Monday 31 Oct 2016
Network Rail encourages passengers to plan journeys early ahead of Christmas upgrade work
Network Rail is advising passengers to plan their journeys as early as possible this Christmas. This is ahead of another huge programme of upgrade work with up to 200 projects being delivered across Britain over this holiday period.
This essential programme of investment is part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan that provides more and faster services to help relieve over-crowding and responds to the tremendous growth encountered on Britain's railways.
Phil Hufton, managing director England & Wales at Network Rail, said: “Work takes place all year round as part of our railway upgrade plan, but we usually carry out larger upgrades over bank holidays as this is when passenger numbers are at their lowest. This Christmas will see significant investment in our railway with thousands of Network Rail’s orange army working hard to deliver hundreds of crucial projects to improve Britain’s railways. This will mean changes to services over the festive period, so we strongly advise passengers to plan their journeys as early as possible.
“Despite our essential upgrades the vast majority of the rail network, more than 90%, remains unaffected and will be open for business as usual. This vital investment will make the railway more reliable for years to come, while improving journeys for thousands of passengers. There’s never a good time to impact on journeys and I’d like to thank passengers in advance for their patience.”
Larger pieces of work are planned for bank holidays as they are generally quieter periods with fewer – up to 50% fewer – passengers travelling by rail. Work on a few major projects will begin on Christmas Eve, a Saturday this year and a quieter time for rail travel, giving engineers and maintenance teams four clear days to make significant progress on major projects that will deliver numerous passenger benefits.
Passengers are being advised to plan their journeys more carefully this year as there will be significant changes to train services out of London Paddington and London Liverpool Street. A breakdown of how journeys may be affected can be found by visiting nationalrail.co.uk/Christmas and following #ChristmasWorks on Twitter.
The following are some of the biggest projects being delivered this Christmas:
- Crossrail West: Work taking place between Old Oak Common, Stockley, Hayes, Acton and Maidenhead sees significant changes to services out of London Paddington from Christmas Eve including services to Heathrow
- Crossrail East: Major upgrades in preparation for new services in 2017 will mean that bus replacements and diversions will be in place to some services out of London Liverpool Street on the Great Eastern main line to Colchester, Ipswich and Norwich from 23 December until 4 January
- Northern Hub: Large scale work taking place on Manchester’s Ordsall Chord project will mean bus replacements and diversions from Oxford Road station from 18 December to early hours on 28 December
- Thameslink: Major improvement work on the approaches to London Bridge means there will be no Southeastern services to London Bridge and Charing Cross from 24-28 December or to Cannon Street from 24-27 December
- Cardiff Area Signalling Renewal: This Christmas will see significant work in the Cardiff area as new signalling and tracks are brought on-stream. There will be no train services late on Christmas Eve between Cardiff Central, Bridgend, Newport and the Valleys and there will be bus replacements and diversions in place between Cardiff Central, Bridgend, Newport and the Valleys from 27 December until 3 January
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Notes to editors:
Additional information on large-scale projects being delivered this Christmas:
- Description: Work taking place at several sites on Crossrail’s western section with work beginning in the early hours of Christmas Eve through to the morning of Tuesday 3 January, including: between Paddington and Acton; Acton and Stockley; and Stockley and Ruscombe. London Underground will also be installing new equipment at Earls Court and carrying out upgrade work on parts of the line
- Impact: There will be disruption to services out of London Paddington from the early hours on Christmas Eve through to Tuesday 3 January which means that passengers travelling to and from London need to interchange at Ealing Broadway station up until Thursday 29 December. There will be no Heathrow Express services from the station and Great Western Railway services will be terminating at Ealing Broadway from Christmas Eve until Thursday 29 December. There will be reduced train services from Friday 30 December to Tuesday 3 January
- Description: A number of major upgrades are being carried out by Network Rail on this section of the route in preparation for the arrival of the new Elizabeth line services from 2017. This includes signalling, track and overhead line work from Friday 23 December through to Wednesday 4 January. The Crossrail project will provide new trains, better stations and quicker, easier, more reliable journeys for passengers in east London and Essex
- Impact: Bus replacements and diversions will be in place across some parts of the route with travellers to and from London required to interchange at Newbury Park tube station
- Description: Since October 2015 work has been taking place on the Ordsall Chord. This will be 300 metres of new track which will create a link between Manchester city centre’s main train stations for the first time. However, for this vital piece of track to be fitted, a huge amount of work needs to take place beforehand. This includes realigning existing track, building new bridges, removing disused arches and restoring Grade I listed structures. This is part of our plan to stimulate economic growth in the north of England through better connections between key towns and cities.
- Impact: Ordsall Chord work between Manchester Victoria and Manchester Piccadilly will mean bus replacements and diversions from Oxford Road station for 10 days from Sunday 18 December to early Wednesday 28 December
- Description: From Christmas Eve until Wednesday 28 December, major work on the approaches to London Bridge as part of the Thameslink programme as well as track renewals at New Cross, will mean changes to services into London Bridge, London Cannon Street and London Charing Cross.
- Impact: There are no trains at Charing Cross, Waterloo East, St Johns and New Cross; Only Hastings trains will be going to and from London Bridge; There is a very limited service to and from London Cannon Street with only Greenwich Line trains running; Trains are diverted to Victoria or Blackfriars and will be busier than usual
- Description: As part of a £300m scheme to modernise the railway in South Wales – the biggest investment in the Welsh network for more than 100 years – CASR is a congestion-busting scheme that will also help to deliver a more reliable railway across the Cardiff and Valleys network. The work over Christmas will significant new signalling and track bein brought on-stream and starts on Christmas Eve until 3 January
- Impact: There will be no train services late on Christmas Eve between Cardiff Central, Bridgend, Newport and the Valleys and there will be bus replacements and diversions in place between Cardiff Central, Bridgend, Newport and the Valleys from 27 December until 3 January
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 38,000 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.