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Hitchin flyover works to boost capacity

The first passenger services have started using the Hitchin flyover, following a £47m scheme to remove a major bottleneck on the route

The Network Rail work, done via an innovative ‘alliance’ contractual model with Hochtief, will cut delays to services by nearly 30,000 minutes each year, as well as creating capacity to run more services in the future. First Capital Connect (FCC) is now running up to three services a day.

By December, around 300 drivers will have been trained on the new route, allowing nearly 600 trains a week to use the new link.

Network Rail route managing director, Phil Verster, said: “The Hitchin flyover will make a real difference to passengers who travel on the East Coast Main Line, as well as people travelling to Cambridge and beyond. Improving the railway at Hitchin will solve the problems caused by the current track layout and help meet growing demand on the railway.

“The new layout means trains will run more reliably and punctually. The work we have done has cleared one of the major bottlenecks on the route and is part of our wider effort to improve performance and increase capacity on the railway.”

Jackie Townsend, director of operations for First Capital Connect, said: “This flyover significantly reduces the risk of delays at one of Britain's busiest railway junctions. Passengers travelling north to Letchworth, Cambridge and King's Lynn will see fewer hold-ups as a result of this work.

“We have worked closely with Network Rail to ensure the flyover delivers real improvements for our passengers and we look forward to working with them on other ways to improve our customers’ journeys in the future.”

East Coast operations director Danny Williams said: “The Hitchin flyover is a very welcome and keenly anticipated improvement, which delivers a simpler track layout, extra capacity and improved reliability at this very busy location.

“In the past Hitchin has been one of the most congested locations on the southern section of the East Coast Main Line. The benefits of this project will be seen by our passengers for years to come.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at [email protected]


Ricp   27/06/2013 at 13:48

Now they need to sort out Hitchin station and build a third platform on the east side, and get rid of that great pile of scrap metal. This should have been done ages ago!

Pedr Jarvis   28/06/2013 at 17:42

Next thing to do is reinstate Bedford - Hitchin and build flyover across to Royston - Cambridge line, as part of rebuilding the East-West route....

Lesf   28/06/2013 at 23:31

A consultants report prior to the Hitchin flyover said it isn't worth doing unless you 4-track Welwyn to Knebworth as well.

DW Down Under   30/06/2013 at 03:54

Lesf 28/6: That was done ages ago. It's just that it took a by-pass route - via Hertford North. The east side platform at Hitchin would be useful to further improve efficiencies there, especially if on the UP side, the crossover to return a stopping train to the Up Fast was north of the merging junction for trains using the east platform - so that a train coming from the Cambridge line always has a platform irrespective of what the Peterborough line is doing at the time.

Andrew Gwilt   12/07/2013 at 19:48

Since the viaduct was built that eases the ECML well what about other junctions on the ECML including Colton Junction, other Junctions North of Doncaster where there are small lines used for Freight Trains and also to strengthen the Digswell Viaduct north of Welwyn Garden City and the tunnels south of Knebworth to be rebuilt for 4 tracks (2 Slow and 2 Fast lines).

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