Railway News – Early July 2022

Work to make Billingham station more accessible is going ahead, as part of a programme to improve journeys for Northern passengers.

Diggers moved in earlier in the week to start building a base for rail workers to move the £3.59m plan forward.

A new and improved bridge will connect the station’s two platforms by Spring 2023, and step free access will be made possible using two state-of-the-art lifts. It will be the biggest change to the station since 1966.

The result will be an easier experience for passengers with limited mobility, heavy luggage, bikes or pushchairs to reap the benefits of Billingham’s strong rail connections to places like Newcastle, Whitby, Hexham, and the onward travel opportunities they unlock.



Network Rail started installing about 10,000 tonnes of rock armour alongside a stretch of the Cambrian Line to make it more resilient.

The £4.4m project is going ahead to protect the future of the Cambrian Line following three back-to-back storms in February 2022 that led to half a mile of severe damages on the railway.

The Cambrian line between Welshpool and Newtown was closed for several weeks following Storm Franklin, with Network Rail and Amcogiffen engineers working night and day to fix more than twelve areas of washouts – the result of unprecedented levels of flood water.

To minimise future disruption and delays, Network Rail has begun installing 9,500 tonnes of rock armour along the bank of the railway; the same concept that has proved to be a huge success on a flood-prone stretch of railway in the Conwy Valley and another near Abergavenny.



HS2 ground engineers have started work on the high-speed rail project’s pioneering low-carbon Wendover Dean Viaduct, with an expert team sinking the first of more than 50 concrete piles that will form the foundations.

Located south of the village of Wendover in Buckinghamshire, the 450m-long viaduct will be the first major railway bridge in the UK to be built with a ‘double composite’ structure, using significantly less carbon-intensive concrete and steel in comparison to a more traditional design.

Over the summer, engineers working for HS2 Ltd’s main works contractor, EKFB – a team made up of Eiffage, Kier, Ferrovial Construction and BAM Nuttall – will construct 53 concrete piles to form the foundations for the structure.

On top of each group of piles – which will range from between 38 and 46m deep – a concrete pile cap will support the pier which will in turn support the weight of the bridge structure above. Instead of hammering the piles into the ground, holes will be bored before being backfilled to create the pile.

The piers – some of which will be up to 14 metres high – will be cast as shells before being assembled on site and filled with concrete. This approach will reduce the amount of work on site and cut disruption for local residents. The first ‘double composite’ beams will be installed next year.



 Hitachi Rail has signed a new contract to design and install the ERTMS (European Rail Traffic Management System) digital signalling technology onboard trains operated by Tågåkeriet I Bergslagen AB (also-called Tågab) in Sweden and Norway. The modernisation of the fleet will improve operational efficiency, interoperability and the availability of the vehicles, reducing potential traffic disruptions.

Within the frame of this contract Hitachi Rail will design, build, install, test, certify and commission the on-board signalling system based on ERTMS technology and STM-ATC2 – a system that allows the trains to operate on conventional lines.

ERTMS is the most advanced technology for digitally controlling a train’s operations and aims to harmonise different train control systems.

Once equipped with the interoperable systems, the new trains operated by Tågab will run seamlessly on mixed traffic lines across Scandinavia, from Sweden to Norway without interruption. The technology will also enable the automatic deployment of train safety functions such as breaking if a hazard is identified. This ability to detect and manage faults will mean that the service can increase its reliability. Equally, by regulating speed, acceleration and breaking, the system will allow the operator to benefit from a lower energy footprint and an increased resource efficiency.



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