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Proof House

Proof House junction, just south of Birmingham New Street station, was completely remodelled as part of the multi billion pound contract to upgrade the West Coast Main Line to carry trains at up to 225kph by 2005.

The junction had become one of the worst bottlenecks on the entire UK rail network, and with more than 800 trains a day passing through was overloaded.

Between February 1999 and December 2000 an alliance consisting of Railtrack, principal contractor Carillion and consultant WS Atkins carried out the £36M contract.

Work included the reconstruction and strengthening of Victorian bridges, remodelling and replacement of all trackwork, including 14,000t of ballast, 15km of track and complicated junction areas. The signalling system was upgraded as were the power and overhead catenary systems.

Although spread over 22 months, the fulcrum of the contract was a 19 day blockade of Birmingham New Street station in August of 2000.

It was delivered on time, resulting in a £1M saving against target cost and no reportable construction accidents; the best safety record across the whole of the West Coast Route Modernisation at the time.

The success of the contract has been recognised with top prizes at the National Rail Awards, the British Construction Industry Awards, the Railway Innovation Awards (including Achievement through Teamwork and the overall award for the year). It was also the ICE Midlands Major Project of the Year.

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