Thursday 31 Mar 2016
A more reliable railway between Birmingham and Wolverhampton as £5m upgrade completes on time
- Region & Route:
- | North West & Central
Passengers will benefit from a more reliable train service between Birmingham and Wolverhampton thanks to a £5m investment over the Easter weekend.
The railway reopened on time this morning after six days of work as part of Network Rail’s £40bn Railway Upgrade Plan to provide passengers with a bigger, better, more reliable railway.
Network Rail’s orange army worked 24 hours a day and battled the challenges of Storm Katie to replace a major junction at Galton Bridge – which allows trains to change tracks and routes – as well as overhead power lines and signaling. A new bridge was also put in place over the canal using one of the largest cranes in Britain. The bridge will be quicker to maintain and so improve the reliability of the railway for passengers.
The work was carefully planned to be completed as quickly and safely as possible but resulted in a reduced service between Birmingham New Street and Wolverhampton over the Easter weekend and at the start of the new working week (29 and 30 March).
Martin Frobisher, route managing director for Network Rail, said: “Despite the weather challenges, the railway reopened on time today thanks to the dedicated efforts of our engineering team. Our orange army worked day and night to replace this complex piece of track, which was unreliable at times, with a much more efficient layout making it far easier to maintain.
"We now have a more reliable railway which will help provide passengers with a better service between Birmingham and Wolverhampton. I appreciate our investment caused some changes to journeys and I’d like to thank passengers for their patience while we carried out this essential work.”
Steve Fisher, from London Midland, said “ I’d like to thank all our passengers for their patience and understanding while the work has been completed. The new track layout will make journeys more reliable on an important and very busy part of our local network.”
CrossCountry managing director, Andy Cooper, said: “We are grateful for our customers’ patience while these works were completed, especially over a busy holiday weekend. However, the long term benefits will be a more reliable railway and more capacity for our trains into and out of the busy West Midlands region.”
On top of the work in the Birmingham area over 15,000 members of Network Rail’s orange army worked over the Easter weekend across Britain to deliver a £60m slice of work as part of the £40bn Railway Upgrade Plan to provide a bigger, better, more reliable railway for passengers. New station facilities, longer platforms, extra tracks, new junctions and thousands of pieces of new, more reliable equipment were installed and delivered across the network.
Over 450 projects were carried out, the majority of which had no impact on passengers. The work was timed to take advantage of a quieter time of the year when, on average, fewer than half the usual 4.5m people use the railway each day – enabling Network Rail and train operators to minimise disruption as much as possible.
Notes to editors:
The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail’s £40bn spending plan for Britain’s railways for the five year period up to 31 March 2019. The plan is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to tremendous growth the railways have seen – a doubling of passengers in the past twenty years. The plan will deliver a bigger, better railway with more trains, longer trains, faster trains with more infrastructure, more reliable infrastructure and better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.
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We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.