Video: Network Rail reach £116m reliability-boosting resignalling scheme milestone
Posted: 4 September 2023 | Elliot Robinson (Editorial Assistant - Global Railway Review) | No comments yet
Network Rail have switched on 116 state of the art digital signals on the railway across parts of south west London and Berkshire as part of a reliability boosting resignalling programme.
Credit: Network Rail
Network Rail has successfully switched on 116 new state of the art digital signals on the railway across parts of south west London and Berkshire, as part of the four-year resignalling programme to improve reliability.
The railway reopened as planned earlier this morning following a 14-day, three-part closure between Barnes and Virginia Water, Windsor & Eton Riverside and Hounslow, to allow Network Rail to switch on the newly installed signals.
Since 19 August, Network Rail’s team of engineers has worked around the clock to commission the 116 new signals – the railway’s traffic light system – and finish upgrading seven level crossings during this multistage closure. Following the completion of this work, passengers will benefit from more reliable journeys and fewer delays on the Windsor Lines, which are a key route for commuters in and out of London.
The previous signalling system and track circuits – which tell signallers where trains are on the network – were controlled by the Feltham Area Signalling Centre and dated back to 1974 so needed upgrading as they had become less reliable and harder to maintain.
Control of this part of the railway has now moved to the Basingstoke Rail Operating Centre, a purpose-built rail hub that is shared with South Western Railway (SWR).
Over the past four years, as part of the wider £116m Feltham and Wokingham re-signalling programme, Network Rail’s engineers have installed 116 digital signals, 11km of new cabling housed in 14km of refurbished cable ducts, 27 new under-track cable routes to support the new technology and upgraded seven level crossings.
The Feltham and Wokingham re-signalling programme will be concluded in early 2024 with the completion of upgrades to key signalling equipment controlled by the Feltham Area Signalling Centre and Wokingham Signal Box, which jointly cover 80 miles of railway and 500 separate pieces of signalling equipment. A total of 13 level crossings will also have been renewed or upgraded, all with the aim of improving train performance and ensuring passengers enjoy more reliable journeys.
“These new digital signals replace old equipment that had become unreliable and harder to maintain and will improve the reliability of this stretch of railway and in turn help reduce delays for our customers,” Mark Killick, Network Rail’s Wessex Route Director, said. “I’d like to thank customers and local residents for their patience while we’ve carried out this work.”
“This milestone in the Feltham to Wokingham resignalling programme is another step towards improving reliability and reducing delays for years to come,” Peter Williams, South Western Railway’s Customer and Commercial Director, said. “With the project entering the commission phase over the coming months, there will still be a need to close sections of the railway for further works, but the new signalling system will deliver a real boost to performance once complete.”