Work progressing well as Network Rail’s £76m track upgrade through Banbury, Bicester and Leamington continues

Published on : Friday, August 5, 2016

10Network Rail’s £76m upgrade to track and signalling on the Chiltern main line, which will help with reliability and punctuality between the West Midlands and London, is progressing on schedule as the nine-day closure of the line reaches the mid-point.



Engineers are in the process of replacing the signalling through Banbury by upgrading it to a more reliable and modern system which will be controlled from the West Midlands Signalling Centre in Birmingham.



Prior to the closure of the line between Leamington Spa, Bicester North and Banbury – which will remain closed until Monday 8 August – a significant amount of work had already taken place, much of it carried out with minimal disruption to passengers.



As well as a new track layout through Banbury station and the modern signalling being installed, the investment is also providing the necessary infrastructure for a new depot south of Banbury which is currently being built. This will provide essential maintenance provision for the growing Chiltern Railways train fleet.



The work by Network Rail, part of the Railway Upgrade Plan, will help improve the punctuality and reliability of train services on the Chiltern main line, providing Chiltern Railways passengers with a better railway between Birmingham and London and CrossCountry passengers with a better railway through the area.



Martin Ball, area director for Network Rail, said: “This £76m investment at Banbury is key to modernising the railway through the area and providing passengers with a more reliable, better railway.



“There is never a good time to close the railway for any length of time but we have looked at all options and worked with Chiltern Railways and CrossCountry to complete this work at a time which will cause least disruption to passengers.“Our Railway Upgrade Plan is delivering significant investment into the railway network which will provide a better, more reliable railway for passengers.”



Dave Penney, managing director at Chiltern Railways said: “The improvements to the Banbury infrastructure are a key investment to help us keep our trains some of the most reliable in the country. We have been working hard to provide our coordinated fast replacement bus services to make the closure as easy as possible for our customers.”



Andy Cooper, managing director of CrossCountry, said: “The area around Hinksey has often suffered from flooding, and it was only two years ago that the line was closed for several days because of this. While we are sorry that some customers could be inconvenienced while the works take place, and while the railway through Banbury is upgraded at the same time, we trust they will understand the importance in helping deliver a better and more reliable railway.”



As part of the railway upgrade at Banbury 14,000 metres of new rail will be laid and 50,000 tonnes of ballast – the stone which forms the foundation of the track – will be used. A total of 24 new points – which allow trains to change from one track to another – will be installed.


Source:-Network Rail

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