BROMSGROVE Railway Station will re-open for commuters at 5.15am on Monday (November 7) after completion of the 12-day line shutdown.
The Standard headed down to the station earlier today (Wednesday) to see how the progress was going, finding out at that time the work was hours ahead of schedule.
Now the new £24million station has been completed the next phases, which are underway, have involved a complete signalling upgrade and laying of new track – not only a new layout, but also readying it for electrification.
Over the last week and a half, the old track has been pulled up, the area has been cleared of thousands of tonnes of old ballast, thousands of tonnes of new ballast has been put in and the new track has been reconfigured and laid ready for electrification.
After that, ‘tamper’ machines were used to ensure the new points and crossings were in the correct millimetre-perfect line and level position to do their job.
The old track was replaced as it was approaching renewal and was not in the right layout to accommodate turning-back electric trains.
Work has also started on putting in the bases for the steel stanchion girders which will hold the electrification equipment. The electrification work will now continue to take place overnight every Saturday night for the next year.
Once the electrification process has been completed – expected to be by next autumn – lines to platforms two and three will be electrified along with, possibly, the line to platform one.
The way the station works is heading north there are two lines which then become four as they enter the station to enable all the different trains going through Bromsgrove – whether scheduled stops or not – to get to where they need to.
As the lines head out southbound, the four become three and then four lines again. The new track layout will enable trains to overtake and turn around ‘without conflict’.
The line going through platform one will mainly be for freight trains, and through platform two for non-stop and stopping passenger trains.
The track going through platform three will be the main one for the electric trains to Birmingham and, as part of this track work has been made a ‘turnback’ platform so services can be turned around quickly and head back to the Second City. Three of the four trains per hour – when they run regularly from May 2018 – will start in Bromsgrove which means residents will be first on the trains and have access to all the seats on them.
The line which runs through platform four will be the fast line for non-stop and stopping passenger trains. It might seem strange to have this line around the back of the station, but it will work by separating the ‘turnback’ trains inside the station layout, eliminating the need to stop all lines to cross a train over every 20 minutes, as currently happens at Longbridge but won’t do in future.
As well as the track work, due to be completed by this evening, there have been up to 40 teams working simultaneously on the whole line’s new signalling system – from Five Ways to Ashchurch.
On Friday (November 4) Network Rail will hand over to the signalling teams to finalise their installation, testing and commissioning work and use the weekend to test the new signalling system before it opens on Monday morning.