Network Rail outlines Christmas engineering works

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Team Orange will work around the clock over the Christmas holidays to deliver 330 vital projects.

Most of the network will be unaffected, with the majority of the upgrade work being carried out when there are no scheduled train services – such as on Christmas Day – but some areas will be impacted as Network Rail seeks to increase infrastructure reliability, capacity and improve facilities.

Overall there will be less disruption for rail users this year, compared to last, according to Network Rail.

In London at Forest Gate junction, Network Rail is upgrading the overhead wiring system as part of the upgrade of the Great Eastern main line. This will result in fewer delays and cancellations, particularly in hot weather.

Elsewhere in the capital, new track will be installed at Battersea Pier junction, which will replace infrastructure built in the 1970s and improve reliability for the 240,000 passengers who pass through every day. This means platforms 9-19 will be closed at London Victoria station from December 23 to January 1.

At Heathrow Airport junction, the installation of new track means there will be no trains to or from London Paddington station from December 23-26 and December 30.

For the Midland Main Line Upgrade, Network Rail is replacing old switches and crossings with new kit. It is also making changes to the track layout between Bedford and Kettering.  The Midland Main Line Upgrade will deliver more seats, quieter trains, and more reliable and quicker services for passengers.

Network Rail is also upgrading signalling as part of the Great North Rail Project. The Weaver to Wavetree resignalling project, Merseyside, will enable more reliable journeys and boost capacity in the area and signalling areas in Allerton, Speke and Garston are being re-controlled to the Manchester rail operating centre over the festive period.

Andy Thomas, managing director of strategic operations at Network Rail, said: “We know that our railway is up to 50 per cent quieter than usual during the festive period so taking on and delivering these huge transformational schemes at this time of year minimises our impact on passengers who, so research shows, understand the need for such activity.

“While most of the network is open for business as usual, some routes are heavily affected and so we strongly advise passengers to plan ahead.”

The vital upgrade work, valued a £148 million, is part of Network Rail’s £50 billion five-year Rail Upgrade Plan, which is the biggest investment in the railway since Victorian times.

Read more: ORR approves Network Rail’s £35bn CP6 plans


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