The first pieces of track have been installed to relieve a long-standing bottleneck on the Hope Valley railway line, providing faster and more reliable rail journeys for passengers.
Engineers working at Bamford on the Hope Valley line, laid the first 340 metres of track for a new ‘passing loop’ that will allow slower trains to switch to the new track, while faster trains continue past at a higher speed.
The work is part of the Hope Valley Railway Upgrade, which will alleviate several bottlenecks along the route between Manchester and Sheffield and provide upgrades to stations.
340 metres of track has been installed between Bamford and Hathersage stations to create the start and end points of the new passing loop. The line through the Hope Valley was closed during installation, with engineers working around the clock using machinery including heavy lift excavators, a dozer, an engineering train and a tamper.
Graeme Whitehead, senior sponsor for Network Rail, said: “Installing the first pieces of track for this important passing loop is a major milestone for the Hope Valley Railway Upgrade.
“The upgrade of this popular route will help to alleviate historic bottlenecks, bringing faster and more reliable travel to local passengers and long-distance travellers.”
James Goldsby, project director for the VolkerRailStory joint venture, said: “This has been a major milestone for the joint venture, with several months of planning undertaken prior to the blockade to ensure the work was delivered safely and on time.
“Thank you to all those who helped in its achievement, and thank you to the local community. We understand the impact this work has had, and we appreciate your continued support.”
Since the start of the year, more than 700 metres of new track has been installed in Dore & Totley. Work to extend a bridge has also been completed, to facilitate the second line of track through Dore & Totley station, along with a new platform and accessible footbridge.
The Hope Valley Railway Upgrade will bring benefits to passengers from the area and for those travelling through on longer journeys. The upgrade will mean more reliable trains and more accessible stations.
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