Locomotive Services Ltd stunning Blue/Midland Pullman HST has arrived home to Crewe after a fantastic paint job by Arlington at Eastleigh, and driver training will commence week beginning 2nd November with a daily Crewe-Carnforth-Rugby-Crewe circuit, giving the old girl a good blast on the WCML as crew and staff get up to speed.
Made up of former East Midlands Railway power cars 43046 & 43055 and MK3s 41176, 41108, 41162, 41059, 40801, 41182, 41169 & 44078, the set will depart Crewe Holding Sidings and pass a number of our cameras throughout its journey.
Monday 2nd to Friday 6th November.
5Z43 Crewe Holding Sidings to Carnforth Down & Up Goods Loop
Network Rail engineers are turning their attentions to the Portsmouth area in a busy January 2021 as one of the city’s most prominent Victorian railway structures gets some vital engineering attention.
The 1876-built Landport Viaduct, which supports two platforms at Portsmouth and Southsea station on the line to the harbour, needs a week’s worth of strengthening, without trains running over it. In addition, a separate project will see new track laid and a bridge rebuilt near Cosham.
All this means some important dates and changes for passengers to have in their diaries:
Between Friday 1 and Sunday 3 January, plus Sunday 17 January, the line from Fareham to Portsmouth Harbour will be closed for the Cosham project
For one week, Between Monday 18 and Sunday 24 January, the line from Portsmouth & Southsea to Portsmouth Harbour will close, with the closure extended Cosham and Bedhampton on Sunday 24, for Landport Viaduct strengthening.
Passengers who travel on SWR, GWR and Southern services to and from Portsmouth stations are advised to plan ahead. Trains will start and finish their journeys earlier, some will call at additional stations or be diverted, while others will be replaced by buses.
Mark Killick, Network Rail Wessex route director, said: “We know any planned changes to train services can be disruptive to passengers, but both projects will provide a more reliable railway in Portsmouth. By doing this work all together, and especially the seven-day closure, we will save many more weekends of potential disruption.
We’re proud to be the custodians of some very old Victorian structures, and one of the challenges we face is running a frequent and busy train service over the top of them, while keeping them in top condition.
“We really appreciate our passengers’ patience while we do the work we need to keep them safe, and ask that they plan ahead and check the latest travel advice before beginning their journeys.”
Alan Penlington, SWR’s customer experience director, said: “Whilst there’s never a good time to close the railway, both bridge maintenance projects are essential for improving reliability and performance along this this important stretch of railway.
“I realise these works will mean disruption for our customers; however, replacement buses will be in operation for both closures, and the longer closure will allow engineers the necessary time to strengthen Landport viaduct for years to come. I’d like to thank customers for their patience.”
Landport viaduct is supported by 17 spans with seven being strengthened during January’s line closure. The remaining 10 will be strengthened at a later date. This essential work will protect the train service for years to come.
The £25m upgrade restoration of Barmouth Viaduct, which is a vital transport link for North West Wales, is set to be extended by 48 hours to allow more work to be carried out while passenger numbers are lower because of the firebreak lockdown
The work, which will protect the well-loved bridge for generations and maintain its magnificent appearance, has been carefully planned for it to take place over three years, with three shorter full closures of the viaduct, rather than one longer full closure.
However, with the firebreak lockdown resulting in fewer people travelling at present, and the construction site set up with the necessary people and equipment, Network Rail has agreed with Transport for Wales that the works will continue for a further 48hours to allow restoration work to progress on the timber spans. As a result, the railway and the footbridge will remain closed until the early hours of Wednesday morning (05.30 on 04 November)
Kevin Collins, Network Rail’s route delivery director for Wales and Borders, said:
“Our £25m refurbishment of Barmouth Viaduct is the biggest in this iconic bridge’s history. We have carefully planned our work and it is all on track however the firebreak lockdown creates an opportunity to deliver more work, more efficiently and, most importantly, at a time when it will impact less people. The decision to continue work for another 48 hours means that replacement transport will continue to be provided by Transport for Wales until Wednesday morning (04 November). We know some pupils returning to school will be affected by this extension, so we are supporting Transport for Wales who are working closely with the relevant schools and the local authority. We are grateful to passengers and local people for their understanding and apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.”
At over 150 years old, the viaduct is in poor condition. Many of the timber elements of the viaduct have decayed significantly over time and a large proportion of the metallic elements have corroded.
Network Rail is completely restoring the viaduct in a way that doesn’t threaten its industrial heritage and its Grade II listed status. This means that components are being replaced on a ‘like-for like’ basis so that the viaduct retains its magnificent appearance.
Transport for Wales is providing rail replacement services during the closure between Pwllheli and Machynlleth stations, and all stations in between. There will also be an additional bus service for local school pupils to take them to and from school during the closure. Passengers, pedestrians and cyclists are advised to plan ahead and allow additional time for travelling.