Clay Cross tunnel - credit Network Rail

Key track upgrades on the Midland Main Line to spell disruption

The East Midlands is set to welcome some key, reliability-boosting track enhancement works in both Clay Cross tunnel and Milford tunnel, from Saturday 27th May until Monday 11th June.

The 183-year-old Clay Cross tunnel, designed by George Stephenson, represents a key piece of British rail heritage that forms part of this core route through the East Midlands which connects Sheffield with London.

Gary Walsh, Route Director for Network Rail in the East Midlands, said:

“This important scheme is essential to maintaining a safe, reliable, and smooth service for passengers and freight users through the tunnels. 

“I’d like to thank passengers for their patience whilst we complete this essential engineering work and urge anyone who is planning to travel to check National Rail Enquiries or their train operator’s website before setting off.”

Engineers are set to conduct a package of enhancement works which will include the upgrading of drainage, along with ballast and sleeper replacements. The project will also see the installation of coated rails under the ten tunnel shafts, thus making them more resilient during adverse weather conditions.

The Milford tunnel works will include a complete track upgrade, which will see the engineers replacing over a mile of ballast, which is split between both tracks.

Throughout both of these renewal projects, 52 engineering trains will be utilised and 16,107 tonnes of ballast will be installed. This mammoth scheme will also adhere to key sustainability principles through incorporating recycling of the excavated spoil, sending it to Network Rail’s Whitemoor recycling facility in Cambridgeshire where it will be recycled and used for roads and building sites.

Neil Grabham, Customer Services Director for EMR, said:

“We are asking any customers planning to travel over the summer half term, between 27 May and 11 June, to plan ahead and allow plenty of time to complete their journeys. 

“There will be fewer Intercity services to Derby, Chesterfield and Sheffield, and journey times will be extended.

“Rail replacement buses will be in place on the Derwent Valley Line, between Derby and Matlock, with the exception of the ASLEF Strike days on 31 May and 3 June, where there will be no services.

“We would like to thank our customers for their patience whilst Network Rail upgrade the tracks at both Clay Cross and Milford tunnels.”

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