Network Rail has started renovation work on the Sleaford avoiding rail line in the UK to improve freight capacity and enhance reliability of rail transport.

Renovation of the line is part of a £280m renewal programme on the Great Northern Great Eastern (GNGE) line that runs from Peterborough to Doncaster through Spalding, Lincoln and Gainsborough.

Work on the line will include the renewal of the existing signalling system, bridgeworks and extensive track renewal, as well as the replacement of a number of level crossings.

The Sleaford rail line refurbishment, which is scheduled to be completed in spring 2014, will see old tracks replaced with a modern track bed and rails later in 2013 to help reduce the environmental impact of passing rail traffic.

Network Rail route managing director Phil Verster said once the line is renewed it will allow the company to divert rail freight traffic around Sleaford Town Centre.

"It will also provide far greater operational flexibility than is currently available, helping us to improve train performance and reliability," Verster said.

Following completion, the GNGE project will offer improved safety, performance and reliability as well as a reduced need for heavy maintenance.

The project, which is part of the larger East Coast Main Line Capacity Relief Project, will also offer additional capacity for freight and passenger traffic when required, with each freight train taking about 60 lorry journeys off the roads.