Network Rail has announced the installation of an 11,000t tunnel curved concrete structure under East Coast Main Line in the UK.

This tunnel to be installed on the railway is claimed to be the first for UK engineering.

As part of the £1.2bn upgrade of the East Coast Main Line, the structure will be installed in nine days.

The project will be executed at Werrington, north of Peterborough, where the East Coast Main Line is crossed by the slow-moving east-west freight route.

Once built, the tunnel will take slower freight trains off the fast route, which will expedite services, enhance reliability and reduce maintenance costs.

For installation, a 155m curved concrete box will be pushed at 150cm an hour with the help of large-scale jacks, which will propel and direct it into place. To initiate the construction work, around three tracks have been removed temporarily.

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By GlobalData

This construction technique will be used in the UK for the first time.

For the past nine months, engineers were working on the new tunnel by the side of the East Coast Main Line.

Network Rail East Coast’s route director Paul Rutter said: “This is a massive engineering challenge, but it will avoid hundreds of hours of closure on one of the most important lines in the country. This is industry-leading work that really puts the needs of passengers first in how we approach improvement work.

“In the past, Network Rail might have approached this problem by thinking about the easiest way to do the engineering. Instead, I’m proud to say we have come up with a creative and innovative solution that will deliver massive benefits while keeping disruption to a minimum.”