Hitachi IETs cleared for East Coast operation

PREPARATIONS for the introduction of Intercity Express Trains (IETs) on the East Coast Main Line from December have passed two major milestones in recent weeks.

Network Rail engineers have completed gauge clearance work over more than 1,700 miles of ECML and diversionary routes, including 3,000 sets of switches and crossings and 800 bridges and structures from London King’s Cross to Inverness, Aberdeen, Leeds, Hull, Harrogate, Skipton and Glasgow, London to Peterborough via Ely and Newcastle to Glasgow via Carlisle.

More than 1,700 miles of regular ECML and diversionary routes have now been cleared for Intercity Express Train (IET) operation, which should start in December. A pre-series, nine-car IET crosses the Royal Border Bridge at Berwick-upon-Tweed during a test run from Doncaster to Edinburgh. NETWORK RAIL

In addition, NR had to make more than 40 separate modifications to accommodate the longer IET vehicles, ranging from simple relocation of lineside equipment, such as ground signals and speed restriction signs, to much more substantial modifications, including demolition and reconstruction of platforms and bridges.

NR has also removed 35 electrical boosters, which are incompatible with the new trains, from 12 locations along the ECML. The overlap booster transformers, which channel traction return current into the return conductor, were located between Finsbury Park and Berwick-upon-Tweed.

Those north of Newcastle alone resulted in 1.5 tonnes of copper being sold for recycling, giving a return of £3,000.

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