Hope Valley upgrade reaches completion

Second track and platform in place: Dore & Totley station on 12 March 2024, with a pair of EMR Class 158s passing on the main line. Tony Miles

Network Rail and contractors are due to commission the extended Dore South curve plus a second track and platform at Dore & Totley station during a nine-day blockade on the Hope Valley line between 16-24 March.

Mechanical signal boxes at Grindleford and Totley Tunnel East are set to close, with signalling transferred to York Rail Operating Centre and the resignalled section as far as Earles sidings from North West & Central Region to Eastern. Contractor VolkerRail has installed Alstom Smartlock signalling equipment.

At Dore, the previous single line has been doubled between Dore West Junction and Dore Station Junction. The new Down platform at Dore & Totley is connected to the station via an accessible footbridge, while the existing platform has been lengthened to handle six-car trains rather than four.

The Dore South curve used by freight trains joining the Hope Valley route from the Midland main line has been extended to cater for 500-metre-long trains, with the aim of reducing conflicting movements on the latter. This has required extensive work to enlarge the cutting towards Totley Tunnel and, whilst some of the embankment was stabilised using soil nails, these proved to be ineffective closer to Dore & Totley. There, preformed corrugated steel sheets were used due to the weight of the earth from the land nearby.

The full £137 million Hope Valley Capacity Scheme is designed to provide a third express path between Sheffield and Manchester each hour as well as improving capacity for freight and removing constraints caused by the single-track section through Dore. However, constraints at Sheffield and Stockport currently prevent the introduction of the additional services the scheme was originally planned to facilitate.
Tony Miles