ADVANCED works have started on the new railway line through Forres.
Network Rail and contractor BAM Nuttall are working adjacent to the old track at Waterford as part of the wider, £170 million Aberdeen to Inverness Project.
The advanced works include the construction of temporary haul roads to permit direct access to the railway line, preloading the ground prior to the construction of the new road bridge and embankment works.
BAM Nuttall communications manager Stuart Mackay explained that the base infrastructure around the old Forres station is out of date. As well as the improvements being made currently, the investment being made will allow for future developments and phases.
“The Waterford junction will be the new crossing to the new train station,” he said. “The location of the old station will be the new access route to the Waterford area.
“As part of the consultation, there will be improvements including an additional contained footpath and walkway over the railway and along the edge of the A96.
“There will be a new footbridge over the tracks with lifts for mobility access and pushchairs.
“There will be a twin track loop which will offer greater efficiency and security. This will allow trains to pass each other in Forres at speed.”
He added: “The advanced works are scheduled to last until the end of the year before the full scale main works next year.
“Forres is our priority next year but work will also start then at Elgin and Dalcross.”
Network Rail communications manager Stacey Lynch is part of the project office team at the main site compound in the timber yard at the Waterford Circle.
The office is open to the public on the first Thursday of every month from 3-7pm.
“The works will involve the use of tracked excavators, generators, lighting towers and pneumatic tools,” said Ms Lynch.
“Noise mitigation measures will be implemented to reduce the construction noise levels.
“The works will also involve isolated traffic management systems to provide safe working areas and access points for the site team on the public highway.
“To reduce the impact on traffic flow, the temporary traffic management systems will be removed when no works are taking place.”
Day shift operations will be carried out from 7.30am to 6pm and include removal of the pill box next to the Mosset Burn.
East embankment works Saturday night shifts from 11pm-7am will go on until Saturday, October 1.
Further east embankment nightshift works will go on each night apart from Fridays until November 11.
“A proportion of these works are required to be carried out while trains are not running to reduce the risks to our staff and contractors,” said Ms Lynch.
“We are contractually obliged to work, whenever possible, at times that cause the least disruption to train services.
“Unfortunately, this means carrying out a lot of our improvements during the night and at weekends.
“The equipment we use means some disturbance is unavoidable, but we will make every effort to minimise any unnecessary noise.”
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