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Phase 2 of Stafford signalling improvements begins

Work is to begin on the latest phase of the Stafford Area Improvements Programme, Network Rail has announced.

Delivered by the Staffordshire Alliance – a partnership of Atkins, Laing O’Rourke, Network Rail, VolkerRail – the work will upgrade signalling equipment and provide a new freight loop to boost capacity.

The signalling works will include: the installation of foundations, cable routes, new signals and gantries, power supplies and telecoms equipment, new points and alterations to the existing track layout, as well as conversion of existing postal sidings, and converting platforms 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6 at Stafford to bidirectional working.

Work is expected to be complete, with the new signalling fully operational by 2015.

Ian Jones, Network Rail programme manager and head of the Staffordshire Alliance, which is responsible for delivering the works, said: “The resignalling of Stafford is part of a wider package of investment in the West Coast main line between Stafford and Crewe which, when complete, will help to boost reliability and capacity and remove one of the last remaining bottlenecks on the route.

“Alongside linespeed improvements currently being delivered between Crewe and Stafford, these upgrades will mean a more reliable, faster and frequent service for the millions of passengers who travel on one of Europe’s busiest rail routes every month.”

A third phase of the works has been proposed, which would see the construction of a flyover at Norton Bridge, near Stafford. The scheme is currently subject to a Development Consent Order. If the order is granted then work would begin in the spring.

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Ricp   21/01/2014 at 04:53

Work on the WCML which should have been done years ago. The major works at Stafford are welcome, the last station modernisation has lasted 50 odd years, and is still reasonable by today's standards, but the signalling is based on rather older arrangements. Providing greater flexibilility for movements to and from the Birmingham (Stour Valley) line is important as the volume of traffic to and from the West Midlands has increased. Ideally a dive-under south of Stafford for fast trains towards Birmingham, whether coming from Crewe or Stoke could also benefit operations. The acid question is will the new flyover be reversible so a southbound train via Stoke can access the west side of Stafford station to go forward to Wolverhampton and Birmingham? Other issues relate to the future of Norton Bridge station, and reinstatement of a sensible level of local services at Stone, Barlaston and Wedgwood stations.

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