Wednesday 2 Mar 2016
Easter Railway Upgrade Plan to deliver better, more reliable railway for passengers across the south
Passengers across the south are set to benefit from their share of one of the biggest investment programmes ever carried out on Britain’s rail network at Easter.
The work will include a £1.4million project to replace eight sets of points, the equipment which allows trains to move between tracks, at Waterloo in one of the busiest and most crucial parts of the railway. Additionally, track will be renewed in the Southampton area and a railway bridge will be replaced near Wandsworth Town station. The work will improve the punctuality and reliability of the railway.
The work is timed to take advantage of a relatively 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.
While the majority of the railway will remain open throughout the weekend there will be changes to some services and Wandsworth Town station will be closed. Passengers should check before they travel, particularly those wishing to travel to Putney, Barnes and Mortlake to watch the Cancer Research UK Boat Races on Sunday 27 March.
John Halsall, Route Managing Director for Wessex Route, said: “Hundreds of thousands of people across the south west will benefit from the work, which forms part of Network Rail’s £40bn Railway Upgrade Plan to provide a bigger, better, more reliable railway for passengers. While the work will cause some temporary inconvenience, people in the south west will ultimately benefit from an improved and reliable railway.
“While the majority of the railway will be open, passengers should check before they travel to avoid any problems getting to their destinations.”
Across the country, over 15,000 members of Network Rail’s orange army will be working over the four-day Easter weekend to deliver a £60m slug of the £40bn Railway Upgrade Plan to provide a bigger, better, more reliable railway for passengers.
Over 450 individual improvement projects will be carried out by Network Rail and its contractors across Britain over Easter, the majority of which will have no impact on passengers. Where there are changes to services as a result of upgrade work, a comprehensive advertising campaign is under way to make sure passengers are able to make informed decisions about their travel.
Eleanor Lawrence, an apprentice technician, is the face of Network Rail’s nationwide ‘Check Before You Travel’ campaign which uses posters, billboards and digital screens at stations as well as online and print adverts to urge people to check for changes to their journeys over Easter.
Eleanor said: “I’ll be celebrating Easter and eating chocolate with dozens of other members of the orange army while doing essential work to keep the railway safe and reliable for passengers.
“I’ve been interested in the railway since I was a kid but since working for the industry I’ve been amazed and inspired by the people around me and their commitment to make the railways better. This is such a worthwhile job and makes a difference to so many people and carries such a huge responsibility to keep people safe and provide a good, reliable service. It’s a job and a career that really matters.”
Notes to editors
The work includes:
- From the early hours of Friday 25 March until the early hours of Tuesday 29 March, work will take place to replace Fairfield Street bridge near Wandsworth Town station. As a result, there will be no trains between Clapham Junction and Barnes throughout this period. A rail replacement bus service will operate between the two stations. Wandsworth Town station will also be closed throughout the weekend.
- Improvement works will take place at London Waterloo between the early hours of Friday morning through to Monday night for a £1.4million project to replace eight sets of points. London Waterloo will remain open but some services may arrive into or depart from a different platform than normal and some journeys may take longer.
- Track upgrade in the Southampton area on Saturday and Sunday will result in changes to some services and others replaced by buses. A normal bank holiday service will operate on Friday and Monday.
Other big projects in and around London:
- Crossrail work on the Great Eastern main line near Gidea Park affecting services out of London Liverpool Street
- Major renewals at Battersea means no Southern services from Victoria and much reduced services on Brighton main line
- Thameslink work continues at London Bridge with Cannon Street closed on Friday, Saturday and Sunday
- East Kent resignalling sees the Chatham main line closed between Swanley and Faversham
- Crossrail and Western electrification work between Paddington and Reading will see reduced train services (two of four lines blocked)
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
Although most of the network will be unaffected by planned improvement work, passengers are advised to check their journeys if travelling over Easter at www.nationalrail.co.uk
About Network Rail
Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 36,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.
About the Railway Upgrade Plan
The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:
- longer, faster more frequent trains;
- better, more reliable infrastructure; and
- better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.