Media statement from Network Rail: Network Rail's CEO, Mark Carne

Monday 29 Dec 2014

Media statement from Network Rail


A number of vital rail projects in Network Rail’s £200m investment programme to improve and maintain Britain's railway have been completed this morning as millions of people return to work by train.

Mark Carne, chief executive, has made the following statement:"While we have completed a huge amount of work across the country which will improve millions of journeys, the last few days for many passengers have been miserable and again I apologise for the disruption this caused. The track work outside King's Cross has now been completed and we now move our focus to completing the other important projects over the New Year without any further unplanned disruption to passengers.

“Following the problems experienced at King’s Cross and Paddington over Christmas, I have instructed Dr Francis Paonessa, who is the Network Rail infrastructure projects director, to provide a report into the sequence of events and associated decision making that led to the problems experienced and to advise any immediate steps that we need to take to increase the robustness of our works delivery capability. I expect the report by the end of next week and I intend to publish the findings.

“The events over the Christmas period highlighted the unacceptable impact on the travelling public when plans go wrong. I therefore propose that there should also be a broader, industry-wide review, into the timing of our major works programmes and the passenger contingency arrangements for such works. Our railway now carries more passengers than ever before in history. Passengers rely on the railway. We have an obligation to manage the essential safety maintenance and renewal activity that is required and we need to do this in a manner that minimises the overall impact on society at large. I will discuss this review with industry parties in the coming days before formalising the terms of reference for this review.”

Over the holiday period, an army of over 11,000 engineers are working across 2,000 worksites on 300 projects in the biggest Christmas and New Year investment programme ever carried out on Britain’s rail network.

Engineering work completed includes:

• West Coast Main Line: The latest phase of upgrade work at Watford, Norton Bridge and Stafford has completed. After the last trains on Christmas Eve, work took place at Watford until early this morning to replace and install new sections of railway and bring into use a new modern signalling system.

At Norton Bridge and Stafford engineers worked until the early hours of Sunday 28 December as part of a £250m package of improvements to improve the line and build a new flyover to remove the last remaining bottleneck on the West Coast main line.

• East Coast Main Line: Between London King’s Cross and Peterborough more than 1000 people worked to complete 13 different projects. Further north, projects included bridge improvements in Dewsbury and Newcastle and track improvements near York and on the Doncaster to Leeds line. The line out of King's Cross is now running to the planned timetable.

• Midland Main Line: On the route serving St Pancras hundreds of people completed projects including signalling alterations for the Thameslink project; the demolition and partial reconstruction of two bridges for the Midland Main Line electrification project and track improvements between Kettering and Corby and at Toton.

• Thameslink: New signalling has successfully been installed on the New Cross Gate to Sydenham corridor and also in South London near Bermondsey allowing resumption of planned Southern and London Overground passenger services.

Work to replace tracks at the entrance to the Hornsey Depot in North London has also been completed. This means that GoVia Thameslink can resume operation of their planned service on the Great Northern route.

• Scotland: The Edinburgh to Glasgow Improvement Project team demolished the roof of Carmuirs Tunnel, near Falkirk. They will install a new tunnel over the New Year break.

Signalling was renewed between Haymarket and Inverkeithing and track work was undertaken in Queen Street Tunnel, Glasgow.

• Anglia: Track renewals have been carried out between Stratford and Shenfield and upgrades to the overhead line equipment on the Great Eastern Main Line has been completed. Two bridges on the Gospel Oak to Barking line have been replaced. At Chadwell Heath work is underway on the eastern section of Crossrail.

• Wales: A bridge was replaced a bridge over the River Teme on the line between Hereford and Shrewsbury. Bridge demolition work was also successfully completed on the South Wales Main Line between Newport and Cardiff as part of electrification works.

Latest information on rail travel over the New Year period can be found at:

Contact information

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Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

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Network Rail press office - National
020 3356 8700

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.

Every day, there are more than 4.8 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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