Tuesday 24 Mar 2020
Covid-19: Railway maintenance continues to keep critical supply lines open
Routine repairs and maintenance continue on the nationally critical West Coast main line to ensure vital supplies and key workers keep moving.
Last weekend Network Rail staff, who are classed as transport key workers in Britain’s Covid-19 response, worked up and down Europe’s busiest mixed-use (passenger and freight) railway to keep it resilient and reliable.
- Repairs to overhead power lines between Watford Junction and Euston. This was the final stage of work to fix 1,000 metres of overhead wires brought down at South Kenton on Saturday 7 March.
- Stabilising a railway embankment at Birkthwaite, near Carlisle, weakened by weeks of heavy rain and storms leading to concerns about structures holding up overhead electric wires.
- Meanwhile at Wembley on the Chiltern main line, which links London Marylebone to Birmingham, engineers refurbished switches and crossings, which guide trains from one track to another. With so many trains passing over this stretch of track, these bits of kit take a beating and so need to be replaced from time to time.
Tim Shoveller, managing director of Network Rail’s North West and Central (NW&C) region, said: “As key workers in the transport sector, colleagues have been working around the clock this weekend to make sure that we can get NHS medics, emergency service staff, food, fuel and medicines where they need to be.
“We are continuing to plan carefully while supporting our railway colleagues, especially those in critical front line roles, as we all work together to support Britain in its hour of need. Our role in Britain’s coronavirus response is clear - to keep key workers and vital supplies moving safely as together we rise to this challenge.”
The rail industry has announced a new reduced timetable will operate from Monday 23 March, with scope for more freight traffic amid reducing demand for passenger services.
This will ensure that critical supplies and key workers are able to keep moving over the coming months to help tackle spread of Covid-19.
People are advised to check www.nationalrail.co.uk every day to check the new train times.
Notes to Editors
More information about the work at South Kenton can be found at http://www.networkrail.co.uk/southkenton
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About Network Rail
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.
Every day, there are more than 4.8 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.