Network Rail has started the public consultation on proposals to renew the signalling system and upgrade of seven level crossings across the Cambridge rail area.
The British railway infrastructure manager has awarded the outline design contract for the upgrade to Alstom. This stage is expected to be completed in the last quarter of 2021.
The signalling systems around Cambridge were installed in the 1980s and are reaching the end of their expected operational life.
Network Rail is proposing to replace 690 signalling assets across an area of 125 miles (200 km) of track, stretching from Meldreth and Elsenham to the south, through Cambridge, up to Ely to the north and Thurston to the east, as well as Croxton level crossing in Norfolk on the cross-country line to Norwich.
The new signalling will help to put passengers first by improving reliability, performance, and efficiency of the railway, improving safety for all rail users on the Cambridge rail area and improving safety at seven level crossings for all crossing and rail users
Network Rail is seeking feedback to help develop the proposals before proceeding with seeking authorisation through a Transport and Works Act order. The public can provide their comments for the next six weeks.
The Cambridge resignalling, re-lock and re-control project, aims to deliver state of the art signalling technology, ensuring better reliability and reduced maintenance, while providing a platform ready for digital technologies such as European Train Control System (ETCS).
Under the project, Network Rail will upgrade of the signalling control equipment at Cambridge power signal box, the signalling safety interlocking equipment with a computer-based system, the level crossings will be full barrier. The project also involves the closure of three signal boxes and relocating control of the signalling to Cambridge power signal box and a temporary and permanent land acquisition to complete the works.
Subject to obtaining the necessary consents and design approvals, the detailed design and delivery of the signalling upgrade could begin by end of 2021 and be complete around the end of 2024.