Work to install a new track on the West Anglia main line as part of Network Rail’s £170m Lee Valley Rail programme is 80% complete. The project has reached a key milestone with over 4.4km of track installed on what will become the third line between Lea Bridge and the new Meridian Water station, allowing two additional trains per hour.
Engineers installed the track over two weekends using two Kirow 250 cranes and accumulated over 1,000 working hours. The extra track will provide much needed extra capacity on a congested section of the West Anglia main line, not only allowing more trains to run, but also reducing delays for passengers travelling between Cheshunt and Stratford. Due to be complete in 2019, the scheme will unlock sites for housing development and act as a catalyst for regeneration in the London boroughs of Enfield, Haringey and Waltham Forest.
As with the wider programme of works, the track installation is overseen by Network Rail and principal contractor, VolkerFitzpatrick and involved initially installing shorter track panels to set the alignment and enable the use of engineering trains to distribute ballast and road rail vehicles to install the overhead line equipment. The shorter rails were subsequently replaced by longer rail lengths and reused on other projects. Once the entire track is installed it will stretch for over 5.5km and will allow a service of three trains per hour during peak times between Stratford and Meridian Water.
Meliha Duymaz, Network Rail’s route managing director for Anglia, said: “This is a major milestone in the completion of the track works, which will help to meet growing passenger demand on the West Anglia main line as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan. We continue to focus on pressing ahead with the remaining works, including station upgrades, overhead line installs and other works which will enable Greater Anglia to run additional trains from next year. I’d like to thank everyone for their continued patience while the work is carried out.”
Jamie Burles, managing director, Greater Anglia, said: “This project is a great example of how Network Rail and Greater Anglia are working together, transforming and modernising the railway in our region. We are replacing all of our trains with brand new trains which will start to come into service when this new line opens, and all be in place by the end of 2020. As engineering works continue, we’d like to thank customers for their patience and remind them to check before they travel.”
John Cox, managing director of VolkerFitzpatrick’s rail division, said: “The one team approach encouraged by Network Rail on this project has driven the success achieved by the team, in completing 80 percent of the track installation and they continue to work safely and efficiently to complete the projects remaining elements. I am proud of their dedication and hard work, in delivering this key milestone.”
Representing a new model for funding, the Lee Valley Rail programme is funded by several third parties and public sector bodies, including the UK Government, the Mayor of London, the London Economic Action Partnership (now known as “LEAP”), Transport for London, and Enfield and Haringey Councils.
The funding partners and Network Rail are working together to deliver benefits in the north London corridor which will improve rail services and maximise economic growth, jobs and housing opportunities. The programme accommodates some of the proposed plans for Crossrail 2, including the active provision of a fourth platform at the new Meridian Water station.