Work starts on North West Electrification Project Phase 3

VolkerRail, in partnership with Network Rail, has started to upgrade the railway between Preston and Blackpool as part of their £1bn+ Great North Rail Project to deliver cleaner, quieter and more reliable journeys by May 2018.

NWEP3 map

The 17 mile route, which runs through Salwick, Kirkham & Wesham, Poulton-le-Fylde and Layton, will undergo upgrade works, enabling the line to become electrified; paving the way for improved and more reliable train journeys.

Work began at Poutlon, on Saturday 26 February, to lower the current track in preparation for the installation of overhead line structures and wiring. This first phase of work is expected to be completed in May.

As part of the project, VolkerRail, working with Atkins, J. Murphy & Sons Limited and Siemens, will:

  • Remove and replace over 11km of track
  • Install over 1,100 overhead line structures
  • Install over 200km of overhead line cable
  • Install three footbridges

The teams will also complete platform extension work at Blackpool North station as well as the construction of a third platform and step free access at Kirkham & Wesham station.

This project forms part of Network Rail’s Great North Rail Project (GNRP) which will see improvements to the network across the north of England. The GNRP will enable hundreds more trains to run each day: more trains with more seats, running more quickly and more reliably.

VolkerRail’s project director, Jim Goldsby commented: “The team have already hit the ground running and are fully focused on the safe delivery of the works within the challenging timescales, which includes a 19 week blockade. Successful delivery of a project of this magnitude and complexity is only achieved by working with Network Rail and our project partners within a collaborative environment.

“Working with the local community is also a key driver for this project. We are keen to develop the next generation of railway engineers and have already signed up as a sponsor for the Fylde Coast skills fair, being held in Blackpool on the 19 May.”

Network Rail’s head of programme management, Noel Connolly said: “This contract is a significant milestone for the delivery of our Great North Rail Project which will help to improve journeys for passengers travelling between Preston and Blackpool.

 “Work has already begun on site and we are working closely with contractors, local train operators and other key stakeholders to deliver in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible while minimising disruption for both lineside communities and passengers.”