Trudy Harrison MP has seen the latest section of railway track replaced as part of the upgrade of the region’s famous coastal railway line.
In the early hours of Sunday morning (10 February), Trudy saw new a track bed installed as part of a £3m Great North Rail Project investment.
Work has been taking place since early January to replace 5,000 yards of worn out sleepers, railway stone (ballast) and rail between Bootle and Silecroft. This is to create smoother, faster and more reliable journeys for passengers and freight services on the Cumbrian coast line.
Trudy said: “This has been a fascinating insight into the world of rail repairs and renewal and I’m grateful to all those who welcomed me and explained in detail the process.
“I would like to thank everyone for their understanding - this has been a noisy and inconvenient, but absolutely essential upgrade to ensure safety and reliability of the service. Working through the night has been necessary to carry out such extensive upgrades to ensure the current 20mph speed limit is restored to a line speed of 60mph
Adrian Brookes, scheme project manager for Network Rail, said: “Overnight may seem like a strange time of day to upgrade the track. But, this normal for railway workers, as it minimises disruption to important daytime passenger and freight services.
“It was great to show Trudy Harrison MP our completed work that will help deliver smoother, faster and more reliable journeys. As part of the Great North Rail Project, we will continue to work with Northern as we plan for and deliver the remaining stretch between Bootle and Whitehaven this summer.”
Chris Jackson, regional director for Northern, said:
This £3m Great North Rail Project investment has helped remove a temporary speed restriction imposed on the coast line due to the poor condition of track. The modern track now means Northern’s trains can run faster and more smoothly, improving the passenger experience for commuters and visitors to the area. The modern infrastructure also means less maintenance and less disruption to passengers in the long-run.
With work between Bootle and Silecroft now complete, Network Rail is planning and preparing for the final stretch of track upgrades between Bootle and Whitehaven in the summer.