Monday 8 Nov 2021
Customers thanked after 5 days of improvements between Southampton and Bournemouth
Customers are being thanked for their patience after work to provide smoother and more reliable journeys between Southampton and Bournemouth was completed on time.
Between 1 and 5 November, over 100 engineers each day worked across multiple locations along the 42km route as part of a £3 million package of improvements to improve track quality and drainage, reducing delays for customers.
The work included the use of a rail vacuum cleaner at Hinton Admiral to suck up the old ballast which help supports the track. Using a large crane and battling against high winds, the team installed a new electric substation at Lymington, which will help to improve power supply in the area once it is fully functional.
Now the work is complete, we’ve been able to remove a temporary speed restriction and prevent others, so trains can run at their normal speed.
Mark Killick, Network Rail Wessex route director, said: “This critical improvement work will make journeys better for customers as the track and signals will be more reliable.
“Through it all, our customers and people who live by the railway have been really understanding and patient. We know people would prefer to have been on trains than buses, but by doing the work over five days – rather than across multiple weekends – we can complete the work much more quickly.
“I want to thank our customers for their patience and by working closely with SWR and CrossCountry, we were able to carry out the work with the least amount of disruption and inconvenience.”
Alan Penlington, customer experience director at South Western Railway, said: “The work Network Rail have completed will make a big difference to the customer experience in the area. New signalling, improved drainage and the removal of speed restrictions will mean greater punctuality and resilience on the line for years to come.
“Closing the railway for five days is never a decision taken lightly, and I’d like to thank customers for their patience and understanding during these essential works.
During the five days, engineers worked around the clock to:
- Upgrade track circuits - which tell the signaller where the train is on the track – at Totton, Beaulieu Road, Brockenhurst and Christchurch
- Replaced wheeltimbers – which support the rails – over the Avon and Stour rivers on either side of Christchurch station
- Improve drainage in the Totton and Ashurst areas to help to prevent delays caused by flooding.
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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.