First glimpse of Corby to Kettering railway improvements

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Work on the first phase of a multi-million-pound project to reinstate a second train line between Corby and Kettering is almost complete.

No trains have run between the two stations since September 10 while Network Rail carried out repairs to bridges and viaducts.

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The line is set to re-open on Monday, October 24, and the Northants Telegraph went to have a look at the work being done to Harpers Brook viaduct, in between Great Oakley and Corby.

While passengers won’t see a major difference when it re-opens, scheme project manager Fran Johnson says it’s a huge step towards the end goal.

She said: “This structure was built in 1879 and this is the first major intervention in the brickwork.

“There are five structures we are repairing, Harpers Brook viaduct being the largest.

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“Physically people won’t see any difference but this is vital work.

“We will be one massive step closer to the end goal and the work is on time.”

With 17m-high scaffolding, 21,000 bricks being repaired and about 100 workers on the site every day, it’s easy to see why it was necessary to close the line for six weeks.

Network Rail principal sponsor Spencer Gibbens said: “What we are doing is effectively giving a little bit of TLC to the Victorian infrastructure.

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“All of this allows us to put in a second rail line which will mean more trains and more capacity.

“There is potential to have up to five trains an hour.

“At the moment we don’t see the need for a second platform at Corby but having a second line means there could be one in the future.”

Currently, an hourly service runs on a single line between Corby and Kettering.

The work will pave the way for additional passenger and freight services from the end of 2017.