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Phase 3 of North West electrification starts

Network Rail

VolkerRail, working with Atkins, J Murphy & Sons, Siemens and Network Rail, has started phase three of the project to upgrade the railway between Preston and Blackpool, as part of the £1bn Great North Rail Project (GNRP).

The 27km route will be upgraded to prepare the line for electrification. Work is set to finish by May 2018. The route takes in Salwick, Kirkham & Wesham, Poulton-le-Fylde and Layton.

The main work includes removing or replacing 11km of track, installing 200km of overhead line cable, constructing three footbridges and installing 1,100 overhead line structures. There will also be a platform extension at Blackpool North station and upgrades to Kirkham & Wesham station.

Source: VolkerWessels UK

“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,” said VolkerRail’s project director Jim Goldsby.

Network Rail’s head of programme management Noel Connolly added: “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.”

Balfour Beatty has worked on the previous two phases out of a total of seven. It left the project in August 2015 by mutual consent sparking concerns that the electrification of phase 3 would be further delayed.

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