network rail

Network Rail: Critical work to install a tunnel at Werrington completed

The completion of major signalling work near Peterborough means freight trains are ready to start using the East Coast Main Line this winter.

Undertaken by Network Rail, the developments were done on a new section of the track and are set to cut congestion and increase overall capacity.

Engineers commissioned the signalling system, a critical breakthrough in the final stage of the project, which makes up part of the £1.2b East Coast Upgrade.

The billion-pound investment will let an additional two long-distance services an hour into and out of London.

The new line is set to eliminate constraints to the timetable, typically caused by slower freight trains on the Great North Great Eastern (GNGE) route having to cross over the high-speed East Coast Main Line.

Work began at Werrington in Summer 2018 and pioneering construction techniques pressed the ground-breaking 11,000-tonne tunnel into place in January 2021.

The new dive under offers a different route by enabling the new two track railway to run beneath the East Coast Main Line instead, separating it from any high-speed passenger traffic.

Around 8km of track was also installed, running through the tunnel, whilst work to connect the new track to the existing Stamford lines - on top of the installation of signalling equipment - was completed over the summer.

Ed Akers, Principal Programme Sponsor for Network Rail’s East Coast Upgrade, said “we’ve completed vital signalling work over the weekend which will allow freight trains to begin using the new tunnel and divert underneath the East Coast Main Line, rather than crossing it, from later this year.”

Network Rail

Carrying more than 20m passengers a year, the East Coast Main Line is a vital rail route, connecting London and Edinburgh via Peterborough, Doncaster, York, Darlington, Durham and Newcastle.

He added, “our teams have completed the vast majority of this project, without impacting on train services. It’ll bring faster, more frequent and more reliable services for passengers travelling between London, Peterborough, the North of England and Scotland.”

Key work to test the new tunnel will occur within the next few weeks, and trains should expect to use it by the end of this year.

Rail Minister Chris Heaton Harris, said “this is another step towards completing the astounding engineering project being undertaken at Werrington.”

He added, “this scheme, part of our £1.2bn investment into the East Coast upgrade, will unlock the potential of our railways, freeing up tracks so that passengers and freight can have faster, more reliable journeys.”

RTM Dec/Jan 23


The Royal Border Bridge's Regal Rejuvenation

Have you got a hankering for some top of the range rail news? With expertly crafted graphic design to tantalise your taste buds for stimulating content, our new edition of Rail Technology Magazine is perfect for you! This edition is filled to the brim with key sector insights from industry leaders discussing innovative working methods, sustainability practices and much more. We would like to invite you to indulge in our latest offering of the magazine collection, to hear from the likes of Kamini Edgley, Director of Safety and Engineering for Network Rail, Martin Beable, Engineering Director at Greater Anglia, amongst many more influential names. Now that your curiosity has peaked, we encourage you to dig in and enjoy the informative fun.                                                                          


View all videos
TransCityRail Banner


Mids \ 09 02 23
South \ 28 09 23
North \ 09 11 23

TransCityRail is a series of regional, interactive and insightful events across the country bringing together leaders, collaborators, problem solvers and innovators in a creative and invigorating way.

This series of events supports and informs the whole of the rail industry and connects suppliers with buyers, specifiers, leaders and decision-makers looking to procure a wide variety of innovative products and services for their region.


The Green Rail Revolution

Maria Machancoses, Director of Midlands Connect discusses the importance of HS2 to the Midlands and the UK, their collaborative work with the Department for Transport, and how we need to embrace the railways again.

More articles...

View all