Over the Christmas period, the South Rail Systems Alliance (SRSA) Tonbridge depot undertook a 10-day blockade to upgrade the rail infrastructure at Lewisham, London.

This project was one of the largest undertaken by the SRSA in 2022, with the team tasked with installing over 1000m of new track with 81 panels.

The existing layout was redesigned with an average of 200mm lifts in order to make the four lines at Lewisham coplanar, creating a smoother ride for the passengers, better reliability and ease of maintenance whilst also closing out a significant number of existing faults. Signalling and E&P equipment were also upgraded during the installation. Assets were relocated to improve safety, reliability and maintainability.

With industrial action disrupting initial plans, the team had to work reactively two weeks prior to commencement in order to collaboratively replan a major blockade.

The project began with new geotextile and ballast installed after removing an existing life expired asset. The freshly laid ballast was compacted and with the aid of our Kirow 1200 and dedicated support team, the new switches and crossing (S&C) panels were installed. Due to the complexity of the junction some of the biggest through bearers spread across 10.3m wide, a first of its kind in the UK.

The site team used the latest Trimble GEDO IMS system to verify the new track position prior to drafting in our 09 Tampers, leaving the highest quality output.

In order to achieve compliant gauging, platform works across the four platforms at Lewisham were also delivered as part of the scheme. 500m of adjustments were completed with sections completely re-built, making a safer experience for the passenger. 

Speaking on the success of the project, Network Rail’s Kent Route Director, Adrian Hanstock said “Having visited between Christmas and New Year, I had an opportunity to see the scale of what was involved and was hugely impressed with how such a complex programme of activity was being managed safely and effectively.  It was clear that colleagues were focused on ensuring everyone gets home safely, demonstrating that we care for colleagues and the business.

“The fact that the works were completed on time and the network handed back fully tested and operational is a great credit to everyone who played a part.

“Sincere and heartfelt thanks to the team for your involvement in the planning and delivery of the major renewals works that took place at Lewisham over Christmas.”

The works were completed safely with no accidents or incidents. Handed back on time and at linespeed causing no delays to the passengers. The SRSA is comprised of Colas Rail, Network Rail and AECOM, an alliance created to deliver a portfolio of works across the southern region of the UK over a 10-year period.

Lewisham – The Numbers

Permanent Way and Civil Engineering

  • 4500T of spoil and wet beds removed
  • 5500T new ballast installed
  • 81 track panels
  • 700 lateral resistance end plates to support stability
  • 8 point ends & 40 cast crossings
  • Over 200 welds
  • 500m of platform adjustments spread across four platforms
  • Fully stressed with 14 pull points
  • Over a 1000m new track
  • 160m of king post retention


  • 15 AC track circuits
  • 4 FS2600 track circuits
  • 1 EBI200 track circuit
  • 6 IBCL’s mk2
  • 2 HW2121
  • 3 TSS Train Protection Warning Systems
  • 2 Vortok Automatic Warning Systems
  • 7 Signals
  • 2 ASDO’s
  • 4000m of cable

Electrical and Power

  • Points Heating upgrade
  • 1500m of new cables
  • 1 x New PHCC
  • 8 x 10kVa Transformers
  • 26 x TCBs
  • 8 Switches with new 200w per m point heating

Electric Track Equipment & Maintenance

  • 10 New Track Disconnectors (TD) with a staging platform installed to support six TDs
  • 1098m of new 150lb Conductor rail installed
  • 4000m of cabling
  • 2 Track feeder cables doubled from Lewisham Substation
  • 1 new 12m Staging platform to house 6 of the TDs,
  • 2 cast in-situ bases to house the remaining 4 TDs
  • 400m of Glass Reinforced Plastic Troughing