Sunday, 11 May 2014

Bicester update 11th May 2014

I found a brief opportunity to visit Bicester today to see how the work was going.  I was quite surprised to find that it was a hive of activity with work ongoing from Bicester Town station site to the new chord with the Birmingham line. The level crossing on London Road has been reinstated to double track.  A new unballasted single track has been laid past the site of Bicester station. and some double track with crossovers was being installed on the east side of the level crossing.  Between Tubbs Crossing and Gavray Drive points for the new junction were also being installed.  On the way back I took a few photos of the Bicester to Claydon junction section but I hope to do a better job in the near future.
The first shot is taken from the remains of Bicester Town station.  The platform has been removed completely.  A large stack of concrete sleepers is lined up along side the track bed.  The recently laid single track is in the foreground.
 Looking south across the reinstated London Road level crossing now double track again.
This looks east from the level crossing. Work to install a crossover was underway. 
 Here a track panel is being lowered into place as the next picture shows.
 The next set are from Tubbs Crossing
 Looking west towards London Road from the temporary crossing.  Here there is a block on the line which will be removed once the footbridge opens.
 Moving further over to get a better angle, you can just see the work at the level crossing.  The red and white crossing barrier can be seen centre of picture.
I have to say the almost completed footbridge was a bit of a surprise.  Obviously it is right that it is DDA compliant but the size and complexity of  it was quite something.  A local resident informed that he was told it cost £800,000. This is the view approaching it on the footpath from Mallards Way.
This the ramped section with the staircase behind on the south side of the line.
 And this is some of the the counterpart on the north side. I couldn't get it all in!
Looking at the north side across the track.  Only double decked that side but with a much longer ramp.

And this is the actual footbridge.  It is very well protected with anti-climb frames and mesh top cover.  It might have been a good location to photograph trains taking the new junction but not as it is now although there is a small section to the left which will probably work..
Looking towards the bridge that carries the Birmingham line over the East West line, work to install the points was being carried out.
 A closer look reveals the two sets of points with a diamond crossover just to the right of the group of workers.  It looks like there will be three tracks for a short distance where the new down runs along side the two East West tracks. Presumably the up will cross straight over onto the chord.
I then moved round to Gavray Drive where the main construction site is located.  As I arrived the hydraulic lifting machine was just returning to the site probably to collect another track panel.
Looking towards the bridge across the site.  The machine has stopped at a group of waiting construction workers.
The construction of the new chord is definitely underway now as this picture shows.  At this point it is pretty much the same height as the Birmingham line so it would appear there will be quite a gradient on the section to the left that has not been started.  I guess it will all become apparent in time.
 Looking further to the right, there is not much obvious change from last time.

 Finally looking across the site.  The row of conifers marks the East West line.
 On the way home I took a few shots of the level crossing on the Buckingham road.  This will need significant modification to take two tracks unless it is being replaced with a bridge which would be quite feasible here unlike London Road which would pose some difficulty.  Presumably this level crossing was a relatively new installation but the low volume of trains using it didn't merit the cost of a bridge.
A closer look reveals the location plate and phone number to ring if necessary.
Looking west towards Gavray Drive. Some lengths of rail stored here.
Zooming in, you can see the extent of the current work with the new track visible behind the fence.
Looking east from the same spot.
And zooming in here, you can just make out that the track switches sides just past the speed restriction sign for some reason.

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