Basingstoke resignalling project held up as resources are diverted to West Coast mainline works

Network Rail has put its £130m Basingstoke resignalling project on hold to in order to devote resources to its troubled £8bn upgrade of the West Coast mainline.

Skills shortages contributed to a three-day overrun on the upgrade to the line at Rugby and Liverpool Street over Christmas. Network Rail was fined £14m.

The second phase of the Basingstoke project, which is being carried out by Atkins, one of the main contractors on the project, will go ahead as planned during the May bank holiday.

However, the third phase has been deferred from August this year until Easter in 2010 and will be recosted as a result. This includes the introduction of 83 main signals, the commissioning about 180 track circuits and 20 point ends, plus modification to signalling panels at Woking.

Network Rail said the deferral had been “undertaken to make the best use of resources on the rail network”.

This will enable resources to be concentrated on the West Coast mainline

Atkins spokesperson

A spokesperson for Atkins said: “This will enable resources to be concentrated on the West Coast mainline, which is scheduled for completion in December 2008, and other commissioning commitments throughout 2009.”

The Basingstoke project began in 2006 and will replace signals on a total of 80km of track.

More work will be carried out on the West Coast mainline, which is also being worked on by Bechtel and Jarvis, over the Easter weekend.

Meanwhile, Network Rail has started a recruitment drive for the Crossrail project.

A spokesperson for the rail operator said that since Crossrail will be one of the largest projects in the world, Network Rail’s recruitment process was aimed at applicants from throughout the globe.