“Passengers wish for reasonable connections for the north and south”
(South East Lincolnshire Travellers’ Association)
Stops by Central Trains’ Skegness services at Grantham are made difficult because of lack of capacity between Barkston Junction, where trains join the East Coast Main Line (ECML), and Grantham station. The solution is the Allington Chord, an engineering project that will separate Skegness services from the ECML. The Allington Chord project is now expected to proceed during 2004/5 (see Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) Strategic Plan 2003), although formal confirmation is awaited. The Committee welcomes the SRA’s decision to proceed with this project.
“We will give our wholehearted support to the construction of the Allington Chord project which will enable us to separate our services from the ECML. This will give Central Trains and GNER the necessary maximum flexibility to operate the timetable.” Tony Brown, Director Network Services, Central Trains.
The completion of the Allington Chord will increase capacity and reliability of GNER services. It will also allow Nottingham to Skegness trains to stop regularly at Grantham station, thereby providing proper connections from London to Sleaford, Boston and Skegness and vice versa.
Key stakeholders say the current lack of capacity is undermining the potential of the Grantham to Skegness route. Passengers from Skegness have poor early morning connections at Grantham for journeys north and south. The earliest arrival at London Kings Cross is 11.48; the first arrival at Leeds is 11.59 and the earliest passengers can arrive in Doncaster is 11.17. Late night connections are also inadequate. To catch the last train from Grantham to Skegness at 19.59, passengers must leave London Kings Cross at 18.30; Leeds at 17.40 and Doncaster at 18.12
Allington Chord is the key “early” scheme in the ECML improvement project. It enables Skegness services to be separated from the ECML by way of a new 30 mph double line chord provided at Allington Junction to allow trains to and from Skegness to access Grantham without having to traverse the ECML. In addition the existing connecting line at Barkston will be removed, Barkston East signalbox abolished and an underbridge renewed providing operational, safety and maintenance savings.
Completion is planned for the December timetable change in 2005. Funding for this enabling scheme is provided for the enhancement element by the SRA and renewal by Network Rail.
Modern facilities at stations This project entails implementation of modern facilities at stations (MFAS), including CCTV, toilets, CIS, public address systems, waiting rooms and shelters. Funded works will address the first 68 stations, across three regions (NW, Midlands, East Anglia), as selected by the SRA.
The programme is being delivered for a fixed price and centrally controlled with regional delivery. One national principal contractor has been appointed with a number of other supply contracts, including manufacture of modular designed units. Design work, pilots and prototypes have been completed. The implementation works have recently commenced for the 68 stations with 16 station site starts in January 2004 in North West region. Works will commence shortly in the other regions.
Incremental Output Statement track & signalling programme
This programme involves the development and implementation of small to medium scale infrastructure schemes, funded directly by the SRA, to deliver improvements to capacity, operational flexibility, journey times and safety. Design development work is primarily managed centrally, with physical works managed by regional project teams.
Five schemes are currently in their implementation phase, for completion during 2004:
Filton Junction - providing a second track through the junction plus additional platform and loop work to create additional train paths, improve reliability of the network in this area whilst also mitigating one of the top five SPAD Category 1 risk sites in the UK. It is mentioned further in Route 13.
Edinburgh to Bathgate route, Fife Circle route, East Kilbride to Glasgow Central route and Edinburgh to Dunblane route - platform extensions at 25 locations to accommodate longer trains, currently on order by ScotRail. These are mentioned further in Routes 24 and 26.
In addition to the five schemes currently in their implementation phase, nine more schemes are sufficiently developed that, if funding were made available, they could be developed to the single option stage with a view to implementation in 2005-2006
Work starts to cut East Coast congestion Work has begun on the construction of a new stretch of railway to ease congestion on the East Coast Main Line.
The £12m Allington Chord scheme is one of a handful of projects still remaining from the original plan to upgrade the entire East Coast route, which was scrapped amidst much
acrimony in 2001.
Jointly funded by Network Rail and the Strategic Rail Authority, the 450- metre section of new track to the north of Grantham will help create extra capacity by removing some local services from the East Coast Main Line.
Simon Kirby, Network Rail’s director of major projects and investments, said the project showed his company’s commitment to improving Britain’s railway: ‘We are delivering a new stretch of railway, easing congestion on the East Coast Main Line and, at the same time,
taking the opportunity to renew some existing assets.’
Nick Newton, the incoming chief executive of the SRA, added: ‘The scheme at Allington is a milestone for rail industry co-operation along the East Coast Main Line. It will ease a significant
bottleneck, delivering benefits for both long distance and local services.’ The work is being carried out by construction company Carillion and is due to be completed by December 2005.
Allington Junction & Barkston East Junction
Construction of new South to East chord at Allington Junction to form a triangle will eliminate the need for Grantham - Skegness services to use the E.C.M.L. thus providing more paths for other users. The new junctions will be controlled from a panel to be provided in a new Allington Jct SB, replacing the existing GN box there. This will also result in the closure of Barkston East Junction SB and the associated chord to Barkston South Jct. The timescale for this job has ’slipped’ a little, work is currently on hold but the scheme should continue in 2005.