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North Doncaster Chord Alliance


The North Doncaster Chord project is part of a programme of works to create extra capacity on the East Coast Main Line (ECML).

Creation of this new chord, directly links the Askern and Skellow lines; providing additional capacity and reliability on the ECML and enabling additional passenger trains per hour. The chord also created a direct route for a significant number of freight trains each day.

The new chord comprises of a 3.2km twin track railway, constructed on two embankments, and a 246m long viaduct, spanning the ECML. The project was delivered under an alliance arrangement comprising Network Rail, Morgan Sindall and URS. VolkerRail was appointed as sub-contractor to the project to complete trackworks, utlising the companys Kirow KRC 1200 crane and Matisa B41 tamper.

The work was completed in three stages:

  • S&C installation at Thorpe Marsh
  • S&C installation at Haywood
  • construction of the chord.

Each section was delivered in a different working environment; Thorpe Marsh in a five week blockade, Haywood in five seperate 29 hour disruptive weekend possessions and the chord in a greenfield site situation.

During the various phases there was a number of technical challenges. This includes extensive realignment of previously straight track, to accommodate the two type FV turnouts and the crossover at both ends of the chord. Extensive close collaboration with URS was also required to stage the construction phases week by week and accommodate alignment alterations, up to 3m, from the existing position at Haywood Junction.

Throughout each stage VolkerRail arranged delivery of the chord materials other than the top ballast by road. This led to a complex logistical exercise involving 123 deliveries of concrete sleepers, 16 wagons of CEN60 rail and well over a 100 wagons of ballast. During this phase of the work VolkerRail successfully integrated its works with the civil engineering element of the project, keeping both disciplines working safely and efficiently with zero accidents and incidents throughout the duration of the project.

Facts and figures

  • Client
    Morgan Sindall
  • Value
  • Duration
    12 months
  • Project categories

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