Impressive footage shows major railway repairs completed in Aylesbury: Pre cast concrete section of culvert being craned into position in Aylesbury

Monday 21 Aug 2023

Impressive footage shows major railway repairs completed in Aylesbury

Region & Route:
North West & Central
| North West & Central: Central

Major work to replace a Victorian drainage culvert beneath the railway in Aylesbury is now complete to improve future journeys for passengers and freight services.

Impressive aerial footage and photos released today (Monday 21 August) shows how engineers completely dug up the railway by Aylesbury station to replace the drainage system which connects to the nearby canal basin.

Faults found in the structure earlier this year* caused repeated short-notice closures of the line and major disruption for passengers.

Now Network Rail has permanently replaced the brick-built culvert with a modern equivalent, trains will be able to run normally in future.

Over a 12 day railway closure, Network Rail worked with its contractor Murphy to:

  • Remove track and the old brick-built drainage culvert
  • Install a new 18-section pre-cast concrete culvert using a 300 tonne crane
  • Replace 700 metres of rail and 85 sleepers
  • Upgrade three sets of points which are movable sections of track, allowing trains to move from one line to another.

The railway between Aylesbury Vale Parkway and Amersham reopened to passenger trains over the weekend (Saturday 19 August) after the work to remove the damaged brick-built structure and replace it with the new modular pre-cast concrete culvert.

The culvert repair is the first of two major upgrades taking place in Aylesbury this summer with work now underway to allow the new high-speed railway, HS2, to pass under the existing railway between Aylesbury and Little Kimble stations.

This means that until Sunday 29 October buses continue to replace Chiltern Railways trains between:

  • Princes Risborough – Monks Risborough – Little Kimble – Aylesbury

While some rail replacement bus service details are finalised, some of the changes may not be currently showing in online journey planners.

Passengers are advised to check again closer to the date of travel for more detailed information about rail replacement bus services by using

In addition to the railway closures, Marsh Lane level crossing is now closed to road users until spring 2024 to allow the major improvement work to take place, as well as a project to upgrade the level crossing in 2024 which will bring it up to modern safety standards.

Patrick Cawley, director for ‘On Network Works’ for Network Rail and HS2, said: “I know our work in Aylesbury has and continues to be extremely disruptive for passengers and I’d like to apologise for this and thank people for their patience while we completed vital repairs which will help to make journeys more reliable.

“Our second phase of work is now underway to prepare for HS2, Britain’s new high speed railway and I’d urge passengers travelling between Aylesbury and Princes Risborough stations to continue to plan their journeys in advance by visiting”

When complete, HS2 will transform journeys between London, the Midlands and the North, by making space on the existing railway network for more freight and local services.

Richard Allan, Chiltern Railways managing director, said:  "We are pleased that a permanent fix has now been completed to the culvert at Aylesbury which has caused disruption to our services since January. We would like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding while this essential work has taken place. Customers should be aware that the railway between Aylesbury and Princes Risborough will be closed for a further ten weeks as the track is realigned to enable the HS2 high-speed railway to pass beneath it. Rail replacement buses will be in operation during this time, and customers should check before they travel.”

Network Rail has written to residents and held information events with Chiltern Railways and HS2 staff for passengers and local people to make them aware of the planned work.

For more information, please visit

Notes to Editors

*The brick-built culvert was damaged in March 2023, when a temporary repair was made, and monitoring equipment was installed.

However during heavy rain or repeated uses of the locks in the Grand Union Canal, the railway had to close as water levels filled the culvert, obscuring the monitoring equipment needed to make sure trains could still run over the top of the damaged structure.

This location is a rare example of where the railway wasn’t built first and the tracks were laid over the culvert which drains excess water from the canal basin.

Opening a lock can send many litres of water into the basin which, if it’s already full, must drain via the culvert.

The new pre-cast concrete culvert will now be able to cope with the water capacity flowing through it as well as providing the stability needed for passenger and freight trains to run over the top of the drainage channel.

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