Infrastructure News



Platform progress: Story Contracting in action on extensions to platforms 5 and 6 at Edinburgh Waverley on 22 November 2018. An LNER train is on platform 11 to the right while a Class 92 Caledonian Sleeper locomotive lies in the siding at the head of platform 10. Ann Glen

NETWORK RAIL has announced the award of the first multi-millionpound contracts for Control Period 6 (2019-24), worth a combined £645 million. The contracts have been let by Infrastructure Projects (IP), Network Rail’s delivery arm for renewals and projects, which organises itself into four regional areas – Scotland North East, Central, Southern and Western and Wales – and national programmes for Signalling, Track and the pan regional Northern Programme.

Story Contracting has acquired ‘Lot 2’ covering renewals and enhancements work in Scotland valued at around £135 million, while AmcoGiffen has secured ‘Lot 3’ to deliver work on the London North East route valued at around £190 million. The framework will complete a wide range of projects including replacing and refurbishing structures across the route and delivering improvements at stations.

The remaining and most significant work-bank in the Scotland and North East (SNE) renewals and enhancements framework, ‘Lot 1’, will be announced soon and is valued at a further £320 million. In addition to the framework covering renewals and enhancements, SNE was also set to announce an award of its £147 million Geotech framework.

The awards are the first of Network Rail’s CP6 contracts to be let following the Office of Rail and Road’s final determination, which confirmed £35 billion of funding for rail maintenance and renewals.



■ Underbridge renewal

■ Underbridge refurbishment

■ Overbridge renewal

■ Overbridge refurbishment

■ Scour remediation

■ Coastal defences

■ Retaining walls

■ Footbridge renewal / removal

■ Footbridge refurbishment

■ Tunnel works

■ Culvert works


■ New station buildings

■ Modifications to existing station buildings

■ Refurbishment of station buildings

■ Platform works

■ New under / overbridges

■ Level crossing works

■ New depots

■ Modifications to existing depots

■ Refurbishment of depots

Source: Network Rail


THE INSTALLATION of new signalling equipment on the Wherry lines between Norwich, Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft will not be completed by the planned date of 31 March 2019, Network Rail has announced. In a statement, NR says ‘it has become clear that we need to allow more time for further development and safety testing’. A new commissioning date has not yet been confirmed.

The project began in October with a nine-day blockade of the lines. However, the Berney Arms branch from Reedham to Great Yarmouth remains closed due to remodelling of the junction at Reedham. NR says it will not reopen until the new signalling equipment is commissioned, although it adds that it is in discussions with Greater Anglia to see if options are available to operate services in full or in part ahead of this date.

NR awarded the contract for the work to Atkins, which is replacing the existing mechanical interlocking with ElectroLogIXS equipment, made by Alstom.


A SIGNALLING system that is European Train Control System (ETCS)-ready is to be designed for the north trans-Pennine route between Stalybridge and Cottingley.

In developing the project, Network Rail is working closely with contractors involved in the wider Trans-Pennine Route Upgrade (TRU). In April 2017 NR awarded an alliancing contract to ‘Transpire’, an alliance of BAM Nuttall, Amey and Ove Arup and Partners, covering the west of Leeds element of the TRU.

A contract notice published by NR on 3 November notes the TRU includes increased capacity and journey time improvements between Manchester and York. While electrification of the route was included in the original TRU, recent political announcements suggest only parts of the route will now be electrified, with the Stalybridge to Huddersfield core section through Standedge Tunnel omitted from the wiring plans (p18).

Alongside the ETCS-ready solution, Transpire must produce an output requirements specification to enable a future ETCS contractor to integrate seamlessly with the alliance works, ‘as it is now intended that ETCS will be deployed concurrently to the delivery of the alliance works’. The appointment of the ETCS contractor will be subject to a separate procurement carried out by NR.

The alliance may be instructed to construct and deploy some of the trackside digital equipment such as ETCS marker boards and balises to support delivery of ETCS by the ETCS contractor.

Second entrance at Coventry approved

COVENTRY CITY Council has approved plans to construct a new station building to provide a second entrance to Coventry station.

The plans involve enhancing the station’s existing facilities as part of a wider masterplan for the area, which includes a new bus interchange. Work planned at the station also includes a new bay platform to serve the Nuneaton to Leamington line. The new entrance on Warwick Road would be on two levels, with a platform level concourse adjacent to platform 1 and a second entrance at bridge level, providing direct access to all platforms via a second gateline. The entrance would be connected to the Warwick Road tunnel, providing a direct link to the new bus interchange. Five retail units would also be provided, along with a 634-space multi-storey car park.


WORK HAS begun to put in place foundations for the first section of the new station building at Wolverhampton.

Demolition works have been completed at the site, including the former British Transport Police building and a small section of the current station building next to platform 1. Contractor Galliford Try has moved piling machinery into place to begin the next stage of works.

The first section of the new station building is expected to become operational in autumn 2019, when phase two of the programme – bringing down the remainder of the current station building and completing the new build – will also start. The new building is due to be fully open in summer 2020.


NETWORK RAIL has awarded a contract to Colas Rail for the operation and maintenance of its fleet of plain line rail grinding trains.

The contract will run for an initial three-year period, with options to extend for further periods of up to two years. Colas will deliver operation and maintenance of the rail profile treatment service, including planned preventative maintenance, repair work and overhauls to the plant and will manage, support, train and develop operations and maintenance staff.


Autumn for semaphores: with just two weeks left to go for the old manual signalling on the route leading into Hull, No 185105 passes Melton Lane signal box with a Hull to Manchester working on 10 November 2018. Rob France

THE MAINLY semaphore signalling on the Hull lines between Howden, Goole and Hessle was replaced in early December by an Ansaldo-led consortium. The mechanical signal boxes at Saltmarshe, Gilberdyke Junction, Broomfleet, Crabley Creek, Brough East and Melton Lane (Ferriby) were closed, together with four gate boxes, almost all over 100 years old. Eleven level crossings were to be upgraded to Manually Controlled Barriers (MCB) and equipped with Obstacle Detection equipment. The new light-emitting diode (LED) signalling is mainly four-aspect, all supervised from a single ‘Brough’ workstation in the new York Rail Operating Centre (ROC). Train detection by axle counters replaces that by track circuit.

Unlike the most recent West Yorkshire schemes (overleaf), which replaced signalling dependent on colour light signals and mainly track circuit block working, the East Yorkshire scheme almost entirely replaces semaphore signalling and absolute block working. Also unlike the West Yorkshire resignalling it is, for the moment, an isolated area of control at York ROC, with the new Brough workstation fringing with existing earlier signalling at Hessle and Selby signal boxes, both of which had previously been equipped with NX panels, and with the listed Goole Bridge signal box which, as its name implies, continues to control the swing bridge there. Alan Williams


ALAN WILLIAMS describes two very different approaches to the recent Huddersfield and Bradford resignalling schemes

Halifax box: now redundant. A Grand Central Class 180 passes on a brilliant autumn day, 18 October 2018. Alan Williams

FOR THE last two decades, much of the signalling in West Yorkshire has been controlled from York Integrated Electronic Control Centre (IECC), first opened in 1989 and substantially extended between 2000 and 2002 to take control of much of the railway in West Yorkshire, including the entire Greater Leeds area.

But still further west in Yorkshire, two areas of existing signalling remained, the north trans-Pennine route controlled by Healey Mills and Huddersfield signal boxes, and the even more northerly Calder Valley route via Bradford, controlled by Mill Lane Junction, Halifax, Milner Royd Junction and Hebden Bridge signal boxes. Both routes were resignalled by Siemens Mobility during 2018 in the two-stage £50 million Huddersfield – Bradford scheme.

The solutions chosen for the two stages were, however, very different, essentially two separate schemes.


Stage 1, the north trans-Pennine route, was completed in January 2018. Huddersfield signal box, which then closed, was a BR design dating from 1958 but had been re-equipped with an entrance-exit (NX) panel with solid state interlocking (SSI) in 1993, while Healey Mills also had an NX panel dating from 2003 but with route relay interlocking and was housed in the by-then-disused 1963 control tower of Healey Mills yard.

As much of the lineside equipment – points, signals, etc – was not yet life-expired, and given that this route is slated to be transformed in the near future with digital signalling as part of the promised Trans-Pennine Route Upgrade (TRU), it was decided to retain much of the existing equipment, including the colour light signals activated by track circuits, but to recontrol it from the new York ROC. Because it was a recontrol of existing equipment, no track alterations were carried out in Stage 1, although the opportunity was taken to rationalise the Healey Mills yard area and recover redundant equipment.

The lines previously controlled from Huddersfield and Healey Mills signal boxes are now supervised by the ‘Huddersfield’ workstation in York ROC, fringing with Diggle Junction box just west of Standedge Tunnel, with Barnsley on the single track Penistone line in the south, with the Leeds West workstation between Ravensthorpe and Dewsbury, with Horbury Junction on the line towards Wakefield, and with the new Halifax workstation just beyond Greetland Junction. Control from York ROC is by Siemens Controlguide Westcad to renewed remote interlockings at Healey Mills, Thornhill LNW, Heaton Lodge, Greetland and Huddersfield, and will in due course be enabled with Automatic Route Setting (ARS).


In contrast, in Stage 2, completed in October 2018, the generally much older equipment on the Calder Valley route has been completely replaced and the entire route resignalled. Of the four signal boxes now closed, Milner Royd Junction and Hebden Bridge were ex-Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway mechanical boxes dating from 1874 and 1891 respectively. Both retained full sized levers but latterly controlled colour light signals with electro-mechanical interlocking. Halifax and Mill Lane Junction (Bradford) boxes were also of L&Y origin, both dating from 1884, but both were re-equipped with Independent Function Switch (IFS) panels in 1970 and 1973 respectively, with relay interlocking.

Now the single ‘Halifax’ workstation in York ROC fringes with the Todmorden interlocking of Preston power box just west of Hebden Bridge, from which point it supervises the line through Halifax to Bradford Interchange, and then the line from there on towards Leeds as far as Bramley. It also supervises the line from Milner Royd Junction towards Greetland Junction, where it fringes with the Huddersfield workstation provided for Stage 1, and the spur from here through the Salterhebble Tunnels back to the Halifax line at Dryclough Junction forming the third side of the triangle.

Again in contrast to Stage 1, all train detection is now by Frauscher axle counters. Two new crossovers have been provided on the approach to Bradford Interchange station to allow more parallel moves to and from the Halifax line from platforms 1 and 2.

On the line from Bradford Interchange towards Leeds, the Hammerton Street loop has been abolished, although the separate siding connection to European Metal Recycling has been maintained. The up line from Bradford as far as Hammerton Street Junction is now reversible, further enabling parallel moves into the station from the Leeds direction.

To allow for an increase in the number of services, and in anticipation of the use of the Calder Valley line as a diversionary route for TransPennine services when work on the route upgrade gets under way, the new signals have been spaced to allow trains to run at a closer four-minute headway throughout the newly resignalled area, and there are a substantial number of linespeed improvements. The previous overall maximum speed limit was generally 60mph, but the engineer has now approved higher differential limits of up to 80mph for lighter weight multiple-unit trains, as allowed elsewhere for ‘Sprinter’ (SP) trains, while locomotive-hauled trains remain limited to 60mph.

The higher limits are shown as ‘MU’, although it should be noted that TransPennine Class 185 units are not allowed this dispensation because of their weight, nor presumably will TPE’s new ‘Nova 3’ trains because of their Class 68 locomotive traction.

Hot Axle Box Detectors (HABD) have been provided on both up and down lines at Mytholmroyd. In contrast to the remote interlockings employed for Stage 1, control from York is by Westcad through a Westlock installation in the ROC. It is anticipated that the Halifax workstation will be ARS-enabled in February 2019.

The topography of the Calder Valley route is challenging, with a dozen tunnels in total on the two resignalled sections, together with steep embankments and cuttings, so access can be difficult. With weekday night actual working time reduced to some 3½ hours, as part of the scheme Siemens installed Train Activated Warning Systems (TAWS) at several locations to alert staff working on or by the track of the approach of a train, thus enabling greater access during the day when trains are still running.

Some 60 signalling technicians in the Leeds maintenance team normally used to working with earlier generations of mechanical and relay-based interlockings needed to be familiarised with the new equipment, so rather than attempting this piecemeal along the route, Siemens set up a ‘Training REB’ – a temporary building incorporating the latest equipment at a single location. No affected signalling staff have been made redundant, all either taking early retirement or having found posts elsewhere.

Hebden Bridge signal box is listed, and is to be retained on its present site complete with its lever frame and other equipment, with its ongoing care hopefully passing to the Friends of Hebden Bridge Station.

Over the two stages, the 40 miles of resignalling have accounted for 408 Signalling Equivalent Units, requiring 95 new signals and 185 new axle counters.


After Christmas, as a result of this work, coupled with the migration of all control from York IECC over the festive period (see box below), almost all the huge complex of lines across West Yorkshire, bounded by the Pennine summits in the west and the East Coast main line from Doncaster in the south to Northallerton in the north, will be controlled from workstations in the new York ROC.

Resignalling of the approaches to Leeds together with an additional west-facing bay platform are planned, while two lines almost literally on the doorstep of the ROC, from York through Harrogate to Leeds, and from York to Scarborough and then down the coast to Hull, remain the preserve of some 20 mechanical signal boxes, mostly with semaphore signalling and Absolute Block or Key Token single line working. There is still more work to be done!


The York area has always been in the van of signalling development. In 1903, an electro-pneumatic box was introduced at the then Severus Junction, just north of York, and in the early 1930s the London & North Eastern Railway introduced a pioneering route-setting installation just a little further north at Thirsk. Then, in 1936, with plans to provide additional platforms – the present platforms 10 and 11 – new signalling through York station was required and the total replacement of the semaphore signalling with an ambitious new power signalling scheme was proposed with colour light signals throughout. World War 2 delayed progress, but in 1951 a new power box with route relay interlocking was commissioned, replacing seven mechanical boxes. The two new platforms were finally opened.

The now familiar panel including track circuit indications was arranged in four sections in a horseshoe, with individual route setting switches on the console below. Other novel features included train describers from the six adjacent fringe boxes which enabled descriptions to step forward with the passage of a train – and the ability of signalmen to work while seated! The area covered just 18 miles of running line and was modest compared to later installations, but at the time York was claimed to be the largest route relay interlocking in the world, enabling 828 separate routes to be set up, and proved to be the precursor of many more panel box schemes over the next two decades. The total cost of the 1951 resignalling was reported to have been £562,000, just over £18 million today.

In 1960, British Railways proposed a new Centralised Traffic Control (CTC) system, an innovation in the UK, for the line between York and Beverley, to be controlled from a new panel in York power box. It involved singling most of the 30-mile line, with the installation of automatic level crossings, also an innovation at the time. It was to be a pilot scheme for introduction of CTC elsewhere in the country as part of the BR Modernisation Plan. The contract was let and significant amounts of material delivered but instead, as part of the Beeching Plan restructuring, the line was closed in 1965.

The next major alterations came with the rationalisation of the approaches and the layout through the platforms at York in connection with the East Coast electrification. The 1951 power box was closed and a new Integrated Electronic Control Centre (IECC) was provided, with just two workstations, York North and York South, controlling SSI interlockings and essentially covering an extended area of the 1951 scheme. The IECC was then greatly further extended from 2000, with additional workstations covering the greater Leeds area including the lines out to Skipton, Ilkley and Wakefield Westgate.

Control of all these areas was due to be transferred to the adjacent York Regional Operating Centre (ROC) over the Christmas period to join the two new schemes described here, and the IECC closed. Ironically, if current proposals come to fruition, some 70 years after its predecessor was commissioned to provide extra platforms, the IECC building may be demolished to enable yet further platforms to be provided to the west of the existing station.