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Press releases

30 April 2021

Stage set for May bank holiday heavy lifting over West Coast main line

Aerial photos show major preparations for the building of a new railway flyover at Bletchley spanning the West Coast main line this early May bank holiday.

The pictures taken from the Network Rail helicopter show shell abutments in place on either side of the flyover with more than 100 precast concrete girders ready to be installed ahead of the full railway closure between Milton Keynes and Euston over 1-3 May.

The shell abutments were designed and manufactured at Laing O’Rourke’s Centre of Excellence for Modern Construction before being delivered for on-site assembly by our team.

Cranes will lift the girders over all four lines at Bletchley as part of the East West Rail project.

The complex network of 25,000-volt overhead electric cables which power trains must also be dismantled and reinstalled underneath the new structure once all the girders are lifted into place.

Laing O’Rourke is a partner alongside Network Rail, VolkerRail and Atkins in the East West Rail Alliance (EWRA). Together the alliance is responsible for delivering Connection Stage One of the project.

East West Rail will create a new direct connection between Oxford and Cambridge. Serving communities across the area, it will bring faster journey times and lower transport costs as well as easing pressure on local roads. 

East West Rail is being delivered in three Connection Stages 

  • Connection Stage One: Oxford to Bletchley and Milton Keynes
  • Connection Stage Two: Oxford to Bedford
  • Connection Stage Three: Oxford to Cambridge

Tim Shoveller, managing director for Network Rail’s North West & Central region, said: “The first sections of the old 1960s-built concrete flyover were removed in May 2020, and it’ll be a great engineering achievement to see the gap bridged again this bank holiday with a modern replacement so East West Rail can transform journeys and improve connectivity across the heart of the country.”

Photos courtesy of Network Rail Air Operations.

Precast concrete girders in place for Bletchley flyover rebuild.

Overhead shot showing steel beams in position ahead of lifting.

Wide shot showing flyover approach and new steel in position at Bletchley.

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