- Old Dalby Test Track
Old Dalby Test TrackLegend Midland Main Line Nottingham Nottingham-Lincoln Line River Trent Edwalton Plumtree Stanton Tunnel Widmerpool Upper Broughton Old Dalby control centre Grimston Tunnel Grimston Saxelby Tunnel Mineral line to Waltham on the Wolds Asfordby depot Asfordby Tunnel Birmingham to Peterborough Line to Leicester Great Northern and London and North Western Joint Railway Melton Mowbray Birmingham to Peterborough Line to Oakham
The Old Dalby Test Track is a railway test track in the United Kingdom used for testing new designs of train. It lies between Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire and Edwalton on the course of the former Midland Railway's route between Kettering and Nottingham that had previously closed to passengers in 1968. The line is 13.5 miles (21.7 km) in length.
The test track was originally set up by British Rail Research Division and later converted into a test track for the Advanced Passenger Train APT-E project, being re-opened in 1972. The test track saw extensive use in the heyday of the British Rail (BR) Research Department and was used for pantograph development and OHLE testing.
In 2001 the test track was leased by Alstom Transport who electrified the former Down line at 25kV AC OHLE to test and commission the Class 390 "Pendolino" trains for introduction by Virgin Trains on the West Coast Main Line.
When Alstom withdrew from the United Kingdom train-building market, the line was threatened with closure before being leased to Metronet in 2007 in order to test and commission the next generation of London Underground S Stock trains. To facilitate this, the former Up line, which was re-instated by Alstom during their upgrade between Old Dalby and Widmerpool, was equipped with approximately 4 km (2.5 mi) of London Underground-style conductor rails from Old Dalby to a point near to Folley Hall Bridge. Testing of the 'S' stock began at the end of March 2009. The former Down line retains its 25kV OHLE.
Serco Assurance have been awarded the contract to manage the whole of the test track on behalf of Metronet, giving them the opportunity to attract other interested parties to the line.
As of April 2010, the test track was being used by Class 172 diesel multiple units in addition to the London Underground S Stock, both of these being manufactured by Bombardier in Derby. Network Rail also use the facilities for their measurement trains and on July 30th the NMT visited the line.
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