Trent Valley Line
|Trent Valley Line
|from north to south
The line was electrified during the 1960s in the wake of the 1955 BR modernisation plan.
The cities, towns and villages served by the line are listed below.
The Trent Valley Line was opened in 1847 to give a more direct route from London to the North West of England, bypassing the existing route via Birmingham, which had been constructed by the Grand Junction Railway and the London and Birmingham Railway a decade earlier. The contractor for the original 50 miles of line was Thomas Brassey working in partnership with Robert Stephenson and William Mackenzie. The engineers were Robert Stephenson, a Mr. Bidder and a Mr. Gooch.
Initially, the Trent Valley Line was owned by an independent company, who started construction of the line in 1845. However whilst the line was still being built, it was absorbed into the newly created London and North Western Railway (LNWR) in August 1846 and became an important part of the West Coast Main Line. The line was opened officially on November 30 1847.
The West Coast Main Line has four tracks between London and Rugby, a "fast" line and a "slow line" in each direction (the slow lines diverting via the Northampton Loop Line). Similarly, there are four tracks north of Stafford. Although parts of the Trent Valley Line are four tracks, there is an 18km (11 miles) long section of track between Tamworth and Armitage that has only ever been double track. When plans for the modernisation of the WCML were being developed in the 1990s, it was realised that the existing arrangements could not accommodate the faster Pendolino trains as well as slower local services. It was therefore decided to increase the number of tracks between Lichfield and Armitage to four; later it was decided to extend this from Tamworth as well, giving four tracks from Nuneaton to Colwich Junction, north of Rugeley.
Work started in 2004, and access roads were built on the eastern side of the line. Earthworks for the new track are currently (October 2006) in progress, with work also being done to rebuild or replace the 37 bridges on that section of line. There was also a level crossing at Hademore that was replaced by a bridge early in 2007.
Additionally, the line between Rugby and Brinklow, which is currently three tracks, is being quadrupled. The line from Brinklow to Nuneaton will remain three tracks, at least for the time being. A 3km (two-mile) section north-west of Colwich Junction will remain double track, as this goes through the 710 metre long Shugborough Tunnel, which would be too expensive to widen.
As well as the civil engineering works, the whole of the Trent Valley line will be resignalled. The work is scheduled for completion in August 2008, at an estimated cost of £350 million.
- Helps, Arthur The Life and Works of Mr Brassey, 1872 republished Nonsuch, 2006, p. 107. ISBN 1845880110
- The Railway Magazine, August 2006
- Railway Track Diagrams - Midlands & North West, ISBN 0-9549866-0-1