Chippenham-built Siemens Mobility technology brings back railway line in Northumberland

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Railway technology developed by Siemens Mobility in Chippenham will be at the heart of the re-opening of the Northumberland Line between Ashington and Newcastle in North East England.

Siemens has been awarded the contract to supply a pioneering signalling system that saves time and money to enable line to re-open by 2024.

The award by Network Rail covers the signalling and control infrastructure that will transform the existing freight line into one serving both goods and passengers.

Siemens’ modular plus technology will be built in Chippenham – at the UK’s only remaining dedicated signalling and control facility – and transported directly to site saving time and cost of design, manufacture, assembly, test and installation.

Rob Morris, managing director, rail infrastructure for Siemens Mobility said: “The new Northumberland Line is a great example of levelling up in action. We are proud to help the Government and Network Rail roll-back the Beeching cuts to upgrade and reopen lines more quickly. This will provide better and more efficient transport links to improve the lives of people across the region.

“With more projects like this, and by using innovative technology, we can transform lines and passenger journeys up and down the country quickly and cost-effectively. Best of all the solution is designed and manufactured in Britain supporting local jobs and skills for the future.”

Responsible for the design and delivery of all telecoms, lineside infrastructure and power upgrades, Siemens Mobility teams will also install or upgrade eight level crossings – a mixture of CCTV and Obstacle Detection technologies – as well as new workstations at Tyneside IECC as part of the project.

By using digital, network-based technology, together with simple bases and lightweight structures, the embodied carbon in the scheme, and so the cost, will be significantly lower than conventional schemes, helping support the industry’s decarbonisation targets.

Six new stations are expected to be constructed to stimulate economic growth along the route, subject to planning permission. Towns such as Blythe and Ashington will again be connected with Newcastle by rail, opening up new opportunities for sport, education, leisure and travel.

Siemens’ Chippenham operation supports around 900 local manufacturing, research, engineering and support staff and, as well as serving the domestic market, exports around 25 per cent of all equipment produced.

The Northumberland Line – which was axed under the Beeching cuts of the 1960s – promises to cut the public transport journey time between Ashington and Newcastle from around an hour to 35 minutes, with two trains an hour from Monday to Saturday and one train an hour on Sundays.