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Railhub Archive
1997-04-24 RTK-001
Railtrack plc


Railtrack to upgrade Tay Bridge

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Railtrack plc

Railtrack to upgrade Tay Bridge

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24 April 1997
source Railtrack plc
type Press release

Railtrack is planning to upgrade the Tay Bridge so that journey-times can be reduced and heavier freight trains accommodated on the 110-year-old structure.

At present the line-speed over Britain's longest railway bridge is only 35 mph, a significant constraint on scope for reducing the Edinburgh-Aberdeen journey time. In addition, freight trains heavier than 22.5 tonnes axle-weight cannot be accommodated. Railtrack is therefore seeking ways to raise the line-speed, possibly to 70 mph, and hopes to raise the weight limit for freight to 25 tonnes axle-weight.

For many years the Tay Bridge has been signalled so that only one train at a time can enter the high girders section, and therefore much of the Tay Bridge already functions as a single line. Railtrack's proposal is to formalise this arrangement by laying a single track in the middle of the bridge deck. Because this would permit faster transit times across the Tay Bridge, there would be no reduction in the number of trains carried (normally about two dozen passenger trains each way daily and also a couple of freight trains). Work to convert the Tay Bridge to single track is expected to start in 1998.

In addition to these proposals, Railtrack has already dramatically increased its expenditure on the Tay Bridge. Prior to privatisation, an average of £0.7M was spent annually on maintenance of the Tay Bridge. For example in the programme that British Rail handed over to Railtrack for 1994/5, only three spans and three piers were painted. In contrast, in 1997/8 Railtrack will spend £1.8M on essential maintenance including trackwork and the painting of a dozen piers and the two Esplanade spans, thus improving the appearance of this famous landmark as seen from Dundee's Riverside Drive.

Commenting on the proposals, Railtrack's Director Scotland, Paul Prescott, said: "The Tay Bridge is an essential part of a key Scottish rail route and Railtrack is fully committed to ensuring its future. Railtrack has promised to deliver the world's best railway by the year 2007. It is therefore no surprise that the historic Tay Bridge should be an early candidate for part of the £4 million per day which Railtrack is spending on Britain's rail network over the next ten years."

Railhub Archive ::: 1997-04-24 RTK-001


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