The final pieces of track have been installed to help relieve a long-standing bottleneck on the Hope Valley railway line, providing faster and more reliable rail journeys for passengers.
Totalling 850 metres in length, the track forms part of a new passing loop between Bamford and Hathersage stations to allow passenger trains to pass slower freight trains on the route.
The work is part of the Hope Valley Railway Upgrade, which will improve journeys between Manchester and Sheffield.
Construction of the passing loop has taken place over the past year, including two full weekend line closures where engineers worked around the clock to complete major elements of work.
A total of 1,323 sleepers were installed, along with 3,600 tonnes of ballast for the bottom and top stone.
A number of structures have also been extended by the team to facilitate the work, including a bridge extension in Bamford and three culverts, which allows water to run beneath the railway.
The passing loop is expected to be operational from Spring 2024, on completion of signalling work along the route.
Graeme Whitehead, senior sponsor for Network Rail, said: “It’s fantastic to see another important milestone reached on the Hope Valley Railway Upgrade.
“This is an important step that will allow us to improve journeys for those travelling via rail between Manchester and Sheffield for years to come.”
James Goldsby, project director for the VolkerRailStory joint venture, said: “We are very pleased to say that the major elements of track work for the Bamford loop have been completed.
“It has taken a large amount of work and planning to get here, and we look forward to completing the final signalling elements, to allow the benefits for passengers to be realised.”
A total of 3,923 metres of new track, including the new loop, has now been installed along the Hope Valley line to provide additional passing places for trains and improve the reliability of services. This includes track renewals work in Dore & Totley, where work has taken place to upgrade the station with a new, accessible footbridge and a second platform.
Preparation for track replacement work in Grindleford is also underway, which will be completed in the new year, as part of signalling systems modernisation in the area.
Read more about the Hope Valley Railway Upgrade here.
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