Werrington Dive Under
Werrington Dive Under (also known as the Werrington Grade Separation) is a replacement dual track grade separated railway junction 3 miles (5 km) north of Peterborough railway station in Cambridgeshire, England. The current junction leads to the Great Northern/Great Eastern Joint line (GN/GE) which goes through Spalding to Lincoln and beyond. The dive under was proposed to allow trains on the west side of the East Coast Main Line (ECML) to access the GN/GE line without conflicting with the faster passenger services on the ECML.
The current junction is located 3 miles (5 km) north of Peterborough railway station, on the three lines that are used by the fast ECML passenger services. Freight trains that are travelling north and south onto the GN/GE line to and from the Ely line, must cross over all tracks to gain access to their respective lines. This is recognised as a bottleneck junction and as such, faster passenger trains must slow down to allow the freights sufficient time to cross over the lines.
When the line closed between March and Spalding in 1982, freight traffic was diverted through Peterborough station instead of cutting across the western edge of the Fens to avoid the line through Peterborough station. Railtrack, Network Rail's predecessor, recognised that the ECML was congested and so upgraded the GN/GE line to accommodate the heavy container trains to and from the east coast ports. This left the junction at Werrington as a significant bottleneck.
In 2016, Network Rail submitted a Transport and Works Act Order (TWAO) to the Secretary of State for Transport to build either a flyover or a dive-under the fast lines north of Peterborough to allow freight trains to access all lines without impacting upon other faster services. In summer 2018, Chris Grayling approved the order after a public inquiry favoured the dive-under option over the flyover. Initially, costings were estimated to be in the region of £100 million; but the agreed cost on approval was £200 million.
The project will see the construction of 1.9 miles (3 km) of new line that will run underneath the fast lines, culverting works on Marholm Brook and the movement of the Stamford lines 82 feet (25 m) westwards over the culverted brook. The project, coupled with other ECML improvement schemes (such as the four tracking from Huntingdon to Woodwalton) will improve capacity on the line through Peterborough by 33% according to Network Rail. This equates to two extra train paths an hour by 2021, when the work is scheduled to be completed.
Residents in Spalding are worried that the works at Werrington will cause the level crossing barriers in the town to be down 24 minutes of every hour as they perceive that more freight trains will transit through the station in the town. The Campaign for Better Transport praised the works and stated
|“||This upgrade will open up the route from Peterborough to Doncaster via Lincoln for more freight services which will further reduce road congestion, road fatalities and pollution. Longer term we would like to see it electrified.||”|
- Hitchin Flyover - a flyover at Hitchin to alleviate traffic problems in accessing the Cambridge line north of Hitchin
- Nuneaton North Chord - a flyover on the West Coast Main Line at Nuneaton constructed for similar reasons
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