Network Rail has released details about the work and planning involved in repairing a railway junction on the Chiltern mainline.
Last week, a defect was found in the 44 metre long points at Aynho Junction near to Banbury. The severity of the defect meant that a temporary 20mph speed limit was put into place.
It was decided that a repair had to be made within 7 days or the line could have been closed for safety reasons.
A plan of action was put into place and the repairs were carried out in less than 12 hours over the weekend.
Freightliner moved two Kirow cranes onto the site. Operated by Volker Rail the cranes moved the 6.5-tonne section of track into place.
Once the work was completed, trains could run again at 90mph over the junction.
Martin Colmey, operations director for Network Rail’s Central route, said: “This was a massive challenge which was fixed thanks to industry-wide meticulous planning and Formula One pit stop-style delivery. Not reacting and delivering in this way would have caused huge disruption to many vital passenger and freight services. The result is that trains are once again able to travel safely and speedily through this vital railway artery.”
Sarah Kelley, CrossCountry’s regional director for West & Wales, said: “Aynho is an immensely important junction used by our services connecting the Thames Valley and South Coast to the Midlands and the North. The speed Network Rail was able to complete this substantial project shows the efforts being made to keep services running for customers during this pandemic.”
Michael Leadbetter, planning & resourcing director at Freightliner, said: “Freightliner operates 11 daily services from the Port of Southampton to both our own and third party terminals, the majority of which use the route through Aynho Junction to access terminals in the North of England and Scotland. It is also a key corridor for aggregates traffic for HS2. Given the critical nature of this junction, we welcome the speed at which Network Rail worked in order to repair the infrastructure and bring it back to use. The Freightliner team was also pleased to assist, at very short notice, in moving two cranes to site to enable the works to take place.”
Mark Goodall, operations director at Chiltern Railways, said: “While we understand that engineering works can be an inconvenience, we work closely with Network Rail to ensure as few customers as possible are disrupted. Quick work by Network Rail at Aynho Junction has meant that this has been kept to a minimum. This essential work ensures that we can continue to run a safe and reliable railway for those that need to travel at the moment.”
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