The COBRA sidings previously handled a wide variety of rail freight – from coal and steel to spring water and household waste – but have been out of use for several years. Now, they will play a vital role stabling Northern’s train fleet overnight when essential Transpennine Route Upgrade work will restrict access in and out of their Holbeck depot in Leeds.
The Upgrade, which is already underway, will transform journeys across the North, with more frequent, faster, greener trains between York, Leeds and Manchester, running on a better, cleaner, more reliable railway.
Led by the TRU East Alliance track team, who until recently have been renewing the lines on the Transpennine route between York and Church Fenton, the project to transform the derelict site took just two months. Alongside them, additional key work to bring the sidings back into use and link them back into the network was carried out by signalling, civils and electrification & plant colleagues.
On Wednesday 31 August, Northern ran the first test train into the new sidings, to trial the new infrastructure and give their representatives the opportunity to view the fantastic work completed in such a short space of time.
Andrew Morgan, Principal Programme Sponsor for Network Rail, said:
“Over the last eight weeks our teams have dealt with challenging logistics, tight timescales and extreme temperatures. Despite these hurdles, the COBRA sidings in Wakefield were completed on schedule this week – a great result achieved through true collaborative working by all the teams involved.
“Providing a second home for these trains means that services can continue to run reliably as the Transpennine Route Upgrade gains momentum. When complete, it will transform journeys for passengers across the Pennines and offer a cleaner, greener railway.”