While the railway is closed over bank holidays for major work to take place, it’s an excellent time for engineers to get lots of other jobs done which could otherwise prove difficult.
In the case of the London North Western route, which runs north from London’s Euston station, the line was shut as engineers rerouted a major power supply as part of the early preparations for HS2.
Network Rail took advantage of this to renew track at Watford and between Hemel Hempstead and Berkhamsted, improve drainage at Primrose Hill in north London, and carry out extensive track tamping at Bletchley.
The tamping process consolidates the ballast and corrects any minor faults in track level, cant and alignment. It is often carried out on newly-laid track after it has bedded in for a few days but can also be used to correct faults that have built up over time.
At Bletchley, the line has four tracks so, to save time, the obvious solution was to use four tamping machines. Supplied by Colas Rail, they took advantage of the good weather to complete the job on time, ready for the scheduled hand back.
Network Rail’s director of asset management for the London North Western route, James Dean, commented: “I would like to thank passengers for their understanding over this August bank holiday whilst work took place at Euston station and elsewhere across the network. The upgrade, maintenance and renewal work forms part of our ongoing Railway Upgrade Plan which is providing customers with a better railway.
“There is never a good time to carry out work that affects services but we worked closely with the train operators for it to cause the least amount of disruption. I would like to thank passengers for their understanding while we completed these vital upgrades.”