The South Rail Systems Alliance (SRSA) Bristol division have recently delivered the Southampton Freight Train Lengthening (SFTL) project consisting of three phases of core delivery, with the third and final phase being completed over a 20-day blockade completed in late February.

Phase three involved remodelling and commissioning two junctions at Western Docks and Maritime Freightliner.

The scope of works included:

  • 22 new signals, with five existing signals modified and 12 existing signals removed
  • Four interlockings affected (one fringe, one minorly changed and two significantly changed)
  • 29 track circuits upgraded, two removed and six altered for staged implementation
  • Two new signal gantries (commissioned) and one gantry removed
  • Two new Relocatable Equipment Buildings installed
  • SPT migrations and telecoms concentrator relabelling
  • 130 domino tiles to replace on Signallers Panel at Eastleigh ASC (186 panels in total across all phases)
  • Roughly 50 new Locations cases fully installed
  • 17 S&C units fitted
  • 821 yards of track renewals
  • 150m track drainage
  • 400m embankment drainage
  • Signalling 650V power alterations and recoveries

Working in Any Line Open (ALO) conditions, the team delivered the works while keeping freight and passenger trains operating in the area. This brought a logistical challenge of completing construction while meeting the needs of the freight and train operating companies to keep the UK moving.

An innovative solution was required, and this came in the form of utilising two Kirow cranes to work in parallel to install all the required volumes of track on the Redridge Goods Line during the all-lines closures and prior to handing back some lines for operational use.

The team also used a variety of standard rail machines and civils machines for scrapping out and excavation activities to maximise production rates, again to work to completing the Redbridge Goods track installation prior to the Mainlines being opened to traffic.

In a video produced by Network Rail, Senior Project Manager, Adam Kotulecki spoke in-depth about the works on site and the benefits that these works will bring.

Speaking about the success of the project, Mark Killick, Network Rail’s Wessex Route Director, said:

“We are very pleased to finally complete this ambitious project and unlock more capacity for freight on our route. This was a complex project which required us to install longer sidings, new track for heavier and faster moving trains, improved signalling and enhanced drainage, which will make the operation of the area more efficient.”

The SRSA is comprised of Colas Rail, Network Rail and AECOM.