Track and signalling

05.08.19

West Coast main line reopens after £27m overhaul of key junction

The West Coast main line has fully reopened after the major renewal of Acton Grange junction, near Warrington, which had undergone a £27m overhaul as part of the Great North Rail Project.

The project saw upgrades to track, cabling, overhead lines and signalling during the 16-day closure and brought an outdated section of track and equipment up to modern standards, further improving the reliability of the economically important West Coast main line.

That greater reliability is expected to also pass on vital benefits to passengers, as both themselves and goods services will be kept moving as much as possible.

Despite challenges with extreme weather over the last two weeks – including extreme temperatures, heavy rain and thunderstorms – the work was finished as planned by the Network Rail team.

Actno Grange 1

Workers on site during £27m renewal of Acton Grange junction
 

David Golding, acting route managing director, said: “Our complete overhaul of Acton Grange junction is vital as it sits on the West Coast main line, Europe’s busiest mixed-use railway.

“With more than 260 trains using this junction every day, it is important to keep it in a safe, good condition. Our upgrades will ensure this vital part of the railway stays reliable for passengers for many years to come.

“I want to thank passengers for bearing with us while we delivered this much-needed work.”

Network Rail has minimised future disruption to passengers in the area by bringing forward other engineering work to coincide with the 16-day closure of Acton Grange junction. Teams upgraded 4km of track and 2km of drainage through nearby Sutton Tunnel. A track crossing was also removed near Runcorn East station.

This saved a further 13-day closure of the West Coast main line and has improved safety and reliability of these well-used sections of track.

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