Old Dalby Test Track

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Old Dalby Test Track
Midland Main Line
Nottingham-Lincoln Line
River Trent
Stanton Tunnel
Upper Broughton
Old Dalby control centre
Grimston Tunnel
Saxelby Tunnel
Mineral line to Waltham on the Wolds
Asfordby depot
Asfordby Tunnel
Birmingham to Peterborough Line to Leicester
Great Northern and London and North Western Joint Railway
Melton Mowbray
Birmingham to Peterborough Line to Oakham

The Old Dalby Test Track is a railway in the United Kingdom which is used for testing new designs of trains. It is between Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire and Edwalton on the course of the Midland Railway's route between Kettering and Nottingham, which closed to passengers in 1968. It is 13.5 miles (21.7 km) in length.


The track was set up by British Rail Research Division, which had used it from May 1966.[1] After closure as a through route, it was converted into a test track for the Advanced Passenger Train APT-E project, re-opening in September 1970.[1] The track saw extensive use in the heyday of the Research Division and was used for pantograph development and OHLE testing.

Following privatisation of Britain's railways, the track became the property of BRB (Residuary) Ltd, the body set up to own former BR assets that were not sold off. The track was leased for one peppercorn per annum to Serco and later to Alstom and Metronet (LUL). Following the abolition of the BRBR, ownership passed to Network Rail on 30 September 2013.[2]

Twenty-first century[edit]

In 2001 the track was leased to Alstom Transport, which electrified the former Down line at 25kV AC OHLE to test and commission the Class 390 "Pendolino" trains for Virgin Trains on the West Coast Main Line, and re-instated six miles of the former Up line from Old Dalby to the southern portal of Stanton Tunnel to test and commission the proposed ERTMS system for NR.

When Alstom withdrew from the United Kingdom train-building market, the track was threatened with closure before being leased to Metronet in 2007 to test and commission London Underground S Stock trains being manufactured by Bombardier in Derby. To facilitate this, the former Up line was equipped with approximately 4 km (2.5 mi) of London Underground-style conductor rails from Old Dalby to a point near to Folley Hall Bridge. Testing of 'S' stock began at the end of March 2009. The former Down line retains its 25kV OHLE.

Serco was awarded the contract to manage the track on behalf of Metronet, giving it the opportunity to attract other users.

In April 2010, the track was used by Class 172 diesel multiple units, also manufactured by Bombardier in Derby.

Network Rail uses the track on an ongoing basis for calibration and testing of measurement and gauging trains.

Plans included testing the CITYFLO 650 automatic train control system for London Underground, and new mainline infrastructure such as the Series One OHLE system by Network Rail.[3]

During mid January 2014, Network Rail applied for changes to the original planning controls to increase train passes on the line substantially during weekdays and Saturdays citing noise testing of the new Hitachi 25kV OLE stock based on the Javelin stock on HS1 for the future electrification of the Great Western Mainline, this undoubtedly secures the future of the lines testing capabilities even further


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°48′32″N 0°59′36″W / 52.80889°N 0.99333°W / 52.80889; -0.99333