Kettering to Corby upgrade project

We are upgrading track and signalling between Kettering and Corby

We are investing over £100m in upgrading the railway between Kettering and Corby in Northamptonshire as part of the Railway Upgrade Plan, in a move that will bring significant benefits for passengers.

Track and signalling is being replaced and a second line installed to create additional capacity. The work will improve the performance of the existing line.

The new track has been laid and work to complete strengthening of structures along the route is continuing through 2017, ahead of the new line being commissioned in February 2018. Additional services between Kettering and Corby will follow later in 2018.

Between now and 2023 the Midland Mainline will be electrified, have track and signals modernised, station platforms lengthened and see new trains with more carriages introduced as part of the project, which re-energises one of Britain's oldest railway lines.

The work required to enable this transformation involves remodelling bridges, tunnels and stations as well as installing overhead electrical lines, in the biggest programme of improvements to the Midland Mainline since it was completed in 1870.

Devegetation and piling

This work moves into a key phase with devegetation and piling taking place over the next few months. Devegetation – the stripping back of bushes and trees from the sides of the railway – has been progressing since the spring of 2017, and piling will restart in July in the Kettering area and move towards Corby.

Much of the work needs to be done at night, when the trains are not running, and piling in particular is noisy. Once complete it will deliver additional capacity that enables more frequent passenger services to/from London St Pancras as well as a speed improvement.

Large trees, as well as small bushes and weeds, must be removed to a distance of 6.5 metres (or the railway boundary) because they can interfere with the safe operation of the network and potentially fall onto the railway during periods of adverse weather. Piling involves driving cylindrical steel piles deep into the ground for the gantries that will support the overhead wires which carry power to electric trains.

Vegetation management explained

Electrifying the railway – what's involved in piling


Bridge strengthening works

As part of this upgrade we are undertaking essential strengthening works to key bridges and viaducts along the route, including Northampton Road Bridge in Kettering.

Northampton Road is closed to road traffic for six weeks, from Monday 24 July to Monday 4 September, to allow this work to be carried out.

During the road closure the bridge will be substantially strengthened so that it can cater for increased volumes of trains passing over it in the future.

The substantial strengthening work of the Northampton Road Bridge includes:

  • extensive brickwork repair and the installation of tie-bars and plates through the bridge
  • a reinforced concrete wall at the base  of the bridge
  • track over the structure being removed to enable pre-cast concrete reinforcements to be installed
  • replacement of the face of the brick arch where it has been damaged by vehicle strikes
  • removal of vegetation growing out of the bridge.

The removing and the replacement of the track will take place overnight, with no disruption to train services.

To allow the work to be carried out as efficiently and safely as possible the A6013 Northampton Road will be closed to road users from Northfield Avenue mini roundabouts to Lake Avenue. A clearly signposted diversion will be in place. Pedestrian access under the bridge will be maintained at all times during the works.

The road closure has been programmed for the school holidays to allow us to carry out this important part of our Railway Upgrade Plan at a time when it will cause less disruption than it would otherwise. The diversion has been agreed with Northamptonshire County Council Highways Department, which has chosen this route as it offers an appropriate route for heavy goods vehicles.

We would like to thank people in Kettering for their patience while we carry out this essential work.