East West Rail’s first piece of electrification nears completion

East West Rail’s first piece of electrification nears completion

The East West Rail project was due to complete its first electrification project by May 6 – rewiring the four-track West Coast Main Line 150 yards either side of Bletchley flyover.

The work is required because the track and formation and base slabs of the flyover need to be lifted to permit the refurbishment of the 60-year-old structure to take place. The electrification of the WCML in the mid-1960s used fixed overhead wires on the flyover, but these have been replaced using a ‘contenary’ (a solid conductor wire), which combines the catenary and contact wires, and is used in confined spaces. 

The new OLE masts and contenary wire under Bletchley flyover. PHIL MARSH

Nine new OLE masts and supports have been installed since Christmas, requiring a total of 350metres of OLE to be re-aligned on each side of the flyover. This has created a gap above the OLE and the flyover base slabs, and will enable them and the flyover track to be removed from above using a lifting frame gantry on the flyover.

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Sam Hewitt