Latest Rail News

23.01.15

Stop-start progress on ‘essential’ Walsall electrification bridge rebuilds

Network Rail is to complete rebuild work on two ‘essential’ bridges as part of the electrification of the railway between Walsall and Rugeley Trent Valley by the spring, but work on a third has been delayed until later this year. 

All three bridges are being rebuilt to accommodate overhead power lines underneath as part of the £30m electrification of the Chase Line. 

Work started in autumn 2014 to rebuild the North Street bridge, with completion due in late spring 2015. 

The construction of a new bridge in Central Drive, however, was stopped late last year while the potential impact of former mineshafts was assessed. 

Following the investigations, work will resume on 26 January to complete the construction by late spring. A road closure will be in place, but pedestrian access will be maintained throughout the work. 

But work to rebuild a third bridge at Park Street in Walsall town centre has been rescheduled until October 2015 after complications to remove the existing structure were revealed. 

Work on the Park Street bridge had resumed last week after a temporary stop over Christmas and the New Year to minimise the impact on the local area. But engineers discovered the structure, which dates back to the 1930s, was different to the original plans, which means the planned removal of the structure by crane has to be reassessed, said Network Rail.

Originally, the process for rebuilding the bridge was to be completed in four stages to allow Park Street to remain open for business, with the project expected to be complete by July 2015. 

However, as a result of the reschedule, work will now take place between October and spring 2016. Network Rail is confident, though, that new time will not impact on the overall electrification project between Walsall and Rugeley Trent Valley which will be completed by the end of 2017. 

Liam Sumpter, area director for Network Rail, said: “Electrification provides a greener, faster and more reliable railway, providing a better service to passengers. A significant amount of work is required to upgrade the railway and much is already underway or completed as part of our investment. 

“Replacing these bridges is essential to allow the line to be electrified and while there will be disruption while the upgrades are completed the end result will be a better railway for Walsall and the wider West Midlands.” 

(Central Drive image: c. Network Rail)

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