London & South East

‘The future for major rail project funding’: Evergreen3 Mainline project is on the right track

A £190m project that will slash time between London Marylebone and stations through to Birmingham by as much as 30 minutes is underway at an industrial estate on the outskirts of Banbury in Oxfordshire.

The infrastructure upgrade will be carried out by BAM Nuttall under contract to Chiltern Railways.

The Evergreen3 Mainline project comprises the upgrade of the main line between Banbury and London Marylebone, the upgrade of the existing line between Bicester and Oxford and the construction of an entirely new link between the Chiltern line and the Bicester to Oxford line.

Benefits of the project will include: extra trains to and from Oxford and a fast and frequent commuter service between Bicester and Oxford (providing a realistic alternative to the congested A34); direct rail services between Oxford and Wycombe for the first time in over 40 years and connections to Wembley Stadium; and direct rail service from London to the Bicester Village shopping master, thus helping to take traffic off the M40..

The projected is preceded by Project Evergreen1 and Evergreen2. ProjectEvergreen1 comprised 18 miles of track doubling between Bicester and Aynho, whilst Evergreen2 included various measures to improve line speed, extra signalling between London and Bicester and two extra platforms at London Marylebone.

Under the Evergreen3 project, a short connecting line will be constructed just south of Bicester, at the point where Chiltern Railways’ London-Birmingham line crosses over the proposed East-West line, which will run between Oxford and Milton Keynes. In turn, the East-West line will be upgraded from just east of Bicester Town station to Oxford, including the restoration of a great deal of the previously removed double track and the installation of new signalling and safety systems. In addition, the Bicester Town and Islip stations will be rebuilt and extra platforms will be provided at Oxford, whilst a new station will be constructed near Water Eaton to serve Kidlington and North Oxford.

In total, there will be over 50km of permanent line speed improvements involving realignment and recanting works, with 45km of line speed increases.

There are also three major junction remodelling areas at Neasden, Northolt and Aynho – including the extension of the existing embankment at Northolt and near Gerrards Cross station in Buckinghamshire.

The work carried out at the Neasden junction has proved particularly complex, due to the local up and down lines to Harrow-on-the-Hill and beyond which are located in close proximity to the London Underground’s Jubilee and Metropolitan lines, as well as the up and down Chiltern mainline itself.

The work was carried out at the end of August 2011 under a 17 day blockade, and whilst the object across all junctions on the scheme was to stretch them out to increase line speed, this was a particularly difficult proposition at Neasden because of its tight confines. Over the two months prior to the blockade, the existing track routes were excavated down to the new formation profile and then reinstated using temporarily placed ballast. The track itself was the placed on the original line, which allowed traffic to continue to use it. The final realignment work was carried out under the blockade.

During the first week of the blockade, the permanent way programme was completed and nine new switches and crossing units were installed. The team used a Kirow mobile track mounted crane with a 125t capacity to help lift in preassembled S&C units as well as 105 complete sections of track.

In the second week, works on the area from Wembley to Princes Risborough took place. Again, this involved a Kirow crane, which helped complete the remodelling work around Northolt, High Wycombe

The second week of the blockade focused on the area from Wembley to Princes Risborough. This again involved a Kirow crane which helped complete the remodelling work around Northolt, High Wycombe and Princes Risborough.

Throughout the blockade, there were 100 signal works testers on hand to ensure that everything had been installed and tested correctly, and wherever possible existing equipment recabling work was re-used.

The Northolt site is split into four quadrants – North East, North West, South East and South West. Work throughout the Northern sector has predominantly involved strengthening the existing embankment, whilst across the southern sector, nails have been installed through existing gabions and extra fill placed to widen the embankment.

BAM Nuttall is realigning the curve through the junction in order to achieve the line speed increases – typically 85mph from 60mph. This involves building up the cant or embankment around the curve so that Chiltern trains can power around it at increased speeds.

Project extranet keeps scheme on track

Business Collaborator (BC) from UNIT4 Collaboration Software is once again helping to deliver peak efficiency with significant time and cost saving benefits – this time on the Chiltern Evergreen 3 Mainline project. BC, which is a highly configurable project extranet and document management tool, is increasingly seen as the first choice collaboration solution for large construction schemes nationwide.

The collaboration service which is delivered as ‘Software as a Service’ (SaaS), allows all collaborating parties involved in the project to co-ordinate operations by quickly and easily accessing and sharing information vital to the success of the scheme. Users simply require an internet connection and a user name and password to access the secure system. Comprehensive access controls ensure that users can view only information which they have been granted access to, protecting sensitive data. Additionally, workflows and document transmittals that mirror existing and familiar processes can be configured within the system to support design review and contract administration practices.

BAM Nuttall, which is the main contractor responsible for the design and construction works on the Evergreen 3 project, has once again chosen BC as its preferred collaboration system. This complex project will see the creation of a new faster train line from London Marylebone station to Oxfordshire and the Midlands. BC will link all parties involved with the project including Chiltern Railways, BAM Nuttall, Network Rail and Atkins.

Andrew Bowles, Director of UNIT4 Collaboration Software explains: “Rather than project team members emailing documents and drawings to each other over email, all project information is uploaded to BC, providing a ‘single source of truth’ for the whole project. BC maintains a comprehensive audit trail of all activity which ensures there is a high degree of traceability and accountability – because everyone works to the latest information, which helps avoid costly reworking. The system is configured in such a way that everyone can quickly find the information they are looking for on any aspect of the project – saving a great deal of time and effort.

The company also offers a bespoke branded interface for the system used by each client, including displaying project-specific information such as the client company and main project party logos, which helps engender a sense of corporate ownership.

BC is also the collaboration platform chosen for use on projects such as Crossrail (by URS Scott Wilson) and the Olympics Aquatics Centre (by Balfour Beatty).

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