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Four-year track renewal programme completed in Yorkshire

A four-year programme to renew track in Yorkshire has been successfully completed using a specialist train.

The train renewal system (TRS) completed its final shift, on the East Coast Main Line between York and Doncaster, on 17 September.

The train, which is over a third of a mile long and cost £40m, has renewed 250 miles of track at a rate of around half a mile per shift as part of the Rail Upgrade Plan.  Since the programme began in 2012, the distance of track replaced is equivalent to building a new railway from Kings Cross to Durham, according to Network Rail.

It completed five shifts a week, operating at night in order to minimise the disruption to passengers.


Ben Brooks, TRS project director for Network Rail, said: “We hope railway users will feel the full benefit of the programme, as many may have been unaware that this work was being carried out.”

The track relaying system carries out the following in a continuous process:

  1. Unclips the old sleeper fastenings and removes them from the track, with a magnetic drum, for disposal
  2. Removes the old rail from the sleeper housings
  3. Removes the old sleepers from the track and transports them to the sleeper carrying wagons using gantry cranes and pallet style containers
  4. Levels off the ballast bed and displaces the material to the side of the track
  5. Places the new sleepers on the prepared ballast bed and spaces them correctly
  6. Positions the new rail onto the new sleepers
  7. Fastens the new rail to the new sleepers
  8. Collects the old ballast and distributes it back to the newly installed track, ready for final geometry correction with a tamping machine

Source: Network Rail


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Andrew Gwilt   20/09/2016 at 00:27

What about improving other major junctions such as Colton Junction with a new flyover to be built for the ECML so that it wont cause any bottlenecks for trains using the ECML and North Pennine lines to/from York and other junctions including Werrington Junction in Peterborough as a new flyover is planned to be built which the line to Spalding and Lincoln comes off the ECML north of Peterborough station which is also to improve the bottleneck on the ECML. Just like the Hitchin Flyover which was built to end the bottleneck and Cambridge & King's Linn trains now use the flyover that has seen a lot of improvement to the ECML and for Great Northern to improve better journey times and to minimise disruptions and accidents on the railways.

David   21/09/2016 at 18:16

Werrington Junction is not a priority as there are not half as many through trains as there are at Hitchin. And you say that flyovers minimise accidents, but I haven't seen any serious incidents caused by flat junctions in a very long time.

Vaughan Cole   21/09/2016 at 20:45

Flyovers increase junction capacity. Keep in mind the development of the route Waterloo to Woking and Basingstoke say 1900 to 1930. Regards, Vaughan Cole.

Andrew Gwilt   22/09/2016 at 08:33

What Vaughan said. I agree.

David   26/09/2016 at 00:02

Ideally it would be nice to be able to grade separate every and all junctions, however the limited funding that Network Rail receives makes it impossible to do this.

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