Track laying is nearly finished along first connection stage of East West Rail (EWR) as the New Track Construction (NTC) train completes its 58th and final shift.
With passenger services due to begin between Bicester and Bletchley in 2025, the milestone brings the benefits of EWR one step closer for local communities – enabling better access to jobs, education and healthcare, while making it easier to see family, friends and travel for leisure.
Once complete there’ll be 66km of new track between Bletchley and Bicester with the final welding, stressing and ‘tamping’ (track alignment) works to be completed in the new year.
Thanks to the combined efforts of the entire team the project is in a healthy position to complete the final section of track installation in the new year, to allow installation of the railway systems before testing of the new railway later in 2024.” – Mark Cuzner, East West Rail Alliance Director
Installation of the signalling and telecoms equipment needed to operate the railway is also well underway, and once completed, will be followed by dynamic train testing before the railway reopens in 2025. Once open this section of line will provide direct passenger services between Oxford, Bletchley and Milton Keynes for the first time in over 50 years.
New Track Construction train
This phase of the project is being delivered by the East West Rail Alliance which was appointed by Network Rail to construct the Bicester to Bletchley section of new railway. The track itself has been laid by a state of the art NTC train, one of only two such machines in the whole country.
The NTC train uses an automated track laying system which is faster than using conventional track laying methods and can lay up to 1km of new track a day. Use of the NTC train has also helped to remove around 4,000 lorry journeys from local roads during the construction period.
Progress at Winslow and Bletchley station
Work to complete both Winslow station and the new high-level platforms at Bletchley are also progressing well. At Winslow, platform shelters are being installed on the two new platforms, accessible lifts are being installed on the new footbridge which provides access from the station building to the new platforms and the construction of the new car park began in early November. At Bletchley, cladding is being installed to the exterior of the building, whilst the footbridge and accessible lift linking two new platforms to the main station are also now in place.
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