Something old, something new: veteran loco No 31452 heads past Norton Fitzwarren on 13 May 2017 with one of the three new C44 rail grinding trains that have been built for Network Rail by Loram in the USA. The train was heading for Derby after the ‘C44’ had been undertaking trials on the Okehampton branch.
D. W. V. Hunt

NETWORK RAIL carried out a substantial programme of works during the spring bank holiday weekend at the end of May. Nearly 10,000 workers delivered more than £28 million of work across 426 projects.

The major infrastructure schemes were once again to the fore in this work. On Crossrail, work took place as part of the Pudding Mill Lane project, which will provide a connection between the new Crossrail lines and the existing Great Eastern infrastructure near Stratford. Work completed included a track renewal of the Down Electric line, overhead line equipment structure modification and installation of an under-track crossing. On Thameslink a further series of track alterations was completed in the vicinity of London Bridge, while associated works in the Redhill area to facilitate the December 2018 Thameslink timetable included switch and crossing works plus track renewals brought forward from the Christmas blockade. The Redhill platform 0 project includes provision of an additional platform as part of enhancements that will enable additional splitting/joining of services.

Work continues as part of electrification of the Manchester to Preston line, forming Phase 4 of the North West electrification programme. Late May works included installation of a new signalling system between Euxton (south of Preston on the West Coast main line) and Blackrod, allowing for increased linespeed and readiness for electric rolling stock. Near Bolton station, Burnden Junction was remodelled to allow for faster passenger services and increased functionality.

In South Yorkshire, College Road bridge in Rotherham was demolished and a new, higher bridge installed. This was in preparation for overhead line installation as part of the Tram-Train project, which is planned to link Sheffield and Rotherham from next year. A new panel at Woodburn signal box was also installed. In North Yorkshire, the subway deck at Starbeck station on the York to Harrogate line was renewed during a 79-hour possession.

North of the border, work was completed at Edinburgh Waverley station as part of platform extensions taking place to accommodate longer trains to Glasgow (under the Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme) and on the East Coast main line (under the Inter-city Express Programme). This included the de-wiring of platforms 5 and 6 and relocation of a public address and voice alarm node and a borehole to facilitate works on platform 12. Further north, work continued on extension of the double-track loop at Elgin station on the Aberdeen to Inverness line, with a new set of points installed and associated signalling work completed.

A range of track renewals and replacements included a track lower at Huntsmill Road overbridge near Wootton Bassett Junction as part of the Great Western electrification, along with lowering of tracks and drainage at Roman Road bridge in Swindon. Track renewals at Seven Kings on the Great Eastern main line, at Wembley Central, Watford North Junction, Winsford and Symington on the West Coast main line and at Dock Hills between Doncaster and York were also completed.