ECML power supply upgrade contract awarded

East Coast Main Line power Rail Electrification Alliance won a £216.2 million (EUR 237.18 million) contract to upgrade the East Coast Main Line power supply system.

The Rail Electrification Alliance, comprises of VolkerRail, J Murphy & Sons, Jacobs, Systra, Siemens Mobility and Network Rail.

“The Power Supply Upgrade of the East Coast Main Line is a significant piece of work. We have been working together as an Alliance for the past five years and the team delivering the project have gone from strength to strength, continuing not only physical works during COVID-19 but also delivering a contract proposal which will secure the project for the next four years and deliver the power upgrades needed for the full route from London to Edinburgh,” Rail Electrification Alliance Board said.

Under the contract, the team will continue the plans to upgrade the power capabilities of the East Coast Main Line (ECML) between Doncaster and Edinburgh, representing the second phase of line’s power supply upgrade. It involves the installation of feeder and substations along the route, capacity upgrades, new 132kv connection at Hambleton junction and upgrades to existing power supply connections.

The phase 2 will be delivering upgraded power to the East Coast Mainline railway between Bawtry and Edinburgh and will include the installation of 27 new traction substations, 1000 km of new cabling including feeder cables and telecoms cabling  and the construction of supporting foundations and structures for substations and to support overhead line equipment.

The power upgrade project has been five years in the making and is part of a combined project value of more than £600 million (EUR 658.2 million). This new contract will enable the programme to enter its second phase, in turn improving the route from London to Edinburgh.

The power supply capacity north of Doncaster has presented constraints to accommodating the future uplift in electric services, a direct result of the introduction of the new rolling stock and services. Whilst the power infrastructure at the southern section of the route was upgraded in the last few years, similar work is now needed at the northern section, which this project will provide.

The existing traction power capability of the ECML will also require enhancements and upgrades. Modelling of the power availability against future demand signifies shortfalls at multiple locations along the ECML from Bawtry to Edinburgh, in turn requiring significant enhancement interventions. To tackle this, GRIP 3 Option Selection assessed and identified the most suitable and cost-effective combination of intervention solutions across the ECML between Bawtry and Edinburgh, in order to meet the demands of future timetable changes.

The East Coast Main Line power supply upgrade project is part the wider £1.2 billion (EUR 1.3 billion) East Coast Upgrade programme.

Once complete, the upgrade will deliver improved reliability and punctuality for passengers and will ensure the route has the electrical power capacity to deal with future passenger volumes.

Whilst the power infrastructure at the southern section of the route was upgraded in the last few years, similar work is now needed at the northern section, which this project will provide.

The project will be funded by the Department for Transport (DfT) in conjunction with and in support of the Intercity Express Programme (IEP) and will help deliver future timetable changes.


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