Track and signalling


Major progress made on ECML, paving way for new trains this year

Network Rail has completed two key milestones in its changes to the East Coast Main Line (ECML) for its introduction of the new InterCity Express Program (IEP) trains later this year.

Routes spanning England and Scotland have been checked to ensure the new Class 800 trains  can safely pass other trains, clear all lineside structures such as station platforms and bridges, and that there is enough space to pass working railway staff when the line becomes fully operational.

Workers also removed incompatible electrical boosters transformers — used in electrical railways to collect the return current from the rails and the earth to return to the conductor — from the lines. 35 booster transformers were removed from 12 locations from Finsbury Park in London to Berwick-Upon-Tweed.

Separate modifications have also been made ranging from major demolitions and deconstructions of platforms and bridges to minor projects such as relocation of lineside equipment including ground signals and speed signs.

Paul McKeown, investment director at Network Rail, said: “These two milestones show the sheer scale of work Network Rail is doing behind the scenes in readiness for the introduction of the IEP trains onto the ECML later this year.

“We’re making excellent progress on our IEP readiness programme, which is testament to the hard work of our teams out on the ground and we’re all excited to see the new trains introduced as they will really benefit passengers by providing thousands of extra seats.”

The first Virgin Hitachi Azuma trains arrived in the UK in March and it is expected the fleet will operate on the East Coast Main Line when it is introduced in December.

The gauge clearance was needed over 1,700 miles of the route, including 3000 sets of switches and crossings, and 800 bridges and structures. The changes will encompass London King’s Cross to Inverness, Aberdeen, Leeds, Hull, Harrogate, Skipton and Glasgow.

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Image credit: Network Rail 


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