TWO MAJOR infrastructure enhancements on the East Coast main line were completed at the end of August, says Network Rail. Power supply improvements and platform extensions have been carried out in preparation for the introduction of Virgin Trains East Coast’s ‘Azuma’ fleet under the Inter-city Express Programme (IEP).

An upgrade to the power supply between London and Doncaster has been completed by the Rail Electrification Alliance (REAL), comprising NR, Jacobs, J. Murphy and Sons, Siemens, TSP and VolkerRail. The work has included the commissioning of new substations at Coreys Mill, Welwyn and Langley towards the end of 2016, Essendine and Stoke Rochford in April/May of this year and most recently Hitchin earlier in August. A new 400kV National Grid substation at Essendine has also come into use. Phase One, completed in March 2016, saw a series of ‘firm service capacity’ upgrades, increasing the maximum power supply from the National Grid to the rail network at four locations between Doncaster and London – Ferme Park, Little Barford, Nene and Welwyn. Work on the power supply upgrade project continues into early 2019 with the installation of a further 17 substations and associated works.

The second project is platform extensions at Durham, Northallerton and Stevenage stations. Platform 1 at Durham has been extended by 35 metres, platform 2 at Northallerton by 17 metres and both island platforms at Stevenage station have been lengthened to accommodate Azuma trains.