Work starts on �20m railway loop

Work has started on a �20m project to double the railway track at Axminster, on the Waterloo - Exeter line.

Work has started on a �20m project to double the railway track at Axminster, on the Waterloo - Exeter line. Engineers have started clearing three miles of railway land to make way for the new track. The scheme, which is funded by Network Rail, will enable South West Trains to operate an hourly service between London Waterloo and Exeter St. Davids by the end of this year. Axminster station will also be improved to accommodate the potential boost in passenger capacity. Following the enabling work, Network Rail's engineers will remain on site to work on the track, station, signals and power supply between Axminster and Chard Junction. Work includes: - Redoubling 1.5miles of track on either side of Axminster station to create a passing loop - Improving Axminster station with a new platform, a new footbridge and lifts - Strengthening seven bridges and 20 culverts along the route - Renewing signal equipment by installing 12 new signals, replacing three miles of signal cables and modernising the signaling panel at Chard signal box Richard O'Brien, Route Director for Network Rail said: "This is a new milestone for the project as it means we are now delivering work on the ground. Our planning also look at how to deliver improvements with minimal inconvenience to passengers and the community. "The majority of our work over the next 12 months will either be carried out overnight or when trains are not running. We will also be deploying new and efficient engineering techniques that will help reduce construction time on site." Engineers will use a modular construction approach that involves the pre-construction of components to cut the amount of construction time carried out on site. Core commissioning work, including testing the signals and laying the new track will be carried out later in the year. Network Rail is currently working closely with the train operators to plan for a convenient time to access the railway track.