In the early hours of Sunday morning (10 February), Copeland MP Trudy Harrison saw new track being installed as part of a £3m Great North Rail Project investment.
Work has been taking place since early January to replace just under three miles of worn out sleepers, railway stone (ballast) and rail between Bootle and Silecroft. This is to create smoother, faster and more reliable journeys for passengers and freight services on the Cumbrian coast line.
Trudy Harrison, MP for Copeland, said: “This has been a fascinating insight into the world of rail repairs and renewal and I’m grateful to all those who welcomed me and explained in detail the process.
“I would like to thank everyone for their understanding – this has been a noisy and inconvenient, but absolutely essential upgrade to ensure safety and reliability of the service. Working through the night has been necessary to carry out such extensive upgrades to ensure the current 20mph speed limit is restored to a line speed of 60mph.”
Adrian Brookes, planning manager for Network Rail, said: “Overnight may seem like a strange time of day to upgrade the track, but this is normal for railway workers as it minimises disruption to important daytime passenger and freight services.
“It was great to show Trudy Harrison MP our completed work that will help deliver smoother, faster and more reliable journeys. As part of the Great North Rail Project we will continue to work with Northern as we plan for and deliver the remaining stretch between Bootle and Whitehaven this autumn.”
Chris Jackson, regional director for Northern, said: “The Great North Rail Project is delivering fantastic improvements across the region and the work in Cumbria is a great example of how the industry is working together to help customers.
“The improved track, together with our new and refurbished trains, will ensure Northern customers in Cumbria get better journeys than ever before.”
This £3m Great North Rail Project investment has helped remove a temporary speed restriction imposed on the coast line due to the poor condition of track.
The modern track now means Northern’s trains can run faster and more smoothly, improving the passenger experience for commuters and visitors to the area. The modern infrastructure also means less maintenance and less disruption to passengers in future.
With weekend work now complete and only two weeks of Monday to Friday overnight working remaining for the Bootle and Silecroft upgrade, Network Rail is planning and preparing for the final stretch of track upgrades between Bootle and Whitehaven in the autumn.