Network Rail awarded Siemens Mobility a signalling and control contract for the Northumberland Line which will be reintroduced in passenger services from 2024.
The Chippenham factory will manufacture the innovative technology which will allow time and money savings. The proven ‘modular plus’ technology which will be used has already transformed the everyday journeys for people in North Wales and will be transported directly to site saving time and cost of design, manufacture, assembly, test and installation.
The Northumberland Line’s signalling system will be manufactured and tested by Siemens Mobility in Chippenham, Wiltshire, home to the UK’s only remaining dedicated signalling and control facility. It supports around 900 local manufacturing, research, engineering and support staff and, as well as serving the domestic market, exports around 25% of all equipment produced. The project will be managed and delivered from the company’s 200-strong York office.
Responsible for the design and delivery of all telecoms, lineside infrastructure and power upgrades, Siemens Mobility teams will also install or upgrade 8 level crossings, a mixture of CCTV and Obstacle Detection technologies, as well as new workstations at Tyneside IECC as part of the project.
By using digital, network-based technology, together with simple bases and lightweight structures, the embodied carbon in the scheme, and so the cost, will be significantly lower than conventional schemes, helping support the industry’s decarbonisation targets.
Six new stations are expected to be constructed to stimulate economic growth along the route, subject to planning permission. Towns such as Blythe and Ashington will again be connected with Newcastle by rail, opening up new opportunities for sport, education, leisure and travel.
The Northumberland Line is currently operated only by freight trains and within two years, the line will provide passenger transport services between Newcastle and Ashington.
The project is part of the governmental Restoring your Railway programme under which a GBP 500 million investment is available to reopen the lines that were closed more than 50 years ago during the infamous Beeching cuts of the 1960s, when thousands of miles of both track and stations were closed. Recently, the Dartmoor Line was reopened after five decades of closure.