Month: July 2020

Work carries on – routine railway upgrades in July

Our railway has gone through big changes in response to coronavirus, to keep services running and help you travel safely and confidently.

Meanwhile, we're are doing everything we can to continue our day to day work for everybody in Britain – and that includes carrying out regular maintenance and improvements like these:

Essential bridge upgrade in St Helens

We got to work upgrading a railway bridge across a dual carriageway in St Helens to keep it safe and reliable for decades to come.

We're refurbishing the bridge spanning the Rainford Bypass (A570) as part of the Great North Rail Project, which is improving travel in the north of England.

Our teams are working closely with St Helens Council to minimise the disruption to all road users and residents.

The upgrade will ensure the bridge stays safe and reliable
Some of the equipment we often use to quickly replace track

Track upgrades for more reliable services

We're laying almost four miles of new track between Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds to give you more reliable services.

Track gets worn over time so we need to maintain it regularly and eventually replace sections of it altogether. In this area, we're replacing track and sleepers – the supports for the rails – so you experience fewer delays and cancellations.

Better stations for you

We're getting ready to refurbish railway stations to make your travelling experience better – like the Grade II listed Bookham station in Surrey.

Our team is repairing the station after problems caused by wet rot – a fungus that attacks timber.

We're also replacing a large section of the roof and repainting the station's footbridge, with most of the work taking place at night to avoid disrupting your journeys.

Meanwhile, at Bromborough station in the Wirral, we're preparing to refurbish the footbridge, extend the station car park by about 50 spaces and install a new power supply for new trains in the future.

The Grade II listed footbridge at Bookham in Surrey needs repainting


Work Carries on – routine railway works in June

How we're helping you travel during coronavirus

Upgrading your railway this bank holiday

Looking after the railway

Planned works

Putting passengers first

The post Work carries on – routine railway upgrades in July appeared first on Network Rail.

Source: Network Rail

Upgrading your railway this August bank holiday

We’re getting ready for our next bank holiday improvements across Britain as we welcome you back to the railway.

Essential upgrades worth £105m this August bank holiday will help us give you better and more reliable journeys for the long term.

Some train services will be different as we carry out our work between 29 and 31 August but most will run as normal. Please check your journey in advance with your train operator or on National Rail Enquiries. You can also follow #AugustBHWorks on Twitter.

Remember you must wear a face covering during your journey unless you’re exempt from the Government’s rules. For example, if you have a visible or hidden disability, or breathing difficulties.

You can read more about face coverings and exemptions here.

Our team hard during the May bank holiday to replace track

We’ve worked hard throughout the pandemic to improve journeys by maintaining and upgrading the railway for when more people start to use trains again. We’re also cleaning our stations even more than we used to and have more staff on hand to help you with information and to travel safely.

What are we doing this bank holiday?

We’ve got 520 projects lined up, from laying new track to maintaining bridges and testing the overhead lines that power electric trains. They include:

  • Track replacement in the Coventry area to make journeys more reliable on the West Coast Main Line, which runs from London Euston up to Scotland. Track gets worn from lots of trains travelling on it, so we need to maintain it regularly – and replace it eventually so it stays safe.
  • Signalling upgrades in Cheshire. We’re moving the control of signals – basically the traffic lights of the railway – from Ditton in Cheshire to a modern signalling centre (Rail Operating Centre) in Manchester. This means signallers will be able to reduce delays for you during problems on the railway by responding to disruption and re-routing trains faster.
  • Track and signalling upgrades in the London St Pancras International area that will improve safety. Work here will also help us prepare to build Brent Cross West railway station in London, which we expect to open in 2022.
  • Lots of work at London King’s Cross as part of a bigger project to shorten journeys and allow more trains in the long term on the East Coast Main Line. This line runs out of King’s Cross station and up to northern Scotland. The track layout outside the station needs updating because it’s become difficult to maintain after 40 years and trains in the area need more space.

Gallery: the tracks outside London King's Cross, London St Pancras International, track renewals and a modern signalling centre (Rail Operating Centre).

Why we carry out big projects over bank holidays

We know it can be frustrating when we close some parts of the railway during bank holiday weekends but it’s the least disruptive time to carry out such big jobs.

We get asked a lot why this is. Let's take a closer look…

There’s never a perfect time to close railway lines but in normal times, doing so over bank holidays affects far fewer passengers than on a typical working day.

We often need 24 hours to safely complete our projects, like laying new track or upgrading signals. To do this, we sometimes need to close parts of the railway to trains. We try to do this at quiet times, like overnight or at weekends, and especially during the long bank holiday weekends.

Here are just some of the things we need to consider when planning these improvements:

  • agree timetable changes with train and freight companies
  • access to land
  • allocation of equipment
  • supplies and materials
  • making sure other projects don’t clash
  • contingency plans
  • the right people in the right places – all over Britain.

You can read more about how we prepare for these big projects here.

Read more:

Delays demystified – planned engineering works

How we're helping you travel during coronavirus

Planned works

Find out more about how to wear and make a face covering.

The post Upgrading your railway this August bank holiday appeared first on Network Rail.

Source: Network Rail

How we’re helping passengers travel during coronavirus

We're reassuring passengers they can use the railway confidently – with a range of measures to help keep them safe during the pandemic.

They include extra staff to help guide passengers through stations, and vending machines at Britain's biggest stations, where passengers can buy face coverings and hand sanitiser.

We've worked hard to keep railway stations and facilities in the most hygienic and best possible condition for passengers, station users and staff since the start of the pandemic.

We've carried out extra deep cleans on top of our regular cleaning regimes and have used sanitiser and anti-viral treatments on common touch-point areas like doors and handrails.

The number of station staff has also increased to provide information to passengers, encourage the use of face coverings and help people travel safely. 

In fact, we have deployed almost two and a half times the number of station staff than before the pandemic, and more than twice as many additional staff to help customers compared with the 2012 London Olympics.

If you or the people you live with have symptoms of covid-19 (coronavirus) or are self-isolating, you should stay at home.

For the latest travel advice visit National Rail Enquiries.

A huge number of extra station staff are on hand to help your journey

Other measures to help keep passengers safe include:

  • Vending machines installed at the railway stations directly managed by Network Rail staff – 20 of the biggest stations in the country, including London Waterloo, London King’s Cross and Birmingham New Street – so passengers can buy face coverings, gloves, anti-bacterial wet wipes and hand sanitiser
  • 21-day cycle of Zoono – an anti-viral treatment that protects surfaces for up to 30 days – to all touch point and hygiene areas, and additional touch-point cleaning no less than four-hourly on a continuous cycle, guarding against risk of contamination
  • One-way systems and floor stickers installed to help passengers navigate stations in a controlled way
  • 250 hand sanitiser stations introduced at managed stations
  • Queuing systems to limit the number of people in and out of toilets where necessary
  • Cubicles, urinals, sinks and dryers marked as out of use, and new signage installed, to maintain social distancing
  • Seating in stations and waiting rooms altered to support social distancing

We're reminding passengers to take the following steps to ensure they are keeping themselves and others safe when using the railway:

  • Wear a face covering for the duration of your journey unless you are exempt – for example, young children, people with visible or hidden disabilities and those with breathing difficulties
  • Maintain a distance from others wherever possible
  • Avoid peak times and travel at quieter periods if you can
  • Maintain good hand hygiene.

Gallery: station staff and social distancing measures during the pandemic

Andrew Haines, chief executive of Network Rail, said: “I would like to thank passengers for following Government advice over the last few months. By only travelling if absolutely necessary, you have helped us to operate a reliable service for critical workers – such as doctors, nurses, carers and supermarket workers – who have needed to travel, and to keep the country connected by moving goods such as food and medicine by rail freight.

“Now, as lockdown continues to ease and the nation turns towards recovering from this pandemic, I look forward to welcoming more people back to the railway. We have significantly stepped up cleaning regimes and made sure there are more staff on hand to help with information so you can travel safely.”

Read more:

GOV.UK guidance on safer travel for passengers

GOV.UK guidance on staying safe

GOV.UK guidance on how to wear and make a face covering

The post How we’re helping passengers travel during coronavirus appeared first on Network Rail.

Source: Network Rail

Film – a railway rich in biodiversity

Running Britain’s railway comes with great responsibility for the land and wildlife beside it.

Folkestone Warren, a country park along the Kent seafront, sits near one of the main railway routes from Folkestone to London. It's one of our finest examples of biodiversity – take a short walk from the beach and find rare bees, moths and even the first cattle to graze on the site in about 100 years.

In fact, it's one of the best sites for spotting biodiversity in South East England thanks to its range of habitats. They include cliffs, rocky shoreline, chalk grassland and woodland, according to Alfie Gay, a ranger at the White Cliffs Countryside Partnership, which looks after the land on behalf of Folkestone & Hythe District Council.

Network Rail is a proud member of the partnership, which aims to preserve the local environment and has worked especially hard in recent years to dramatically improve biodiversity at Folkestone Warren, increasing the number of rare species at this nationally important site.

Watch this film to find out more:

Site of Special Scientific Interest

Folkestone Warren is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and in Europe is comparable with just one other place, in Italy, says Derek Butcher, route asset manager, geotechnics, drainage and off track on our South East route.

Dere said: “A number of the species here are protected, individually as well… There’s birds, butterflies and plants that all need to be looked after. Some of those protected species grow very close to the track so we need to make sure that they are looked after as well as running trains at the same time.”

Alfie said Folkestone Warren was distinct because it boasts an impressive cross-section of geology and an array of rare moths. Its close proximity to France – visible from the Warren on a clear day – makes it ideal for species that need slightly warmer temperatures to survive. It’s also an important destination for wildlife migrating across the Channel to establish new populations.

Alfie said: “We have a lot of species which are just on the edge of their range – northern edge of their range. They struggle to get a foothold further into the country.”

Gallery: the railway runs alongside the Warren, which is full of protected species – and cattle to graze the land for a better environment for wildlife

The reintroduction of cattle grazing to the Warren for the first time in about 100 years has largely contributed to the improved biodiversity.

We returned cattle to the area about six years ago and today, Highland cows crossed with Aberdeen Angus cows graze here for part of the year. They organically manage the scrubland, which substantially improves the environment for the species that live there.

Alfie said: “Grazing would have been widespread at the Warren until the early 20th century. We think it ceased around 1920 or thereabouts…

“Without grazing, scrub moves in, and so you lose the grassland and you lose all of the smaller chalk herbs – so your plants like marjoram or milkwort or horseshoe vetch. And these are all wild flowers which are really important for butterflies to complete their lifecycles.”

We have 30 species of butterfly at Folkestone Warren and very rare species of moth, including the fiery clearwing, only found in Britain on this stretch of coast.

The partnership’s work with local volunteers has also led to a rise in the number of common spotted orchids at the Warren. Wild flowers – which here also include dogwood and wild privet – are crucial to the rich population of bees in the area: bumble bees, solitary bees and mining bees to name a few.

Alfie said: “If we have more bees, then we have more pollination, so we have more wild flowers so it’s a positive feedback.”

Read more:

Folkestone Warren – The Great Fall to SSSI

The Great Fall – historic landslip images resurface

World Environment Day 2020

Wildlife around the railway


Climate change and weather resilience

Living by the railway

International Women's Day – Q&A with Michelle Chrabalowski, environment specialist

Managing habitats by the railway

The post Film – a railway rich in biodiversity appeared first on Network Rail.

Source: Network Rail

Region profile – Scotland’s Railway

It's home to more than 17% of Britain's rail infrastructure and some of our most scenic lines. We look at the biggest improvements for passengers on Scotland's Railway.

Scotland's Railway is one of Network Rail's five regions, which support the routes across Britain to bring our people closer to our passengers and the communities we serve. It covers a particularly large geographical area, from the Borders to Thurso at the far tip of the North East of the country.

It provides rapid access along busy commuter routes to major cities. In normal times, more than 2,500 daily services support the needs of communities and business across Scotland and the border to England.

People and the railway: reconnecting Scotland

Film: the Magic of the Glenfinnan Viaduct

Glasgow Queen Street: seven things you didn't know

From the archive: Glasgow Queen Street

Glasgow Central: behind the scenes

The Forth Bridge near Edinburgh – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – the same status as the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China

Scotland's Railway in numbers

  • More than 17% of Britain’s railway
  • 2,500 passenger and 50 freight services a day in normal times
  • 4.4m tonnes of product transported to, from and within Scotland between 2018 and 2019
  • 4,715 bridges owned and maintained by Network Rail
  • 591 level crossings managed by Network Rail
  • 4,326 signals and 359 stations

Essential upgrades for passengers

Big improvements to Scotland's Railway in recent years have included the opening of the Borders Railway in 2015. It was the UK’s longest new domestic line in more than 100 years and reconnected local communities with Scotland’s capital by rail for the first time since 1969.

The scenic, 30-mile line takes passengers between Tweedbank and Edinburgh in less than an hour. The Borders Railway described the reopening as “a new golden age of rail”.

Between 2014 and 2019, we electrified 325 km of Scotland's central railway: between Edinburgh and Glasgow, Cumbernauld and Glasgow, Holytown and Midcalder and from Grangemouth through Falkirk and Stirling to Alloa and Dunblane. Electrification means quieter trains that are more environmentally-friendly.

What are our current projects to create more space on the railway, improve journey times and the frequency of services, and enhance facilities for customers?

A bigger, brighter Glasgow Queen Street

Delivering a modern and fully accessible transport hub at Glasgow’s gateway to Scotland is one of our largest projects in Scotland.

We're redeveloping Glasgow Queen Street to give passengers:

  • A contemporary building
  • An expanded concourse
  • Improved, fully accessible, entrances on Dundas Street and George Square
  • New station facilities including accessible toilets, lost property and ticket office, as well as space for retail
  • Extended platforms to accommodate longer trains of up to eight carriages.

Glasgow Queen Street station during its huge refurbishment

The £120m redevelopment of Glasgow Queen Street station is part of the Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP), a Scottish Government investment in the railway infrastructure across central Scotland. Work started in November 2017 with the demolition of the former ticket office and staff accommodation block to clear the space needed to lengthen the platform.

The coronavirus pandemic forced building work to stall in the spring but our teams are now back on site to complete the project.

Follow the project on Twitter – @NetworkRailGQS – for the latest updates.

Edinburgh Waverley Masterplan

Edinburgh Waverley

We're busy creating a vision for the future of Edinburgh Waverley station to meet long-term demand from passengers.

In normal times, the number of people using the railway substantially increases, putting more pressure on the supporting infrastructure – including stations.

Led in partnership by Network Rail and City of Edinburgh Council, the Waverley Masterplan will form a framework for the evolution of the station over the short, medium and long term.

Crucially, it will consider the public areas immediately out with the station as well as the grounds of the facility itself. As a result, the masterplan will require the input of a diverse range of interested parties.

Read the Waverley masterplan proposals to find out more about the work of the masterplan group and how we’ve arrived at the recommendations to date.

An incredible visitor experience goes Forth!

We're inching closer to an incredible Forth Bridge Experience for visitors; we're looking for a main contractor to design and build the attraction so sightseers can take in fantastic views. We aim to appoint a contractor by the end of the year and start work on site next year.

The plan is to create a new hub at the bridge where the public can access the world-famous structure and explore its heritage as well as the outstanding views from 367 ft (110m) above sea level.

The proposed platform at the top of the Forth Bridge Experience

Groups of up to 15 people will put on safety harnesses before being led out onto the bridge’s south cantilever, walking up to a viewing point at the top using walkways built into the structure. Between three and four groups an hour will be permitted on the bridge, with each tour expected to last around two and a half hours.

The Forth Bridge has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2015, giving it the same status as the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China.

Aberdeen to Inverness

The project team welcome the first train at the newly relocated Forres station
Welcoming the first train at the relocated Forres station in 2017

We’re upgrading the railway between Aberdeen and Inverness to improve connectivity, support more services and improve journey times on the line, which is is about 108 miles long.

The Aberdeen – Inverness Improvement Project is a Scottish Government-funded project that will be delivered in phases and provide incremental benefits throughout the work. 

The long-term aims include:

  • two-hour journeys end to end
  • an hourly train service
  • better commuter services
  • more opportunities for freight opertors.

In March, we shared how the new Kintore station on the line would lead the way in encouraging greener commutes as additional Scottish Government funding was secured to increase the number of electric charging bays at the station. A total of 24 of the 168 spaces at the new transport hub will be for electric vehicles – a massive increase on the two spaces originally planned for the facility. We're building a new station at Kintore to reconnect Kintore to the railway for the first time in 56 years.

Its construction follows the opening of the new Forres station in 2017, also part of the Aberdeen-Inverness Improvement Project, close to the old Forres station.

Did you know?

  • The Forth Bridge was the first major structure in Britain made of steel. Its construction resulted in a continuous East Coast railway route from London to Aberdeen.
  • Techniques used in a refurbishment of the Forth Bridge beginning in 2001 put an end to the myth that painting the structure is no longer a never-ending task!
  • The Tay Bridge is two miles and 73 yards (3286m) long but it can vary in overall length by as much as 3ft 9in (1.14m) due to thermal expansion.
  • The Glenfinnan Viaduct – one of the world’s most famous pieces of railway infrastructure – is the longest mass concrete rail bridge in Scotland.
  • For decades, a myth said a horse and cart fell inside a pier of the Glenfinnan Viaduct during construction, in about 1899. In 2001, radar imaging proved there was a grain of truth in the story but that it in fact happened at another McAlpine concrete rail bridge – the nearby Loch nan Uamh Viaduct.
  • The Glasgow Central station Signal Box built in 1908 was placed between the two approach bridges, over the River Clyde on a cantilever. This was because no space could be found to build it on land.

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Source: Network Rail

Week on the Network 20.07.20

Network Rail works hard to improve the railway each week.

We cater for 4.8m rail journeys every single day, while simultaneously delivering an ambitious, multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan. We're renewing and upgrading 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges and viaducts, thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run), meaning our works have a wide-reaching impact.

Every week, we'll highlight some of those interesting stories.

Monday, 20 July 2020

See what we’ve been up to in the past week in our Week on the Network video. Catch up on past and future episodes on our YouTube channel.

Catch up on last week's features:

Big Bang Digital 2020

Happy birthday Sir John Fowler

Delays demystified – planned engineering works

The post Week on the Network 20.07.20 appeared first on Network Rail.

Source: Network Rail

Updated: July 20, 2020 — 2:00 am

Delays demystified – planned engineering works

Our teams across Britain are preparing to deliver essential upgrades and maintenance over the August bank holiday to improve journeys for passengers.

We plan big engineering works for certain times so they cause the least disruption to passengers, such as on bank holidays, Sundays and overnight. Read more about why we do this here.

We know delays are frustrating and we do all we can to prevent them. Passengers often think a lot of these planned engineering works overrun but in fact, just more than 99% of our planned projects complete on time, allowing us to return the railway to train services on schedule.

Planning in fine detail

We plan many of our engineering projects far in advance – in some cases, up to five years for the large bank holiday works.

We do this because we need to:

  • Agree access to the railway with passenger train and freight train operating companies – and give them ample time to plan their services and minimise disruption to passengers and freight. For example, we must ensure there’s always a route up to Scotland and across to Wales.
  • Allocate equipment such as cranes and wagons, which are always in high demand. Our Route Services department, which organises materials and certain services for our separate routes, makes sure our equipment is used efficiently across Britain.
Track renewals during our late May bank holiday works
  • Ensure separate engineering projects don’t conflict with each other because this could cause too much disruption to passengers or freight.
  • Schedule enough time to complete large pieces of work, including contingency time at the end of our projects in case we run into delays.

Gallery: Our Route Services department allocates equipment like cranes, our High Output ballast cleaner and wagons where they're needed during our bank holiday works

‘Projects are usually delayed, aren’t they?’ The truth is, they’re almost always on time…

More than 99% percent of the time, we hand back the railway to train operators on schedule and as planned. Most of the detailed planning for big projects takes place in the final year before the work and we don’t start work that has a completion confidence level of less than 90%.

However, sometimes problems occur that are more difficult for us to predict. The most common causes include:

  • Severe weather, such as very cold temperatures, which can disrupt work by freezing ballast (the stones that make up the track bed) before it arrives on site; high winds, which can affect us when we use cranes on our sites, or severe rainfall, which can sometimes cause flooding.
  • Staff sickness – we usually develop our plans to include contingency staff, however this isn’t always possible.
  • Equipment failure – we take very good care of all our machinery but it has been known to break down on site. We often have specialist engineers on site who are trained to fix our machinery but occasionally it needs a specialist part before we can repair it, costing us time.
London Bridge station – the potential for disruption is higher in busier areas

The potential for disruption typically depends on the complexity of the job. We often need to carry out more complicated jobs on much busier parts of the railway that feature more tracks and more complex layouts.

For these jobs – such as many of the upgrades and renewals that we carry out on many of the major commuter routes in and out of our major cities – we often have as little as 10 minutes between completing the project and the first passenger train travelling through the area.

How do we respond to these delays?

It depends on how significant the delay is likely to be. Most of our jobs contain ‘decision points’ or ‘hold points’ in the plan. This means we can monitor progress against the plan and adapt it should we fall behind.

All this means we make returning the railway to train operators our priority, make the site safe for services, clear the area and hand back the line to trains. Where possible, we then reschedule the remainder of the work and complete it another time.

We do our best to keep passengers moving. Thank you for bearing with us while we ensure your railway upgrades complete safely.

Read more:

Delays explained

Putting passengers first

Improving our stations

Looking after the railway

The post Delays demystified – planned engineering works appeared first on Network Rail.

Source: Network Rail

Updated: July 16, 2020 — 2:00 am

Rapido Penn Central X72/X72A Boxcar – Penn Central/Conrail/Western Pacific/YorkRail/Canadian National/APASCO/Undec – Pre-Order

Vendor: Rapido
Type: Boxcar
Price: 0.00

MSRP : $49.95 per car

Pre-Order Price: $41.95 per car

Stock Due Mid 2021, Pre-Orders Cutoff TBA

Please fill out the form below for your pre-order.

If you experience issues with the form on a mobile device please click here

Source: MaineModelworks

Updated: July 15, 2020 — 8:52 pm

Rapido Alco RS11 – BN/CV/D&H/DW&P/MEC/NYC/NKP/NP/SBD – Pre-Order

Vendor: Rapido
Type: Alco Locomotive
Price: 0.00

MSRP : $225.00 DC/Silent, $335.00 ESU Loksound DCC/Sound

Pre-Order Price: $189.00 DC/Silent, $280.99 ESU Loksound DCC/Sound

Stock Due Mid 2021, Pre-Orders Cutoff TBA

Please fill out the form below for your pre-order.

If you experience issues with the form on a mobile device please click here

Source: MaineModelworks

Updated: July 15, 2020 — 8:01 pm

Happy birthday Sir John Fowler

Sir John Fowler – one the engineers behind the iconic Forth Bridge – was born on this day 203 years ago.

His work boasted a contribution to the design and building of the London Metropolitan Railway but his most famous and record-breaking project remains one of the best-loved rail bridges in Britain.

The Forth Bridge was a milestone in the development of railway civil engineering. In normal times, two hundred trains use the bridge each day, carrying a total of three million passengers a year, according to Transport Scotland.

World records

It was the first
major structure in Britain made of steel and its construction resulted in a
continuous East Coast railway route from London to Aberdeen.

The first crossing of the Forth Bridge by the railway came in 1850 when the Edinburgh, Leith and Granton Railway started the world’s first ‘train ferry’ – a ferry boat specially designed by Thomas Bouch to take railway coaches – between Granton and Burntisland.

Click on the gallery to see more images:

In August 1873, the North British Railway obtained authority to build a railway bridge across the Firth of Forth and construction of a suspension bridge, also designed by Thomas Bouch, began in 1878.

However, work on his bridge across
the Forth stopped immediately pending a full inquiry when Bouch’s original Tay Bridge in
Dundee collapsed during a storm in December 1879.

His suspension bridge plans were abandoned in 1881 and the newly formed Forth Bridge Railway Company invited new designs.

Preserving railway history: five things saved by Network Rail

Incredible Stephenson railway history rediscovered

WWII bomb-damaged signal box celebrates 120 years

Network Rail graduates step into history

Step back in time… and inside Britain’s busiest signal box

New plans

The bridge would
cross the Forth between South Queensferry – now part of Edinburgh and North
Queensferry in Fife – making use of the island of Inch Garvie.

Its design had to
conform to specifications from the Admiralty, which stipulated the Forth
remained a navigable channel. It also needed to satisfy the Board of Trade,
which said the bridge must be rigid, stiff and able to carry the heaviest
freight trains, following the recent disaster at the Tay Bridge.

John Fowler and his partner Benjamin Baker developed a cantilevered design that accounted for these restrictions. The contract for its construction was let to Messers Arrol & Co of Glasgow in 1882 and work on the bridge started in 1883.

Vast scale

  • The Forth Bridge has three double cantilevers with two 1,700ft suspended spans between them – at the time the longest bridge spans in the world.
  • Baker and Fowler’s bridge was the first major construction in Britain to be made from steel; the bridge incorporates 53,000 tonnes of the material.
  • The rail level is 150ft (46m) above high water.
  • Each of the towers has four steel tubes 12ft (3.7m) in diameter and reaches 361ft (110m) above high water. Their foundations extend 89ft below this into the river bed, making the total height from foundations to the top of the towers 137 metres.
  • The total length of the bridge, including its approach viaducts is 2,467 metres.
  • The main structure itself measures 1,630 metres portal to portal.
  • It cost £3m to build and employed a workforce of 4,600 men at the height of construction.

The Prince of Wales – later King Edward VII – formally opened the bridge on 4 March 1890. He drove home a final, gold-plated rivet and at the same ceremony knighted Benjamin Baker.

The post Happy birthday Sir John Fowler appeared first on Network Rail.

Source: Network Rail

Updated: July 15, 2020 — 12:00 am

Big Bang Digital 2020

This year's Big Bang Fair has gone digital – all day on 14 July.

Big Bang, an annual event inspiring children to explore science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), has teamed up with a wide range of experts to give kids the chance to join in wherever they are.

Take part online to find out how young people, automated technology and modern manufacturing are playing important roles in responding to the challenges of coronavirus. It's all about amazing people doing incredible things!

Put your questions to top engineers and scientists, and take part in interactive polls and a competition!

At 1:10pm, Network Rail engineers will talk about how the railway has come together to rise to one of its biggest challenges ever – keeping vital train services and rail freight moving despite the government's restrictions to combat the pandemic.

Our teams across Britain have had to find new ways of working to ensure people who need to travel by train can do so safely – and work with the freight industry to make sure essential supplies reach supermarket shelves.

Other experts will come from cyber security, environmental campaigner Plastic Oceans UK and the National Health Service.

How has the railway maintained infrastructure while keeping to coronavirus guidelines? Find out at 1:10pm on 14 July!

Click here for lots more fun educational materials for children learning at home, including an online game, activity books and a personality quiz.

Read more:

A year in the life of an engineer

Educational resources for children

Watch this film to find out how you can be part of the railway – whatever you're interested in

Just Like Me – Q and A with Tara Scott

International Women in Engineering Day 2019: Just Like Me

Just Like Me: Q and A with Dorota and Emily

Just Like Me: Q and A with pilot Rikke Carmichael

Just Like Me: Q and A with Helen Warnock

Just Like Me: Q and A with Kamini Edgley

International Women’s Day – All Change

Careers at Network Rail

The post Big Bang Digital 2020 appeared first on Network Rail.

Source: Network Rail

Week on the Network 13.07.20

Network Rail works hard to improve the railway each week.

We cater for 4.8m rail journeys every single day, while simultaneously delivering an ambitious, multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan. We're renewing and upgrading 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges and viaducts, thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run), meaning our works have a wide-reaching impact.

Every week, we'll highlight some of those interesting stories.

Monday, 6 July 2020

See what we’ve been up to in the past week in our Week on the Network video. Catch up on past and future episodes on our YouTube channel.

Read more:

Delays explained – overhead line equipment

The Architecture the Railways Built – interview with presenter Tim Dunn

Preventing landslips around the railway

How we built a railway station in six months

The post Week on the Network 13.07.20 appeared first on Network Rail.

Source: Network Rail

Updated: July 13, 2020 — 12:02 pm

How we built a railway station in six months

The brand-new Horden railway station opened to passenger services on 29 June – just six months after our teams broke ground at the site in County Durham.

How did we complete one of our fastest ever station builds despite the challenges posed by coronavirus?

The £10.55m development near the small town of Peterlee is our latest success in reversing the Doctor Richard Beeching railway line closures across Britain in the 1960s.

They also include the Borders Railway in Scotland, which opened in 2015, and the East West Rail Project, which will reinstate a rail link between Oxford and Cambridge.

Meanwhile, Soham station in East Cambridgeshire got the green light on 29 June, just days after we selected the preferred location for the new Cambridge South station, near the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.

In normal times, we expect about 70,000 journeys through Horden each year – after almost 60 years of no immediate rail links for communities in the area.

Horden opened to passengers on 29 June

How did we do it?

Delivering Horden so fast was a team effort between Network Rail, trains operator Northern and Story Contracting.

Durham County Council funded the project, with an additional £4.4m from the Department of Transport‘s New Stations Fund and a grant from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership.

It involved:

  • Six months of planning by Story Contracting and four months of actual construction
  • Two 100-metre platforms
  • Step-free access
  • A car park
  • 85 footbridge and ramp sections – lifted into place with a 500-tonne crane
  • Power and communications infrastructure, including platform lighting
  • 2,500 tonnes of crushed stone, sand and gravel
  • 1,000 square metres of surfacing
Horden station taking shape

Horden – from plans to passengers:

January 2019: Plans for the new station get the go-ahead.

May 2019: Building the car park – the first stage – gets underway. Durham County Council builds the car park, allowing us to fully focus on the station build.

January 2020: Work on the station itself begins. The track already runs through the site, which is only 200 metres from the site of the old station.

One of the biggest factors behind the quick construction is the unusually large amount of access to the line. To build on the railway safely, we often need to close lines to train services – and for longer windows if we need to complete a substantial amount of work.

Typically, we can get about 10 or 11 hours of line access over an entire weekend, when there are usually fewer train services. Unusually, at Horden, we’re able to get about eight hours just in one mid-weeknight. This is possible because Horden is a diversion route for the East Coast Main Line so it has less traffic than many other parts of the railway – and our access causes no disruption to services.

March 2020: The UK goes into lockdown as the coronavirus pandemic rapidly worsens. Frontline railway workers are among those who keep going out to work, to continue essential construction and maintenance and keep vital services running for critical workers.

The Horden team quickly adapts to changing working practices, including social distancing, enhanced health and safety measures and the use of greater Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Horden has step-free access – something we're working hard to deliver across Britain

April 2020: April 3: Story Contracting installs the main footbridge, ramps and stairs – lifting them into place with a 500-tonne crane. Two 100-metre platforms complete and drainage works begin.

The site itself is already quite flat so it’s easy to build new platforms without needing lots of large-scale engineering. Aligning the existing track with the platforms is simple.

Meanwhile, using pre-cast concrete and modular pieces to build the station meant we saved lots of time. Traditionally, we would build much of a station and its platforms with bricks and blocks but this would have slowed us down significantly, especially given the very stormy weather we had during the construction.

May 2020: First fix – Story Contracting installs lighting columns, CCTV and passenger information screens.

The station misses its originally scheduled opening day after the team adapts to the coronavirus working guidelines. The project also runs into supply chain issues due to the pandemic – the information screens from China take longer to arrive than expected and the Australian company that makes the casings for the customer help points goes into administration.

June: Platform fences and station signage go up, and the station is ready to open. Councillor Simon Henig says the new station has “been a long-held ambition,” and that it will “open up significant opportunities for communities across east Durham, by providing a direct transport link to Teesside, Wearside and Tyneside”.

One of our fastest station builds

Kieran Dunkin, a principal programme sponsor at Network Rail who worked on Horden, said: “I haven’t worked on a station being built that quickly. Normally, a two-track station is a minimum of about nine months but as with Maghull [North], if you get good access – good possessions – you can normally break that a little bit. It’s one of the fastest stations ever built in my time.”

James Taylor, a project manager at Network Rail, said: “It was a lot quicker than most projects are able to deliver. That was certainly pleasing, especially in the confines of a global pandemic, which may have affected or slowed the construction down somewhat.”

Read about how we built Maghull North railway station in Merseyside in just nine months and carried out most of the works while keeping the railway line open.

Read more:

From plot to platform – how fast can we build a railway station?

Putting passengers first

Improving our stations

Stations Day – 10 times we delivered better stations for passengers

The post How we built a railway station in six months appeared first on Network Rail.

Source: Network Rail