Track and signalling


‘Milestone moment’ as Kettering-Corby Line carries passengers

The newly commissioned track between Kettering and Corby has entered passenger usage, marking the successful completion of a £130m capacity project.

Since construction began in 2014, a significant amount of work has been carried out to improve the capacity, speed and resilience of the route between the two Northamptonshire towns.

The project is a key part of Network Rail’s Midland Main Line upgrade, which is an investment of over £1bn, and from 2020 will enable improved long-distance passenger services between Sheffield, Nottingham and London, as well as improved services between Corby, Kettering and London.

A total of 21km of track has been renewed and laid, 14 bridges and viaducts have been strengthened, and 4km of drainage has been installed.

Embankment has been stabilised across 15km of the railway, and 73km of cabling has been laid.

There will also be further work carried out between Kettering and Corby to prepare the route for electric train services.

Although the full benefits of this work won’t be realised until 2020, Network Rail says that immediate benefits include improved reliability, the removal of a temporary speed restriction, an improved diversionary route, and the ability to accommodate freight containers which will help remove traffic from local roads.

Rail minister Jo Johnson said: “We are investing in the most significant upgrade of the Midland Main Line since it was completed in 1870 to transform services for passengers.

“This will mean more than 1000 extra seats available on services into London in the peak and faster intercity journey times on greener trains.

“The double tracking of the route from Corby will help to deliver 50% more seats in the peak between Kettering, Corby and London, and is essential to meet the growing demand for rail in the Midlands.”

Principal programme sponsor for Network Rail, Spencer Gibbens, called the completion of the work a “milestone moment” for the line.

“Last week saw the final piece of this part of the project completed as the newly installed signalling equipment was tested and commissioned.

“Passengers and the local community will really see the benefits of this investment in the future and I’m grateful for their patience whilst the work was carried out,” he added.

Jake Kelly, managing director of East Midlands Trains, continued: “We have worked in partnership with Network Rail since 2014 to deliver this important upgrade between Kettering and Corby and it is fantastic to see the line now in use by our services.

“In the short term, it improves reliability of our services but it is also a critical part of the wider Midland Main line upgrade which will boost capacity and provide a better service for customers.”

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