A busy December for VGC teams

A busy December for VGC teams

John writes:

December is going to be busy for my teams in the Midlands, working on a number of projects for client Siemens.

Blackpool to Manchester NWEP

At the moment, people are working round the clock in Blackpool and Manchester. The three-month blockade on the Blackpool to Manchester NWEP (north west electrification project) started in October, for commissioning a large section of the line.

We’re mainly involved in replacing a lot of the old troughing routes, and putting in new cables. Our teams are also putting in REB (relay electrical bases), as well as driver walkways and hardstandings.

We are working at ground level while Volker Rail runs in the overhead electrified lines. It’s all part of Network Rail’s north west electrification project (NWEP).


While the NWEP works are closed over Christmas, more than 60 people will be coming down from Manchester and Blackpool to work on HS2 enabling works. Siemens asked them to come because it’s such a high profile job. All these people have been inducted and experienced, so it’ll be smooth and seamless.

The Christmas blockade at Euston will include two eight-lane UTX (under-track crossings) which need to be completed from Christmas eve to Boxing Day. That’s mostly what the Blackpool team will be doing. The Manchester teams have third-rail p-way (electrified rail permanent way) experience so that’s what they’ll be focusing on.

Siemens will be providing accommodation – and Christmas dinners! The day after Boxing Day most of the workers will go back home to their families for a bit of a holiday. They be off until January, when they’ll start again at Blackpool.

One gang will stay on until 3 January to finish everything off.

Birmingham New Street – signal upgrade

Birmingham team
From Birmingham – L to R: William Benjamin, Kevin Crainie, Matthew Barker, Ben Daly, Richard Lorkin

The VGC workforce in Birmingham will be working on another high-profile priority job. Over the five days from 23 to 27 December they will be installing gantry bases ready for the arrival of a 100-tonne crane which will lift new gantries into place over the track.

After the five-day blockade they’ll go back to normal working through to 3 January until the commissioning is done. They’ll return for any remedial works, if necessary, after a bit of a holiday.

K2C (Kettering to Corby) project

My people in Derby will be doing works on the Midland mainline. They are working on troughing and signalling for the electrification. Also, they’re clearing the way for a 300-tonne crane which will go in to dismantle and lift out two overhead gantries ready for the extension of the new railway station at Derby.

As we get to the end of the Network Rail Midland mainline railway upgrade plan, the teams are also doing a lot of recovering of cables and bits and pieces to leave the line tidy.

They, too, will be working over Christmas and then off until the new year.

A busy time

John Daly
Author: John Daly, labour manager

I’m going to be on call all the time over Christmas and right through to January. So it’ll be an alcohol-free festive period, which is probably good for my manly physique!


I will be recruiting to join our projects in the Midlands from February 2018, so if anyone is interested they can register for work using our online form and we’ll get in touch with them in the new year.