King’s Cross Remodelling

A key element of one of the highest profile projects in a generation. Although delivered as a Tier 2 subcontractor, due to the collaborative nature of the delivery we were heavily involved in design, engineering, and delivery albeit the design was managed by our client.

Project Overview

The overall project scope simplified the layout of tracks leading to this iconic station, improving reliability by making it easier for trains to arrive and leave. The reopening of the third Gasworks Tunnel, which was closed in the 1970s, added two extra tracks on the approach to the station.
The core renewals took place over a 101 day partial closure of the station in early 2021. The first weekend saw a complete closure to split the station in two, this allowed works to commence from 0-6 while 7-11 remained operational. When all works were completed on 0-6 the closure was reversed to continue the works on 7-11 with trains using the new platforms at 0-6.

Our Role
Pod-Trak delivered two key elements of the project – the demolition and reconstruction of all platforms 0-11 to suit the new track alignment direct for Network Rail and the removal of all existing Overhead Line Equipment (OLE) and replacing with new for Morgan Sindall. Scope & Methodology The OLE works were designed and planned to suit the overall staging within the 101 day partial closure with the key constraints being the interface with other contractors and disciplines on site along with challenging site logistics. Other than Stages 1, 3 & 5 which were weekend closures of the entire station, all works during Stages 2 & 4 were delivered in a live and operational station environment under ALO and managed by Pod-Trak POS.

This approach required extremely accurate planning with all ALO, POS and Lift Plans reviewed daily alongside the construction programme and altered as required with key staff based on site. The project was heavily focused on passengers first and this was always a top priority through each of the
stages – successful on time delivery of each stage was testament to this.


Pod-Trak conducted a full construction assessment on the design issued and a design validation survey was undertaken on site to identify issues in advance and provide an opportunity for the design team to address in advance of the works. As-built records were compiled and recorded in the ITPs and complied to the Project AMP requirements to assist the Network Rail Asset Management Team to take over the maintenance following entry into service. During the assessment several items were identified that avoided construction issues during the construction stages. Due to the complexity of the design, our CRE requested that a designer be always available during the build, this proved to be a valuable exercise as unforeseen clashes could be addressed in real time to avoid delays.

Pre works
A material build-up team were based at Murphy’s Yard to manage and build-up all free issue materials required for the works including the logistics planning of getting everything to site as required by each of the main stages.

Stage 1
The Fast lines from Kings Cross Buffer stops to Copenhagen Tunnels were decommissioned including the recovery of 10nr wire runs, modification of 3nr wire runs that were critical for the future stage works, recovery of redundant cantilevers, registration assemblies, associated SPS, removal of redundant structures and bonding disconnections. This stage also saw the fast and slow lines being electrically separated from each other.

Stage 2
Complete reconstruction of the Fast lines with the OLE constructed to align with the newly installed track layout. All main steel was installed and dressed with SPS followed by 17nr wire runs with all associated registration, panning and switching. The Fast Lines Permanent Earth Section (PES) at
Holloway was removed. Tensorex Units were installed along with 1nr AEW in the Copenhagen Tunnel and all required traction bonding. Works carried out during this stage were under ALO with trains still operational into Platforms 7-11.

Stage 3
The Fast Lines were successfully commissioned and entered service allowing Platforms 0-6 to become operational again. The Slow Lines (Platforms 7-11) were decommissioned with 6nr wire runs being recovered and shortening of 2nr wire runs. Redundant AEW, registration assemblies, SPS, structures
and switches were recovered and removed from site.

Stage 4
Complete reconstruction of the Slow lines with the OLE constructed to align with the newly installed track layout. All main steel was installed including anchor portal and dressed with SPS followed by 6nr wire runs from Kings Cross buffers to Belle Isle with all associated registration, panning and switching. 2nr wire runs were extended to form an insulated overlap and closed air gap protection. Works carried out during this stage were under ALO with trains still operational into Platforms 0-6.

Stage 5
The final stage of this complex project saw the commissioning of the Slow Lines into Platforms 7-11. Works consisted of the installation, registration & handback of 2nr wire runs in Belle Isle 019 and 1nr wire run in the throat. All section proving was successfully completed and the entire station safely reopened for full operational use.

Delivering Expertise
During the first key phase and working around the clock, Platforms 0-6 were demolished and OLE removed while working alongside many other disciplines such as track and signalling. Working in a small area with many interfaces required detailed planning and integration – all while Platforms
7-11 remained open to passenger services. The complexity of the works and sheer volume of programme interdependencies meant that every subcontractor including Pod-Trak had to achieve daily milestones and report on progress every 4 hours. Even the smallest delay to works had the potential to
disrupt numerous key activities.

An excellent standard of collaboration across the board meant that by the halfway point the new Platforms 0-6 were successfully handed over on time including all new OLE to power the East Coast Azuma Trains. While the works on 7-11 were similar in nature, they presented new logistical challenges as the access strategy was different.

A complete logistics plan was agreed between all stakeholders to ensure that works could progress while using a third-party access point at the new Google building. Regular meetings were held with Network Rail, Morgan Sindall, and all other parties to understand the complex possessions/isolations and the changing logistics especially where 3rd party access was required at the Google Building. Detailed readiness reviews were held prior to each mobilisation stage attended by all the key management, engineering, and delivery staff.

The replacement of the end of life OLE will result in a more reliable service as new and more reliable equipment will reduce defects and delays, bringing huge benefits to all those that use the station and putting the passenger first. All electrical testing, section proving, and commissioning was successfully delivered by our Engineering Team.

Over the 101 days a huge volume of work was successfully delivered on time by Pod-Trak on one of the highest profile projects delivered by Network Rail in a generation, not just within the Eastern Region but Nationally. To be involved in such a project and to self-deliver key works that will be visible at the station for years to come was a fantastic opportunity for a business that is an SME and directly employing our specialist OLE resource along with introducing apprentices into the industry.

Health, Safety & Welfare
As with all the works undertaken by Pod-Trak we undertook a meticulous readiness review with the project team involved including a peer review. We utilised our OP11 Job Delivery start up process to ensure that a RACI was completed, with all actions assigned to an owner and tracked to completion.
We scheduled and participated in regular progress meetings with Network Rail and Morgan Sindall to ensure all were kept informed of any key milestones, actions or issues arising. The Project Team ensured the following documentation was produced and kept up to date throughout the project for each

  • SPS Installation in Belle Isle Kings Cross Station Remodelling Completed
  • Rosters for all the works to manage fatigue and confirm staff competence for key stages.
  • Safety validated hour-by-hour programme.
  • Possession Contingency Plans (jointly signed off by Pod-Trak, Morgan Sindall & Network Rail.
  • Work Package Plan and Task Briefs.
  • ALO Plans, POS Packs and Lift Plans.
  • Safety briefings and Toolbox Talks.

All safety submissions from the site teams including Good Calls, Close Calls, Take 5s and Site Inspections were recorded on our app and issued on a regular basis to Morgan Sindall. Regular Site visits from Directors and HSQE demonstrated our commitment to a safe and efficient project delivery.

“Great work again yesterday and last night, really well done. You all set off where you left last week. Hope everything goes well tonight with Section proving but from me I personally want to say thanks for everything so far. It is just so impressive, to me it’s a real project award winner.” Mark Bell, Programme Manager – Network Rail

New Cross Gate LOCIP Depot

The scope of this project included minor civils, P-Way, ETE (third rail) and OLE to enable re-modelling of the existing depot layout including the supply of safety critical staff for the project.

Civil Engineering
Driver walkways, OLE bases, cable management routes & temporary hop-ups.

Permanent Way
Relocation of buffer stops and stripping out existing track to allow service diversions. Extension of the wheel lathe and heavy cleaning building, including installation of a new bogey turntable.

The scope also included the installation of 28nr IBJs to accommodate the signalling upgrade and a new CV40 turnout. Slab track was installed within the maintenance shed and outside.

To facilitate the Permanent Way and Civils scope, modifications were required to both the OLE and Third Rail including the movement of conductor rail for walkway installation and extension of the OLE to the carriage wash road and headshunt.

Felixstowe Capacity Enhancement

The Felixstowe Capacity Enhancement was delivered to provide extra freight capacity and resilience to the single line section of track between Trimley & Gunn Lane.

Pod-Trak delivered a multidiscipline scope of Earthworks, Civil Engineering, Permanent Way and Communications to assist the client with the interface between packages. The scope of each package included:

Civil Engineering

  • Reduced Level dig and installation of 1.1km of a Primary type 1 formation.
  • Removal and reinstatement of soft spots providing CBR, DIN and materials testing at 50- meter intervals.
  • 400m embankment widening up to a height of 3m
  • 4 x Utility UTXs
  • Culvert strengthening works
  • Foundations (30T Pre-cast units requiring significant temporary works) for the new equestrian bridge
  • Driver walkways
  • Site Wide Landscaping.

Permanent Way

  • 1.5km of new ballast and track, installed during possession.
  • 3 x new S&C Layouts
  • Cable Management Sleepers
  • Lubricators


  • Installation in trough / ductwork & testing of 6.5km Copper Cable
  • Installation on surface, anchoring & testing of 25km Fibre Disc Cable


  • Reduced Level dig, loaded onto trains
  • Installation & compaction of 1.1km of a Primary type 1 formation, loaded onto trains
  • Removal and reinstatement of soft spots providing CBR, DIN and materials testing

Barking Riverside Extension

Project Overview
To support the development of 10,000 new homes in East London as part of the Barking Riverside Development, a new station was built and the London Overground was extended into the new Station. In addition to the new infrastructure, significant work was delivered to remodel the existing railway

Our Role
Pod-Trak were contracted by MSVF JV as the multidiscipline Permanent Way and OLE specialist to deliver all the track and OLE scope. Due to the nature of the works and the size of the packages our team were based on site with the JV to ensure a collaborative approach and efficient delivery of the works.

Scope of Works
The multidiscipline scope covered three key areas;

  • A 4.5km extension to the new Barking Riverside Station
    from the Tilbury Loop Line between Barking and
    Dagenham Dock Stations.
  • Reconfiguration of Network Rail’s Ripple Lane Goods
    Yard to allow the extension to connect to the Tilbury Loop.
  • Continuation of the Rail Systems over a new 1.5km slab
    track viaduct into the heart of Barking Riverside.

The OLE scope consisted of the following items;

  • Electrification of the Up and Down Barking Riverside
  • Installation of 610mm dia piles and all main steel.
  • Installation of cantilevers, SPS and catenary wires.
  • Installation of Neutral Sections and Section Insulators
  • Installation of new OLE switches.
  • Modifications to and renewal of existing infrastructure.
  • Modifications to the Barking FS and Purfleet MPTSC circuit breaker configurations.
  • Bonding connections required for bonding between the existing Mark 3 OLE System with RC and EW and the new Series 2 OLE System with RSC and AEW.
  • Traction Return Bonding in line with the S&T staging.
  • All Section Proving and Testing & Commissioning.

The Permanent Way scope consisted of the following items;

  • Installation of a new double track spur line on the viaduct circa 1km.
  • Installation of 6km of new ballasted track in various stages.
  • Remodelling of Ripple Lane sidings including numerous abandonments of S&C.
  • Transition section between ballast and slab track (VTRAS).
  • Installation of new crossovers & turnouts totalling 12nr point ends, 4nr crossovers & 4nr turnouts of varying geometry.
  • Track lubrication and buffer stops.
  • Welding and stressing using both Alumino Thermic and Flashbutt welding techniques.
  • Critical Rail Temperature (CRT) Management and Track Monitoring.

Delivering Expertise
Being a multidisciplinary project, it was a critical requirement for Pod-Trak to adopt a fully integrated planning and delivery process, commencing at the pre-construction stage, which continued throughout delivery to project completion. The delivery of the project was undertaken in pre-planned Network Rail possessions for efficient access throughout the worksite utilising engineering trains for the removal of arisings and the delivery of materials.

The Pod-Trak team were key in the staging of the works as both the Permanent Way & OLE programmes were reliant on the possession & engineering train schedule which fed in to the signalling design through the project integration meetings, IDC & IDR meetings with our respective CRE-C’s. A project deliverable set by Network Rail and TfL for the delivery of the works was to ensure both the main lines and the sidings were operational throughout the project which meant track handback was critical after each possession. In line with NR standards a comprehensive follow up works
programme was incorporated into the programme to ensure all tamping, welding and stressing activities were completed on time and to minimise the requirement for supplementary inspections and monitoring. A staged handback of all completed works was vital to ensure Pod-Trak met key programme milestones. The team implemented and ensured handover documentation was completed progressively throughout the project in conjunction with MSVF. Like many projects delivered during this period, the impact of Covid-19 on the overall project programme meant some works had to be replanned and moved to later possessions.

The knock on effect of this required a huge effort from all stakeholders to ensure and integrated programme could still be produced and key interfaces between disciplines were managed accordingly.

Being a self-delivery business, all plant required for the delivery of the works was provided by our Plant Division including all POS & ALO Planning and Management. Over the course of the project our Plant Division supported the project by providing;

  • Road Rail MEWPS
  • Road Rail Excavator Cranes
  • Road Rail Dozers
  • Civils Plant
  • Specialist lifting equipment for OLE (Pull lifts, slings, rollers etc)
  • Specialist track tools
    Engineering and monitoring equipment
  • Transport

Plain Line Track Renewals

  • Design Validation & setting out ahead of each mobilisation
  • Detailed train planning and deconfliction planning with the Anglia planning team
  • Preparation works for LWRT, then delivery of LWR using the LWRT
  • Engineering trains utilised for scrap panels, spoil, ballast, and new sleepers
  • Varied P/L renewals Cat 11, Cat 4 SSR and Cat 14 Formation LSR
  • Scrapping out in 30’ panels & loading to Osprey or Salmon wagons
  • Excavating to required design depth below sleeper bottom using PC128s and Laser Dozer, with 3D and 2D control of excavation
  • Offloading bottom ballast using PC128s, levelling with Laser Dozer before  compacting using Triple Whacker
  • Sleepers installed using hydraulic sleeper spreader attached to PC128s
  • New LWR thimble onto new sleepers using Doosan RRV c/w Drag Clamp & Thimble
  • Install temp clamped joints & clipping up using Robel Clippers, Pandrol & fast clip inserters as required
  • Top stone unloaded (Falcon Wagons) using Doosan RRV and profiling ready for tamper
  • Our Engineer collated the as built information and loaded the geometry and Versch files to the tamper which implemented the new track design
  • Profiling and brushing following the tamper.
  • Welding and stressing as required using both Alumino thermit and Flashbutt welding techniques

S&C Renewals
As per Plain Line with the addition of:

  • Multiple Inspections at Progress Manufacturers Yard.
  • Prefabrication of S&C in panel form undertaken in two ways – (1) for the Kirow with no welding completed in advance or (2) for PEM/LEM with as many lineside welds
    completed in advance saving on follow up access
  • Abandonments and plain lining existing S&C efficiently utilising materials on site temporarily.

OLE Installations

  • Design Validation and technical query implementation
  • Setting out for pile installation
  • Pile verification for across-track measurements prior to main steel procurement
  • Strategic procurement and deliveries of materials to mitigate storage areas
  • Where possible multiple RRVs used to install main steel to achieve maximum output and reduce temporary bonds
  • Site clearance in hour-by-hour programmes to ensure all redundant structures are removed from the infrastructure, cut into manageable lengths and placed in specific skips for waste transfer.
  • Strategic procurement and deliveries of Conductors to mitigate potential theft and congested storage areas
  • Planned and integrated exclusion zones agreed prior to possessions to ensure all disciplines have access
  • Quality check sheets compiled for each element of work as installed in line with the ITP to achieve a sustained handback process.
  • Section proving and commissioning strategy agreed with all stakeholders in advance to ensure blockers are resolved

Continuous Improvement
Milestone reporting throughout 50-hour possessions was being questioned regularly due to slippage in shifts 1 and 2. It soon became apparent, that the delays were the time it was
taking to sign all resources in with the SAC and the COSSs with the Engineering Supervisor and Nominated Person. To mitigate this, we agreed to stagger shifts with all disciplines to remove congestion with signing in and introduced signing out by text.

West Anglia Mainline (WAML)

Project Overview
The West Anglia Mainline (WAML) works involved the construction of a new line between Lea Bridge and the new Meridian Water station to feed a significant new housing development. This work upgraded the existing twin rail to a three line railway.

Our Role
Pod-Trak delivered the multidisciplinary scope of Earthworks, Civils, Permanent Way & OLE. All works were managed and self-delivered by Pod-Trak using our own staff and plant fleet.

Scope of Works
The Permanent Way scope comprised of:

  • 6km of new ballast and track.
  • New S&C Layouts at Lea Bridge and at Meridian Water
  • Slab Trak at tight clearance overbridges
  • Cable Management Sleepers
  • Buffers, RRAPs & Lubricators
  • Guard Rails

The OLE scope for the installation comprised of:

  • Pile and Concrete Foundations
  • Main Steel and SPS
  • Wiring, Registration and Panning
  • Neutral Sections, Section Insulators and Switching
  • Traction Return Bonding
  • HV Cables and MPTSC/FS upgrades
  • Installation of Booster Transformers
  • Section Proving and Commissioning

The Civil Engineering scope comprised of:

  • Reduced Level dig and installation of 6 km’s of a Primary type 1 formation.
  • Removal and reinstatement of soft spots providing CBR, DIN and materials testing at 50 meter intervals.
  • Installation of perforated and carrier track drainage systems and deep surface water drainage systems.
  • Construction of a 330m reinforced earthwork noise attenuation bund
  • Civils & Structures (Bridges 666, 1391 & 1393)
  • 1 Drainage and 5 Utility UTX’s.
  • Culvert strengthening & scour protection works
  • 750 meters of Elevated and Concrete trough works
  • Site Wide Landscaping.
  • Bridge foundation pile cropping to 1100mm CFA piles
  • Bridge sub structure excavation & reinforced concrete works
  • Crane & piling mat construction and removal
  • New deck installation complete with bearings.
  • FRC works to bridge decks.
  • Bridge deck drainage.

Delivering Expertise
The scope included the installation of a new third line required to service the new station at Meridian water, the new line was 5445m in length and was planned to be installed during weekend possessions utilising a Kirow crane to lift in panels end on end. This methodology facilitated an output of 90 panels (circa 1 track mile) per weekend and was successfully implemented for approximately ½ the route up to Tottenham Hale Station.

Immediately south of Tottenham Hale station overbridge 1395 is situated, this bridge had exceptionally tight structure gauge clearances and a previously uncharted watermain  identified during the construction phase. To allow the rail (and its imparted loads) to cross the watermain a new subterranean bridge had to be designed, approved (both Network Rail & Thames Water), and constructed before the track could be laid through the bridge. In effect the new constraint of the watermain and bridge 1395 prevented rail access to the northern ½ of the route, as such our planned construction methodology could not be adopted between Tottenham Hale & Meridian Water.

Pod-Trak were tasked with developing a methodology to lay bottom ballast, sleepers, rail & rail components, top ballast and tamp the rail locked corridor where two access points were available, one at Tottenham Hale and one at Northumberland Park. Due to the significant tonnage of material that had to be imported onto site it was quickly identified that a third access was required, as such a new RRAP was installed at Meridian Water such that it was possible to end feed from the site extremities and also feed from the central access at Northumberland Park. With access defined the following methodologies were deployed to deliver and install the track materials –

Bottom Ballast
Road hauled ballast stock piles created at the three RRAP locations. Ballast loaded from stockpiles into 10T Hydrema dumpers dropping bottom stone from the access to the midpoints between accesses. Bottom stone was loaded out in this way to prevent dumper traffic damage to the track formation.

Bottom Ballast Grading
Grading works was completed in a conventional way utilising a 3D laser dozer and triple wackers.

Sleeper Installation

To eliminate damage to the bottom ballast line and level, sleepers and slave rails were installed end on from rail. Starting from the access points sleepers laid and fine lined, and 60’ rails distributed and installed using McCulloch’s. Sleepers and rails were progressively installed creating a rail access from the new RRAP access points.

Top Ballast
With access now available over the new track top ballast was loaded from the ballast stockpiles into rail mounted dumpers which with their front and side tipping modes, distributed the top stone into the 4’ and cess. With the top stone dropped it was then graded in a conventional manner with RRV and profile bucket.


With the rail access still not available through the mainline at bridge 1395 it was not possible to access a mainline tamper. With this a beaver tamper (lorry loaded) was accessed at Meridian Water which facilitated high quality track consolidation and alignment.

The above access and methodology allowed parallel construction on four work fronts, with each work front progressing towards each other to the centre points of the site. This allowed for all rail systems work to be completed at the same time as the availability of bridge 1395 where a new slab track section was constructed to join the two halves of the railway. With the railway now continuous to the mainline continuously welded rails were dropped by train and the slave rails replaced to allow the commissioning and entry into service on time and on programme.

Before commencement of foundation works, Pod-Trak conducted trial holes at every location and UXO probed where required. A percentage of the piling works were installed off track utilising a tracked machine and some on track using an RRV. At certain locations, we liaised with the designer to assist with solutions for bespoke concrete foundations where piles could not achieve the required depth, which were installed by Pod-Trak once temporary works and updated WPP had been established and implemented.

Due to numerous issues with the pile locations, the Main Steel was not ordered until RECOS’s had been confirmed, which assisted the project commercially and avoided programme constraints. Some of the new Main Steel had to interconnect with the existing structure within the Station areas, which had to be staged to reduce the disruption to the train timetables.

Installation of the SPS and supports were completed as the Main Steel was erected, with Cantilevers secured to avoid damage and risk of injury. The Cantilever supports would only be released once the conductors were being installed and secured across to existing OLE to avoid erratic movement. The Catenary and Contact for all wire runs were installed in possessions, as the risk was too high with live adjacent lines to run with ALO. Once installed, construction earths were applied, with a register being maintained until completion.

The aerial earth wire and return conductor installation were undertaken midweek under ALO due to the conductors being run with minimal tension, located on the CESS side of the new structures. Pod-trak deployed additional wire watchers with back-to-back radios to ensure the conductors did not snag. Upon completion of installation of the conductors, the team completed registration during midweek days under ALO, with the exception of a few locations being in close proximity to the existing live OLE. These locations were placed on our register for possession works only and labelled on site to ensure a clear demarcation was in place.

The Stage 1 works to re-configure Coppermill MPTSC was complex due to the different lines it fed and the distance to carry the new HV feeds. New portal structures were installed to carry the existing OLE. Once installed the existing structures were removed along with all the cross track and along track feeds from Coppermill TSC. Pod-Trak held meetings with Romford ECRO and Network Rail Distribution to arrange the feed diversions to allow Coppermill TSC to be isolated for a number of weeks. In total Pod-Trak installed 9 new 25Kv HV cables (Circa 1000M) in elevated troughing and through 2 UTX’s. The traction return bonding throughout the project was staged with temporary bonds applied to numerous items for other disciplines and our own temporary bonds to the Lea Valley
Reverse (LVR) line to maintain continuity. A bonding register was compiled and maintained throughout and was integrated with the final bonding plan to ensure all details was captured including Civils, Signalling, M&E and OLE. The main bonding was prepared in advance of the final signalling stage and all connected over a single commissioning weekend.

Once the tie in at Lea Bridge was installed, Pod-Trak delivered the section proving of the LVR, which included numerous switch operations over the 6.5km new line. The section proving document went through various checks before being authorized, with numerous visits to Romford ROC to discuss with the ECRO.

Several walkouts were attended prior to energisation with the Network Rail team and the Maintainer to ensure any outstanding works and/or snags were captured to avoid
repeated site attendance.

For the handback, we split Stage 3 into A & B to enable a faster return of handback documents, which included;

  • Quality check sheets for each task on every structure
  • Red line drawings (cross sections, allocation sheets and layouts)
  • All the material compliance records.

Once submitted and accepted, the agreed ITP was finalised. The new equipment installed was Series 2, which was a first in the area for the maintainer. We procured the appropriate spares for the team and held a training day with their staff to explain the main differences.

Health, Safety & Welfare
We were actively involved with ‘What Good Looks Like’, which was delivered every Friday on the project for all to attend, to listen to how each discipline was performing. The main purpose of this, was to highlight any errors from Close Calls and how this was rectified to make good.