Portishead construction costs rocket

The cost of restoring the railway line to Portishead is expected to increase substantially over the budget that has been allocated to it. Further details and updated costs are expected to be released in March.

Source: BBC News


Northern line extension tunnelling to commence in March

The Mayor of London has announced that tunnelling to create an extension of the Northern line between Kennington and Battersea will begin in March.

Sadiq Khan confirmed news of tunnelling for the first major Tube line extension since the 1990s as two gigantic tunnel boring machines were unveiled in Battersea. The two 650-tonne machines, each the length of a football pitch, will create two 3.2km underground tunnels to extend the Charing Cross branch of the Northern line from Kennington to Battersea, via Nine Elms.

According to tunnelling tradition, the machines cannot start work until given a name and, following a vote by local school children, the machines are being named Helen and Amy in honour of the first British astronaut, Helen Sharman, and British aviation pioneer Amy Johnson, who was the first female pilot to fly solo from Britain to Australia.

The two tunnel boring machines were built by NFM Technologies in Le Creusot in central France. They were shipped to London earlier this year and reassembled in Battersea. Each tunnel boring machine has a rotating cutterhead at the front which is pressed against the tunnel face by hydraulic cylinders. A series of trailers behind house all the mechanical and electrical equipment and a conveyor belt removes the earth.

The machines will undertake two individual tunnel drives at depths of up to 26 metres to construct the 5.2 metre diameter east and westbound tunnels. Each machine is capable of tunnelling up to 30 metres per day with teams of around 50 people needed to operate them.  The work is expected to take around six months to complete. As they advance forward, nearly 20,000 pre-cast concrete segments will be built in rings behind them.


Council approves Maghull North plans

The development of a new station in Maghull has moved a step closer after planning permission was granted for the scheme at a Sefton Council planning committee meeting this week (Wednesday 18th January).

The planning committee approved plans for the new Maghull North station, which will be located just off School Lane, between the existing Maghull and Town Green stations on the Ormskirk branch of Merseyrail’s Northern Line.

The station is a key piece of infrastructure in the Sefton Local Plan, supporting demand from an adjacent new housing development which will include 370 homes, with more homes planned for the area in the near future. It will also offer relief for the existing station in the town.

The £13m scheme is being funded through the Government’s Local Growth Fund (LGF), Merseytravel and the Homes and Communities Association, which currently owns the land on which the station will be built. It will form part of the wider £340m investment by Network Rail and the Liverpool City Region in rail improvements over the next three years.

Facilities at the new station will include:-

  • Staffed station building and ticket office with passenger toilet.
  • Passenger waiting facilities on platform
  • Step-free access with lifts and a bridge to, from and between both platforms and the station building.
  • 156-space car park with blue badge, motorcycle parking and cycle storage.
  • Pedestrian and cycle routes from School Lane and Park Lane to the station and bus stops on School Lane.
  • Future provision for electric vehicle charging points.

Work is due to start on site in August 2017, with the station opening planned for May 2018.

More information on the scheme can be found at www.merseytravel.gov.uk/maghullnorth


Robroyston funding proposals approved

Glasgow City Council’s Executive Committee today (19 January) approved funding support of up to £10million for the early delivery of a new rail station in Millerston / Robroyston.

The new station, expected to open in late 2019, will also feature two associated Park & Ride car parks, drop-off facility and an access road as part of this £18.9million scheme, and will facilitate the acceleration of the building of almost 1600 homes. There is planning permission in principle for these homes.The £10million of forward funding from the council will be repaid upon the completion of the houses through a Section 75 legal agreement. It is estimated that the completion of the development will bring an extra £14.2million to the economy every year.

Councillor Frank McAveety, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “This is fantastic news for Glasgow, providing a new rail station for the people of Robroyston and Millerston and helping to bring almost 1600 much-needed new homes to this part of the city. We are delighted to provide this forward funding to allow the early delivery of this project, and look forward to working with our partners through to its completion.”

Other partners in this project include Transport Scotland, SPT (Strathclyde Partnership for Transport), Network Rail, Elmford Ltd, Park Lane and Stewart Milne Homes.

Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said: “I welcome confirmation of this funding commitment for the proposed new station at Robroyston and Millerston from Glasgow City Council and their partners. In September we set out our own contribution of over £7 million to the scheme and with today’s announcement we can now look forward to the scheme moving towards the delivery phase, providing a welcome boost for the people of Robroyston and the wider development plans for the area.”

SPT Chairman Jonathan Findlay said: “The delivery of a new station and park and ride at Robroyston is a vital factor in ensuring the long-term success of the redevelopment of the area as a whole. SPT has played a key role in ensuring this project has progressed and we will continue to ensure it remains on track as it moves towards delivery.”

Funding will come from Glasgow City Council (up to £10million); Transport Scotland’s New Station Fund (£7.13million); SPT (£1.25million); and the developers (£485,000).

The developers have indicated that the early delivery of the rail station would accelerate the submission of detailed planning applications for the new homes.

The rail station will be located on the Glasgow – Cumbernauld line. The development of over 400 homes on the northern side of the line in Millerston/Robroyston has already begun.


Robroyston funding plan could bring forward opening date

Glasgow City Council Executive Board are set to debate a funding package on Thursday that could accelerate construction of the proposed railway station at Robroyston so that it opens in the next few years. The funding proposal will see the council offer £10m to complete the funding package for the railway station with it repaid by contributions from the developer building 1,600 houses on two development sites nearby.


Clearance work begins on Brierley Hill extension

Work to progress the proposed extension of the Midland Metro from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill is due to commence this week.

The Midland Metro Alliance (MMA), working on behalf of West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), will begin to clear vegetation from overgrown areas of the disused former South Staffordshire Railway line in order to carry out comprehensive structural and environmental surveys.

It is anticipated the construction of the route will begin during 2019 and that the route will open for passenger service in 2023.

The Wednesbury to Brierley Hill extension will be 11 kilometres (6.8 miles) long and have 17 stops, including 4 provisional stops.

The route will branch off from the existing east of the existing depot at Wednesbury and go via Dudley town centre, Merry Hill and the terminus at Brierley Hill.

The vegetation clearance process should take approximately two weeks and all residents and businesses who may be directly affected by the works have been informed they are taking place.

Councillor Roger Lawrence, lead member for transport for the WMCA, said: “Whilst this is not the formal start of work on the extension it is the first step towards it.

“There is a lot of work still to be done but once it is complete the Black Country and wider region will reap the economic rewards of having an extended modern tram system running through it.”


Trafford Park enabling works begin

Enabling works have triggered the start of the construction of the Trafford Park Metrolink extension.

The project will see a new six stop line offering rapid transport connections to key business and leisure destinations on a 3.4 mile (5.5km) route to the intu Trafford Centre.

Advanced utility works are now underway, which will run concurrently with other enabling works. Some local traffic management measures will be required at sites on Barton Dock Road, Village Way, Village Place and Trafford Wharf Road.

The website for further information can be found here


Feasibility study backs Galley Common railway station

A new railway station in West Nuneaton has moved a step closer to reality after a feasibility study by Warwickshire County Council revealed a positive business case for the project. The business case has suggested a BCR of 1:3.43.

The study found that a new Galley Common/Stockingford station would bring considerable business and environmental benefits to the area. It would be located on the Nuneaton to Birmingham line.

The station, which could open as early as 2023, would significantly ease road congestion in the area, resulting in an estimated saving of 520,000 road vehicle kilometres/year by 2023, rising to 1.5 million kilometres/year by 2029. Total passenger journeys per annum are estimated to be 56,339 by 2023 and 166,611 by 2046

A former station, known as Stockingford, was located in the area, adjacent to the Whittleford Road overbridge, before closing in March 1968. The new station would consist of northbound and southbound platforms linked by a footbridge; pedestrian and cycle links to Kingswood Road and Whittleford Road and a car park.

The timescales for opening are constrained by capacity issues on the route and the lack of rolling stock. If further investment is supported, the GRIP3 would occur by 2020/21. The station is currently estimates to cost £11.4m at 2016 prices.


Cambridge North 80% complete following Christmas work

Major progress was made over Christmas at the site of the new Cambridge North station, which is now 80% complete, to get it ready for its opening in May this year as part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan.

Work took place over the festive period to build platforms, install tracks for a new bay platform and to fit overhead wires.

The footbridge, lift shafts, stairwells and main station building were all built over the course of last year at the site of the new station, which is anticipated to handle 3,000 passenger journeys a day. The new station will alleviate the pressure on the existing Cambridge station, where people currently leave the train in order to travel by other means to the science and business parks.

Helen Warnock, Network Rail’s area director for west Anglia, said: “We used the Christmas period to link the new tracks and signalling equipment to the existing infrastructure, which could only take place while the railway was closed. With only a few more months to go until opening, work is well under way to build a station that will provide an extra link to the north of the city and support the growth of the local economy as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan.”

Once completed, the station will have three platforms, parking for 450 vehicles and 1,000 cycles, and solar panels will provide up to 10% of the station’s power.

The station is due to open in May this year and will serve Cambridge Science Park and the suburb of Chesterton. Funded by the Department for Transport and developed by Network Rail in partnership with Cambridgeshire County Council, Cambridge North station will provide an alternative connection point for commuters in the north east of the city and provide improved access and journey times for passengers.

It is expected that the station will encourage new businesses to the area as well as aid the expansion of existing businesses, and encourage additional employment opportunities. In the meantime, the station will serve staff already working at the Science Park and St John’s Innovation Centre.