Progress on a new rail formation and flyover at Norton Bridge, near Stafford on the West Coast Main Line, has taken a major step forward with the completion of a new road bridge.
A flyover, six miles of new track and 11 new bridges are being built at Norton Bridge as part of a £250 million programme to remove the last major bottleneck on the WCML, and facilitate the introduction of a new WCML timetable. The work will remove capacity constraints through Stafford itself.
With work due to be completed by the end of 2016 (a year earlier than the originally programmed date of December 2017), Network Rail is planning to increase the number of passenger and freight services that can operate on the increasingly busy West Coast line.
The project is ‘cut and fill neutral’, which means that the earth or ‘fill’ excavated on the project is to be re-used elsewhere on the site to make embankments or bunds. The earth is safely transported entirely within the construction site on temporary haul roads, to reduce the impact on local communities.
The bridge works began in January, and much of the construction was carried out while trains continued to run on the Stafford to Crewe line, to minimise the time that the line was closed.
Workers are moving enough material to fill almost 100 Olympic-sized swimming pools, using articulated ‘MOXY’ vehicles.
Staffordshire Alliance manager Matt Clark said: “It was great to see the first load of earth go across the bridge as it was the culmination of months of hard work, and the team is very proud.”
When the earth moving is complete, the bridge will form part of a new 1.2km diverted section of the B5026 Stone to Eccleshall Road, which is set to open later this year.
- This feature was published in RAIL 780 on August 5 2015