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Chase Line electrification moves forward with steel structure installation

Another 52 steel structures have been put in place on the Rugelely Trent Valley to Walsall electrification programme, which Network Rail says is now well underway.

Existing powerlines south of Walsall station have also been refurbished, whilst over 25 concrete foundations ready for steel stanchions have also been put in place.

Network Rail expects the line to be open again for passenger service on 29 August after a 16-day closure, which comes as part of a national investment that is putting more than £100m in the Chase Line.

At the moment, overhead wires are only installed as far as Walsall, meaning London Midland currently runs diesel trains from Birmingham to Rugeley Trent Valley.

However, once this tranche of work is complete in early 2018, passengers will benefit from an electrified, greener and quieter railway.

Over the next 10 days, ‘Orange Army’ engineers will also put in place the remaining steel structures to be installed, and more of the existing overhead power line will be replaced along with 2800m of rail.

Chase line electrification - Walsall - Copy

“This work, part of our Railway Upgrade Plan, will mean passengers travelling between Rugeley and Birmingham via Walsall will have a better, more reliable railway,” said Martin Tiller, the infrastructure owner’s project sponsor.

“The work is going to plan and we are progressing well. Unfortunately these upgrades cannot be done while trains are running so we have had to close the line between Walsall and Rugeley Trent Valley for 16 days.

“The work has been carefully planned with London Midland to get the maximum amount completed whilst causing the least disruption.”

Amanda Milling, MP for Cannock Chase, said she sympathised with passengers’ frustration about the disruption on the Chase Line, but reassured them that once works are finished they will quickly notice the benefits of the upgrade.

“The electrification of the Chase Line will see faster and more frequent trains which mean there are hundreds more seats, bringing an end to the misery passengers have faced over the last few years,” she explained. “I would urge passengers to check before they travel as there will be an amended timetable with a replacement bus service.”

London Midland’s head of Route, Rob Hornsey also commented: “We would much sooner be running trains than buses in August but it will be worth it when we can run more frequent, cleaner, quieter and quicker trains to carry more people when the work is done.

“I’d like to thank all our passengers and neighbours for their patience and understanding while this exciting project to upgrade the Chase Line progresses.”

Today’s news follows three separate electrification projects in England being ditched by Chris Grayling, a move criticised by authorities in the north.

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Andrew Gwilt   22/08/2017 at 17:30

The Chase Line electrification should be completed in early 2018. Possibly at the same time or same month as the Gospel Oak-Barking Line electrification that is also to be completed early next year. Along with Class 710's that London Overground have ordered that their new rolling stocks will operate on the electrified GOBLIN route as well on other routes including Lea Valley metro services, Romford-Upminster and Euston-Watford Junction DC services which the Class 710's will be replacing the Class 172's, Class 315's and Class 317's and to transfer the Class 378/2's for East London Line services. London Midland Class 323's and Class 350's will be using the electrified Chase Line along with a Birmingham New St-Rugeley Trent Valley via Walsall service to start operation once the electrification is finished.

SWB   22/08/2017 at 18:53

The headline "Chase Line electrification moves forward with streel structure installation" contains an interesting error (or so I presume). The dictionary says 'streel' is a chiefly Irish word that means to saunter or wander along aimlessly. I hope this isn't an editorial comment or Freudian slip regarding the work being done!

Bd   23/08/2017 at 09:55

well dont forget the line betwen barnt green and bromsgrove in west midlands is being electrfied not enough rolling stock as 323 emu are running o eventually bromsgrove on cross-city line which includes

Noam Bleicher   24/08/2017 at 13:51

It's interesting they're working to the latticework design in use on the London Midland Region [capitals intended] since 1959, as opposed to the feeble wire headspans which have proved so disastrous on the ECML, or the heavily over-engineered adjustable stamped steel structures that have, inter alia, driven costs close to £3bn on the GWML.

Essex Commuter   26/08/2017 at 23:54

Also new overhead line structures are to be installed on the Southend Victoria as part of the overhead line renewal works to replace the overhead wires that were first installed in the 1950's & 60's and were first energised at 1500v DC before converting to 25000v (25kv) AC. And the new overhead wires are designed to taut during hot weather and not sag unlike older overhead wires that do sag and get damaged because of the heat. Glad that Network Rail are replacing the overhead wires on the Southend Victoria line.

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