Latest Rail News


Network Rail apologises after West Coast works over-run

Network Rail has had to apologise for a late hand back of the West Coast Main Line after the bank holiday weekend’s blockade, which caused delays for passengers. Signalling problems continued into Tuesday.

A spokesman said: “We apologise for the delays caused as a result of the late hand back of the line.

“Everything possible was done to complete the work on time, and we will review what happened to determine what lessons can be learnt so future work at Watford can be delivered and completed as planned.”

The works on one of the UK’s most intensively-used sections of rail infrastructure are part of an £81m project to upgrade the railway around Watford, which has long been a problematic area.

The main contractors for the bank holiday works were AmeyColas and Siemens. Three signalling gantries, 30 metres wide and weighing 12 tonnes each, were installed over six lines using a 40-tonne crane. Engineers began to renew S&C  and add new ballast.

Network Rail spokeswoman Anne-Marie Batson told RTM before the works: “We’re also renewing five sets of points, including a full-depth ballast renewal for each one. AmeyColas will be delivering the trackwork, with Siemens providing the signalling support for the points’ renewals as well as undertaking works as part of their resignalling scheme.”

Apart from the late hand back, the works were completed successfully, she said. 

As part of the main project, all signalling between Kings Langley and Bushey will be renewed and more than 15km of new track will be laid. The OLE will be made more reliable and Orphanage Road Bridge will be replaced to allow for future line speeds of 125mph.

Network Rail is also replacing three critical junctions north and south of Watford and renewing the signalling system in the area. It will also replace the track crossovers with track that is easier to maintain, reducing future disruption.

Dyan Crowther, route MD for Network Rail, said: “The section of track at Watford is one of the most intensively used, high-speed sections in the UK and has seen tremendous growth in traffic and passengers over the last five years. There is never a good time to close the railway but this work is essential to maintain reliable train services for the millions of passengers who travel on this route every year.”

The next blockade is the August bank holiday. Network Rail’s bank holiday closures programme causes “less disruption than the only other alternative of closing the line for 54 consecutive weekends”, it says.

(Library image)


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

Rail industry Focus

View all News


The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >

'the sleepers' blog

On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

29/06/2020On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

Following an independent audit, Sulzer’s Nottingham Service Centre has been accepted as part of the rail industry supplier approval scheme (RISAS). The accreditation reinforces the high-quality standards that are maintained by Sulzer’s... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he would not rule out his organisation issuing future r... more >
Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projects across the UK, Pearson Business School, part of... more >