Upgrade to remove West Coast main line pinch point
Plans for a new railway flyover designed to help provide increased capacity and improved reliability on the Stafford to Crewe section of the busy West Coast main line have been given the go-ahead, Network Rail announced on 7 April.
The plans for the flyover at Norton Bridge, north of Stafford, will see six miles of new 100mph railway constructed – as well as 10 new bridge structures, one bridge enhancement, four river diversions, major environmental mitigation works and pipeline, road and footpath diversions.
The upgrade is part of the £250m Stafford Area Improvements Programme, delivered by the Staffordshire Alliance, which will provide a significant boost to journeys made by millions of passengers who use the West Coast main line every month.
Ian Jones, head of the Staffordshire Alliance, said: ‘With the West Coast main line set to reach capacity in just five years time, the flyover at Norton Bridge is one of the last improvements which can be made on the route which will help to provide a better service for passengers. It will remove a major pinch point and allow faster, more frequent and reliable passenger and freight services.
‘Building on the recent completion of line speed improvements between Crewe and Norton Bridge, this has been a milestone month for the programme. Our key focus now is to deliver these works efficiently and effectively and minimise the impact they will have on the local community.’
As an infrastructure project of national significance, the Norton Bridge scheme was the subject of a Development Consent Order (DCO) application – a process preceded by consultation dating back to 2010, with the views of stakeholders directly influencing the final scheme, says Network Rail.
Following submission of the DCO application by Network Rail in December 2012, a six month examination period began in April 2013, with a recommendation made to the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin MP, who has decided to grant the DCO application.
Work on the flyover is due to start in spring 2014 and be completed in summer 2016. The Staffordshire Alliance is a partnership of Atkins, Laing O’Rourke, Network Rail and VolkerRail.