Tuesday 27 Apr 2021
Stage set for May bank holiday heavy lifting over West Coast main line
Aerial photos show major preparations for the building of a new railway flyover at Bletchley which will entirely close the West Coast main line this early May bank holiday.
The pictures taken from the Network Rail helicopter show more than 100 precast concrete girders ready to be installed ahead of the full railway closure between Milton Keynes and Euston over 1-3 May.
Cranes will lift the girders over all four lines at Bletchley as part of the East West Rail project*.
The complex network of 25,000-volt overhead electric cables which power trains must also be dismantled and reinstalled underneath the new structure once all the girders are lifted into place.
Passengers are being advised to travel either side of the improvement work on Friday 30 April and Tuesday 4 May.
Trains will start and finish at Milton Keynes between 1-3 May. London Euston will also be closed.
Passengers needing to travel between 1-3 May could have longer journeys, fewer available seats, and may need to use rail replacement buses.
People should continue to follow Government guidance around the use of public transport and minimise the number of journeys they make where possible.
To plan journeys and for the latest travel information visit: www.nationalrail.co.uk/westcoast.
“Tim Shoveller, managing director for Network Rail’s North West & Central region, said: “We know there is never an ideal time to shut the railway, but this major engineering project at Bletchley can only be done during a full closure of the West Coast main line. Our advice is to travel either side of the early May bank holiday. If you have to make a journey between 1-3 May please check National Rail Enquiries so you know exactly what to expect.
“The first sections of the old 1960s-built concrete flyover were removed in May 2020, and it’ll be a great engineering achievement to see the gap bridged again this bank holiday with a modern replacement so East West Rail can transform journeys and improve connectivity across the heart of the country.”
Meanwhile, several other sections of the West Coast main line will be closed for upgrades over the early May bank holiday in the North West and in Scotland.
Read more about how future journeys are being improved here:
- 'Travel either side' of May Bank holiday in North West
- ‘Travel either side’ May bank holiday between London and Scotland
- Railway improvements close Euston station this May bank holiday
To see how it will impact journeys visit www.nationalrail.co.uk/westcoast
To read more about the work to demolish the old Bletchley flyover click the links below:
- Up, up and away: 1960s West Coast main line railway flyover has lift off
- Next phase of railway flyover demolition involves three of the UK’s largest cranes
For interview requests please contact media manager Chris Halpin on 07740 782 954 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to Editors
*About the East West Rail project
East West Rail will create a new direct connection between Oxford and Cambridge. Serving communities across the area, it will bring faster journey times and lower transport costs as well as easing pressure on local roads.
East West Rail is being delivered in three Connection Stages
- Connection Stage One: Oxford to Bletchley and Milton Keynes
- Connection Stage Two: Oxford to Bedford
- Connection Stage Three: Oxford to Cambridge
Network Rail was responsible for developing the first part of the East West Rail, connecting Oxford with Bicester, and is a partner in a construction alliance to deliver Connection Stage 1 of the project, where East West Railway Company (EWR Co) is acting as the Department for Transport’s sponsor.
EWR Co is now developing the route to enable services to run to Cambridge via Bedford and will be seeking statutory powers under the Planning Act 2008, following a period of extensive consultation.
For more information you can visit: www.networkrail.co.uk/east-west-rail/
Passengers / community members
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Latest travel advice
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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.
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.