The Guildford blockade, as we have come to know it, reached a successful conclusion yesterday morning as all lines re-opened on schedule.
John Halsall, Network Rail Southern Director, was delighted to report yesterday morning
“the railway was handed back on time this morning after the biggest rail investment in almost four decades in the Guildford area. In partnership with SWR and GWR our teams have been working closely to keep stakeholders updated on the project.
Guildford junction was last upgraded almost 40 years ago since when passenger demand has rsien exponentially.
Work took place around the clock from Friday, 10 April until Monday, 20 April 2020 with teams delivering the following upgrades:
- Upgraded 41 track circuits around Guildford station
- Regraded the embankment and strengthened the rockface around St. Catherine’s Tunnel, the scene of two landslips in 2019
- Renewed 1,500 metres of track on the lines between Guildford and Wanborough, plus Guildford and Worplesdon
- Installed 1,200 metres of conductor rail between Guildford and Clandon
- Renewed rails and the supporting wheeltimbers on the bridge crossing the River Wey between Farncombe and Godalming
- Carried out tamping in the Witley area
- Painted the footbridge at Guildford station and installed anti-slip tiles
The embankment and rockface regrading work at St. Catherine’s tunnel, between Guildford and Shalford, also allowed engineers to remove a speed restriction, imposed following two landslips during extreme weather in late 2019 which will result in more reliable journeys for passengers.
The project was carefully planned over the course of two years to ensure that disruption was kept to a minimum and opportunities to improve the railway were taken wherever possible. A total of 20,000 hours were worked by teams during the project, demonstrating the sheer scale of the operation (18 engineering trains, two Kirow cranes, two tampers and two road rail vehicles were used in the switches and crosses renewal alone).
The completed work will provide a more reliable railway for trains between London and Guildford, Woking and Portsmouth, Reading and Redhill, and Guildford and Alton. There will be some follow-up weekends of work as follows:
- 25 & 26 April 2020
- 16 & 17 May 2020
- 05 July 2020
- 02 August 2020
We’d like to thank all the stakeholders for their patience during this major project, we can’t achieve what we do without your support”