Major bank holiday railway upgrades completed with more to come later in May: Ballast cleaning in Milnthorpe Cumbria

Tuesday 7 May 2019

Major bank holiday railway upgrades completed with more to come later in May

Region & Route:
North West & Central

Passengers are benefiting from better, more reliable journeys on the West Coast main line between Euston and Carlisle, after May Day bank holiday engineering work was completed on time.

Sections of track on Europe’s busiest mixed-use (freight and passenger) railway line were replaced. Overhead electric cables were upgraded, as well as vital improvements to bridges, tunnels and trackside equipment at sites along the West Coast main line.

These must-do upgrades and repairs help keep thousands of passengers and products moving every day on a safe, reliable railway.

Passengers returning to Euston today will also notice improvements carried out while the station was closed over the last two bank holidays, to improve passenger flow by removing retail units and widening platform ramps.

A new external entrance for the London Underground is also being built as part of preparations for the new HS2 railway.

Martin Frobisher, managing director of Network Rail’s London North Western route, said: “I’d like to thank passengers for their patience while we carried out our vital Railway Upgrade Plan work over the May Day bank holiday. Thousands of Network Rail staff worked around the clock so services could get back to normal this morning. This has laid a solid foundation for more railway upgrades during the late May bank holiday (25-27 May).”

Ahead of the 25-27 May Whitsun bank holiday, passengers are being advised to plan their journeys at, when sections of the West Coast main line will be closed between London Euston and Milton Keynes, and Warrington and Cumbria.

Where the line is open trains will be running but customers will have longer journeys, fewer available seats, and may need to use rail replacement buses.

Martin added: “We recognise there is never an ideal time to shut the railway for our must-do work. Bank holidays are the least disruptive time to do it, when fewer passengers use the railway compared to the working week. That way we can do the maximum amount of work while impacting the fewest number of people. Sometimes a closure is the only way we can carry out major work like replacing track or improvements to overhead electric lines.

“Train companies and Network Rail have worked together to minimise disruption for customers by doing a lot of work over the recent bank holidays. The alternative would have been closing the line and Euston station over multiple weekends throughout the summer.”

Robert Nisbet, regional director for the Rail Delivery Group, which represents the railway, said: “This vital engineering work is part of the rail industry’s plan to add more services, improve punctuality and make journeys better and as fewer people travel on bank holidays than on a normal weekday, we’re keeping disruption to a minimum. We encourage people who are planning to take the train over the May bank holidays to check before they travel by visiting or speaking to their train operator.”

Notes to editors:

Look ahead to Whitsun May bank holiday engineering work: Saturday 25 May to Monday 27 May

Passengers are being advised to plan ahead and check the best days to travel when this essential planned work takes place on the West Coast main line between Saturday 25 and Monday 27 May.

This will have a major impact including alternative routes, longer journey times and less chance of a seat.

Over the bank holiday weekend work includes:

  • Railway track replacement between Tring and Milton Keynes
  • Continued track foundation improvements in Milton Keynes
  • Track renewal at Acton Bridge station in Northwich
  • Improvements to overhead electric lines in Cumbria
  • Track foundation cleaning in Carlisle

To plan journeys and for the latest travel information visit: 

Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Network Rail press office - North West & Central Region
0330 854 0100

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.

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