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SIGNALLING & COMMUNICATIONS


‘Open heart surgery’ on the network


In the Network Rail announcement of the new plans, Langman compared the complexity of doing all this work on a live network to ‘open heart surgery’.


He told us: “I wish I’d gone a bit further with that analogy, actually! You could treat that corridor between Cardiff Central and Queen Street as an artery, the trains being the blood. We need to keep them moving.


“We’re going to work to keep passenger disruption to an absolute minimum, so a lot of the work we’re going to do is overnight, or during the Christmas Day / Boxing Day close- down. Where we must work during the day, particularly at weekends, we will always try to keep two lines out of four open, or provide an alternative diversionary route where we can. Our objective is as little disruption to passengers as possible.”


The contractors working on various parts of the project are Atkins, Siemens, Balfour Beatty, Birse and Bam Nuttall.


Station improvements


Cardiff Central and Cardiff Queen Street account for 67% of all passenger demand on the South Wales Valleys network, and cater for almost 12.5m passengers a year, so both are getting a facelift under this project, while a new station is being built at Energlyn between Aber and Llanbradach.


We suggested to Langman that such upgrades have the added benefi t of making the project more visible to passengers, and he said: “That’s the beauty of this scheme. Often, with resignalling schemes, to be honest it’s completely invisible to passengers. They won’t really see the signals, or the cables.


“But with this, they’re going to see new platforms, a new station building entrance at Cardiff Queen Street, (see below), a new station building entrance on the south side of Cardiff Central: it’s really quite visible.”


Investing in Wales


South Wales got a major boost in the HLOS, with GWML electrifi cation ‘re-extended’ to Swansea, following an earlier Coalition downgrade of that scheme, and Valley Lines electrifi cation also getting the green light. Langman called the announcements “exciting” and “a strong vote of confi dence in the railway”.


He told us: “I’m pretty sure that if you add this to electrifi cation, this will be the biggest ever spend on the Welsh railway since it was built. That’s impressive stuff.”


Cont overleaf >


rail technology magazine Aug/Sep 12 | 117


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