£25m plan to save weather-battered railway
Details have been published of a £25 million plan to rescue a railway on the Welsh borders which has been blocked by five major landslips in the past two years alone. The line between Newport and Gloucester via Lydney runs alongside the Severn Estuary. Extreme weather has closed the railway repeatedly and delayed more than 200,000 trains. The line not only connects Newport and Gloucester but also provides a vital link for trains travelling between south Wales, the west of England, the midlands and north. As well as passenger services it also sees 43 freight trains a week, which carry steel, petrol, construction materials and food. Work is due to begin next summer and will include the removal of more than 30,000 tonnes of material from the cliff face. A state-of-the-art mesh and bolt system will then be installed along 5km, stabilising the rockface and preventing further landslips.
Minister sees preparations for Aberdeen-Central Belt improvements
Scottish transport minister Graeme Dey has been seeing progress on the Aberdeen to Central Belt Enhancement Project for himself. He visited Aberdeen yesterday and talked to the engineers on the site, where ground drilling rigs are being used for geological investigations. The data from these will be used to develop the proposals to improve the railway between north east Scotland and the central belt, in a project being funded by the Scottish Government. Mr Dey said: ‘This project is vital for Aberdeen and the wider North East region, so I was delighted to be able to come along to meet the team. It’s great to hear that some of the work including ecology surveys is already underway, given our commitment to decarbonising the passenger railway in Scotland by 2035. I look forward to returning to see the team in the near future.’
Digital upgrade continues this weekend
Network Rail and Great Northern will be continuing a major upgrade project over the weekend, in which the track and signalling are being renewed on the Moorgate line. Trains from suburban Hertfordshire stations will be diverted to King’s Cross during tomorrow and Sunday. Major progress was made over the summer on the project to create the first main line digital railway in Britain, and Great Northern has already successfully tested a train with digital signalling.
Bristol scheme moves forward
Network Rail said it has ‘substantially’ completed its first phase of work to create a new entrance at Bristol Temple Meads, providing a gateway to the east of the city and the new Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone. Network Rail’s engineers and contractors BAM Nuttall have installed 18 concrete piles over 20 metres into the ground under platform 15.
Old signal cables make new playground
Children are rightly warned against playing on the railway, but it’s a very different story when the railway comes to play with them. The young pupils at a nursery and primary school in south east London are now enjoying a new playground – made from recycled signal cables. The project, devised by Network Rail and Seva Rail in Ashford, has resulted in a colourful play area for the younger children at Grinling Gibbons school. Network Rail and Seva staff helped create a new playground with a trampoline, climbing frame and more, and also improved a rubber-floored play area in the front of the school.