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Railhub Archive
1997-07-24 RTK-001
Railtrack plc


Lifeline for the Loop

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Mersey Loop

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Railtrack plc

Lifeline for the Loop

24 July 1997
source Railtrack plc
type Press release

Railtrack has unveiled plans for a £2.5 million pound scheme, which, if given the signal, will help to banish the rising damp that has plagued the Liverpool underground.

Constructed in the early seventies, the Mersey Loop tunnel was created to provide a valuable rail interchange between city centre stations, creating four new underground links in the guise of Moorfields, Central, James Street and Lime Street underground.

But a decline in the fortunes of the city's heavy industry has been mirrored by an increase in technical problems in the tunnel, due to the rise in the surrounding water table.

Project Manager for Railtrack Paul Clark explained: 'Originally, local industry in the Liverpool area made regular use of the underground water supply, ensuring the levels stayed well below that of the tunnel. Unfortunately as the demand for this source declined, so the water table has risen, causing a variety of problems in the loop.'

Problems encountered included:

o Damage to fabric of the tunnel
o Increased rail wear and corrosion
o Signalling failures
o Disruption to train services

Now Railtrack is preparing to plug the problem with a proposal which will curb the rising water, utilising it to good effect at locations throughout the city.

'Following consultations with our contractors, environmental agencies and a variety of organisations including Liverpool City Council and British Waterways, we have developed a proposal that will reduce the water table around the circumference of the tunnel by placing well points at various sites,' said Paul.

Well points will be located at points adjacent to Strand Street, Tithebarn Street, Central Station and Byrom Street and after initial drilling works, will remain hidden from view.

The water collected via the scheme will then be discharged, with a number of options on how best to utilise it presently being considered. One of those options would be to feed it into the Leeds Liverpool canal, helping the canal system to maintain steady levels.

Added Railtrack Civil Engineer Bob Cummings: 'If this problem were to be left unchecked, the incidents of line closure for emergency repairs would steadily increase, meaning further disruption for commuters.

'With this proposal, the future of the tunnel will be secure, with the scheme removing the possibility of further water ingress and resulting disruption to service. We will also take the opportunity during this period to undertake remedial works to the tunnel structure, repairing damage caused by water ingress.'

If given the go-ahead by City planning officials, the 14 month scheme will start in October and has already received the backing of Merseyrail Electrics, who believe the work will lead to improved services for their passengers.

Commented Roger Cobbe, Commercial Director of Merseyrail Electrics Limited: 'Merseyrail Electrics welcome this proposed major investment by Railtrack, which when completed will help improve the reliability of our services in the future.'

Railhub Archive ::: 1997-07-24 RTK-001


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