On track for �55m rail flyover

PLANS to a build a viaduct to relieve one of the worst rail bottlenecks in the country went on show last week. The design for the �55m flyover – a mix of low-profile viaduct and embankment - to the north of Hitchin was displayed at Hitchin Priory from Th

PLANS to a build a viaduct to relieve one of the worst rail bottlenecks in the country went on show last week.

The design for the �55m flyover - a mix of low-profile viaduct and embankment - to the north of Hitchin was displayed at Hitchin Priory from Thursday to Saturday. And representatives from track owners Network Rail were on hand to answer questions and listen to concerns.

The new track would bypass a busy intersection of the Cambridge and East Coast Main lines by looping through fields to the north of Walsworth. Network Rail say it will ease congestion, meaning more train services and fewer delays.

Route director Richard Lungmuss said: "The investment we are planning in the Hitchin area is about improving transport links, reducing delays to passengers and increasing the number of services.


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"Rail users the length of the country will feel the benefits of this scheme as we remove the biggest remaining pinch point on the East Coast Main Line."

The proposals have been developed with North Herts District Council (NHDC) and planning permission will be sought later this year, with a finish date sometime in early 2014.

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Richard Thake, planning and transport portfolio holder at NHDC said: "This is very much a good news story. It will give more capacity on the East Coast Main Line by cutting out the conflict between trains going to Cambridge and the East Coast Ports and those carrying passengers and freight North and South.

"An added bonus for Hitchin residents is that the design can accommodate an additional access road to the Hitchin industrial area. If the support for this separate project is available from Government the relief of heavy lorry movements within Hitchin could become a reality."

Phil Rowe, treasurer of the Hitchin Historical Society, said: "Although we have not discussed it as a group, I don't believe that the route is going to impinge on any historical sites. And on a personal level I am all for it - it should have been done about 100 years ago."

To watch a fly-through simulation along the proposed track go to www.thecomet24.net and to have your say email the developers at hitchin@networkrail.co.uk

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