Latest Rail News

19.05.20

Victorian-era tunnel closure allows for West Coast main line improvement work

Kilsby Tunnel near Daventry reopened yesterday (May 18th) following major upgrades to drainage and track on a vital section of one of Europe’s busiest mixed-use passenger and freight railway lines.

It’s thought by Network Rail to be the longest closure of the tunnel since it opened in 1837.

The tunnel is 183-years-old, meaning water leaks through the walls and has left the track damaged and prone to flooding.

But now the waterproofing and track drainage improvement work is finished, trains will be able to run through the tunnel at full line speed of 110mph once again.  

This will save Avanti West Coast services a total of 82 minutes in delays every day.

1.3km of track was replaces, 7,700 tonnes of railway foundation stone laid and 745 metres of new draining was put in place.

The closure also allowed a total of 250 other jobs to be done on the that particular section of railway, between Rugby and Milton Keynes.

Such as replacing and maintaining signalling cabling and equipment, inspecting railway structures and managing overgrown lineside trees and plants.

Network Rail’s West Coast Mainline South director, James Dean, said: ““Bringing Kilsby tunnel up to modern standards will make a huge difference for passenger and freight trains on the economically important West Coast main line. In normal times it would have been impossible to close this entire section of railway for an upgrade of this scope and scale.

“I’d like to pay a huge credit to our train operators and industry colleagues for enabling us to carry out this work at short notice and get the railway in the best possible shape as the country recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.”

 

Video & Image: Network Rail 

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