railway tunnel and construct the aqueduct to meet the end of March completion date agreed with Scottish Canals in advance of work beginning.

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