Transport and Works Act Order applications supporting the Midland Main Line Upgrade.

To support the largest upgrade of the Midland Main Line since it was completed in 1870, we have submitted an application for an order under the Transport and Works Act 1992 in order to confer powers and deemed planning permission, which will enable work to be carried out in specific locations including Bromham Road Bridge and Souldrop Level Crossing in Bedford.

To meet rising demand, the Midland Main Line Upgrade incorporates track realignment, station remodelling, platform lengthening, capacity works, bridge reconstructions, signalling works and electrification of the line from Bedford to Kettering and Corby to power modern trains.

This will enable an increase in the number of seats an hour into London during peak times and see greener, quieter trains operating on the line.

Key benefits

In the specific case of Bromham Road Bridge, electrified wires cannot currently pass safely beneath the structure. Our proposals are therefore to reconstruct the bridge at an increased (by approximately 30cm) height and in order to carry out the work we require a mixture of temporary and permanent access (to land and air rights).

Souldrop Level Crossing spans two high speed lines as well as one lower speed line and traverses steep terrain. Since the Midland Main Line Upgrade will see a further railway track constructed between Kettering and Corby, and the line electrified, this will create further potential risk at this location – we plan to close the crossing, extinguish the existing footpath and divert pedestrians over nearby Back Lane.

In both locations Network Rail continues to engage with relevant landowners to secure the land and air requirements for the proposed schemes by consent. However, as this has not yet been secured through negotiation, we are submitting an application for an order under the Transport and Works Act 1992.

During the works, the section of Bromham Road over the bridge will be closed to vehicle traffic and a diversion will operate. Pedestrian access will be maintained via temporary footbridge throughout the work.

Permanent land acquisition is required to help meet modern safety standards – including the construction of vehicle incursion barriers. Temporary land access is required to accommodate the temporary pedestrian bridge and store materials/equipment to reduce construction vehicle traffic. Air rights are also required for the intermittent use of a crane in handling heavy materials.

Construction – The existing brick arch structure will be demolished to approximately half way down the bridge piers. The new bridge will consist of pre cast reinforced concrete beams that form the deck and parapets. The new bridge deck will sit on pre cast reinforced concrete units that are mounted on the existing brick piers.

The reconstruction of the bridge itself will take approximately 6 months during which the section of Bromham Road over the bridge will be closed to vehicle traffic and an accompanying diversion will operate. Pedestrian access will be maintained via temporary footbridge which will be constructed and remain in place until completion of the work. Services within the current bridge will also need to be diverted, which will take approximately 7 months, and have an impact on traffic management.

The Proposed Scheme would stop up a section of the existing footpath to facilitate the closure of the crossing. There would be minimal construction work involved in delivering the proposed scheme. Dependent upon the outcome of this consultation some minor drainage, vegetation removal and ground works may be required along the route of the eventual footpath diversion.

Third party land acquisition will be required for the reconstruction of three railway overbridges, to enable safe clearance for overhead line equipment required for electrification of the Midland Main Line.  These overbridges are Odell viaduct, Irthlingborough Road Bridge and Isham Station Road Bridge. Additional land will be required to build up the bridge embankments and approach roads to align with the (higher) reconstructed bridge deck, to provide temporary compounds for construction activities, and to accommodate the use of cranes, which would be over sailing third party land.

In order to enable electrification of the railway at the location of three railway viaducts (Harper’s Brook Viaduct, Irchester Viaduct and Sharnbrook Viaduct), it will be necessary to install overhead line equipment (OLE) on the exterior of these structures.

OLE equipment generally includes overhead conductors with a copper contact wire suspended from steel masts, which are mounted upon concrete foundations along the track.  However, at these particular viaducts, the masts will need to be attached to the exterior of the structures, and therefore fall within the airspace of adjoining landowners. The proposed scheme involves a maximum of 3 metres of additional airspace from the outside edge of the viaducts.

Negotiations with affected landowners are ongoing, and will continue throughout the TWAO process, as Network Rail is seeking to reach agreement before using compulsory purchase powers.


A Construction Environmental Management Plan will be developed and will identify appropriate management practices for all key environmental aspects including:

  • Traffic management
  • Noise management
  • Air quality: dust management, materials handling, soil storage plan – including agricultural soils management
  • Ecology: invasive species management and protected species and habitat management

The railway is a sustainable form of transport. We work hard to reduce our impact on the environment and put rail at the heart of a low carbon economy.

Public consultation

The public consultation supporting the Transport & Works Act Order application concluded on 31 May 2018, and you can still view the consultation materials for Bromham Road Bridge and Souldrop Level Crossing via our consultation portal links below:

A summary of the feedback submitted during consultation is included in the Consultation Report which forms part of the Transport and Works Act Order application documents.

Have your say

Following our public consultation, Network Rail have submitted a TWAO application to the Secretary of State for Transport on 22 June 2018.

Copies of the application and supporting documents are available to view and download by following the links below.

View TWAO application and inquiry documents


If you have any questions you can email us or call our 24-hour National Helpline on 03457 11 41 41.