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First commissioning work begins on Network Rails Panel Framework

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VolkerRail has begun work on the Bolton to Blackburn capacity enhancement project, which marks the start of the first project to progress into the construction and commissioning phase on Network Rail’s CP5 London North Western (LNW) North Panel Framework.

Panel framework

The framework forms part of Network Rail's extensive programme to enhance and renew the London North Western routes, over the next five years.

VolkerRail has already undertaken preparatory works in the lead up to an eight stage, five week blockade; consisting of weekend and mid-week possessions, which began on the 18th July.

To increase capacity and performance, VolkerRail will complete track renewals, signalling, installation and testing, and commissioning works on 4,000m of existing track on the up and down Darwen mainline. VolkerRail will also complete stabilisation works on a 91m retaining wall between the over bridge at junction 40 and 41.

In order to deliver the entirety of the design and construction requirements, VolkerRail is working collaboratively with Buckingham Group Contracting Limited and Babcock International, who are delivering the civil engineering and rail systems works.  

The Bolton to Blackburn capacity enhancement project is the first of many contracts to commence under the framework which focuses on increasing capacity and train service performance at Darwen.

Stuart Birch, director of major projects at VolkerRail said: “This framework represents a significant milestone for VolkerRail and allows us to demonstrate how we have become a market leader in performing collaboratively with Network Rail."

Terry Strickland, Network Rail’s area director, said: “This essential upgrade will provide a better, more reliable railway for passengers travelling between Manchester and Clitheroe for many decades to come. We have worked closely with Northern Rail so passengers are still able to get to their destinations during this essential work which can only be done when trains are not running.”

The CP5 framework is part of a wider £38bn programme by Network Rail to improve Britain’s railways over the next five years, which currently sees four million passenger journeys and thousands of tonnes of freight transported every single day.

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