Network Rail and Siemens Commission Sudforth Lane Resignalling Project

Posted by Barry Pearson on June 30, 2014  |   Comments Off on Network Rail and Siemens Commission Sudforth Lane Resignalling Project

Following three weekend blockades, including the May bank holiday weekend, principal contractor Siemens Rail Automation successfully commissioned its work on the Sudforth Lane resignalling project for Network Rail, with the railway being signed back into operational use at 01:52 on Tuesday 27 May.

At the outset of the project, Network Rail completed GRIP stages 1 to 4, with the organisation’s Signalling Design Group developing the scheme to provide a defined, stable scope for Siemens to deliver stages 5 to 8. Network Rail’s Infrastructure Projects Signalling and Works Delivery teams also worked extremely closely to install a 20 kilometre buried cable route – the area had historically suffered from high rates of theft and vandalism, which significantly impacted on the performance of the railway.

In July 2013, as a direct result of the Hatfield landslip, the project had to be de-mobilised, as the routes in and around Sudforth were critical to the continuity of supply of coal to Drax and High Eggborough power stations while repairs to Hatfield were undertaken. The project was re-mobilised in March 2014 and, despite some late changes to possession arrangements and data design, it was successfully completed on time, delivering significant operational expenditure savings through the rationalisation of signalling control and the upgrade of trackside equipment and level crossings.

These operational savings underpinned the strong business case to renew the life expired signalling on this section of railway, which is predominately used by freight serving critical power generators for the north of the country. As a result of the works, both Sudforth Lane and Hensall signal boxes have been decommissioned and three manned-gate level crossings have been converted to manually controlled barrier (MCB) CCTV crossings.

Ben Lynch, Network Rail Programme Manager, said: “Sudforth Lane was a challenging project and a number of key business drivers had to be met to in order for it to be so successfully and efficiently delivered. Despite a number of unforeseen challenges en route, most notably the Hatfield landslip, which resulted in critical access to the railway being removed, the behaviours of the project team were always to safely deliver the works in the most efficient way.

“Right across the Network Rail business, from operations and maintenance to the excellent project management team,  staff played their part in delivering this scheme and once again, it confirmed the ability of Network Rail and Siemens to work effectively and collaboratively to achieve a successful commissioning.”

The scope of Siemens’ works included the replacement of both Sudforth Lane and Hensall interlockings with a new Siemens Trackguard WESTLOCK computer-based interlocking (which is now controlled from Ferrybridge power signal box); the replacement of track circuits; the installation of new lightweight LED signals; the conversion of all points to plug-coupled machines and the renewal of level crossing equipment at six locations – Sudforth Lane, Whitley Bridge, High Eggborough, Hensall, Heck Lane and England Lane.

Commenting on the programme, Siemens’ Delivery Director, Rob Cairns said: “Re-mobilisation brought a number of challenges for the Siemens and Network Rail delivery teams. However, the collaborative approach to delivery proved critical to the project’s ultimate success, the combined team demonstrating outstanding commitment and an exemplary approach to accommodating and responding to late changes.

“This was a technically and logistically complex project, with the track circuit replacement work being particularly challenging during the commissioning blockade due to the large quantity of circuits involved and the specific access arrangements. Delivering this element of the programme was critical to the successful outcome of the whole project and the team deserves credit for the meticulous planning and preparation that made such a positive outcome achievable.”