Network Rail engineers gear up for £135m investment in Britain’s railway this May: NR engineer

Friday 26 Apr 2024

Network Rail engineers gear up for £135m investment in Britain’s railway this May

Region & Route:

More than 800 projects* will take place across Britain’s railway this coming early and late May bank holidays, designed to keep the vast majority of the network open for travel as usual.

Unlike the Easter bank holiday, only one day sees significant disruption to a main line London terminal next month, as most projects take the form of a “normal” weekend of engineering taking place overnight when passenger trains aren’t running.

Unlike roads, railways are usually quieter during weekends, particularly on key commuter routes into major cities, providing an opportunity to improve our railway whilst minimising disruption for passengers and freight users. While most projects can take place over one or two days, bank holidays give three clear days when bigger improvements can take place.

This May the most notable projects are:

Early May Bank Holiday (4-6 May)

  • Work on the new station at Cambridge South means disruption on routes around the city.
  • Track renewals around Coventry will see no trains running between Birmingham Airport and Rugby/Leamington Spa.
  • On Sunday, 5 May, there will be no trains between Euston and Milton Keynes Central and no services from England to Glasgow on the same day owing to improvement work on the West Coast Main Line at Crewe, Wigan and other locations.
  • Track renewals around Liverpool on Sunday and Monday, 5-6 May.

Late May Bank Holiday (25-27 May)

  • A project to refurbish a junction in north London means that services between London Liverpool Street – Enfield Town / Cheshunt will be affected on Sunday 26, Monday 27 and Tuesday 28.
  • Major work continues on the building of the new station at Beaulieu Park on the Great Eastern main line, a few miles east of Chelsmford, resulting in significant changes to services on this route including to Colchester, Ipswich and Norwich.
  • Major work around both Crewe and Carlisle, to improve drainage, lay new track and new sets of points, will mean an amended – and reduced – service on the West Coast Main Line over all three days of the bank holiday.
  • Track renewals between Carstairs and Lanark in Scotland will also affect West Coast Main Line services over Saturday 25 and Sunday 26.

Network Rail’s System Operator director, Anit Chandarana, said: “I’m pleased to say that while we’re continuing our investment in making Britain’s railway more reliable this May, the vast majority of the railway will be open for business as normal. We know people want to travel by train and not replacement bus and we do our best to fit as much work as we can into these closures to minimise the impact on passengers and freight customers.

“The work this month will see new track laid on one of the busiest mixed-use railway in the world – the West Coast Main Line – along with work to replace worn out equipment at junctions at Crewe. We’ve also got more work to build a new station at Cambridge South, which will play a key role in developing the city and its new biomedical campus in a sustainable way. That’s what the railway does best and it’s great to see that continuing this year.”

Train drivers who are members of the ASLEF union will stage three, one-day, strikes across different train operating companies between 7 to 9 May and an overtime ban across 16 train companies from Monday 6 to Saturday 11 May, which may lead to short-notice cancellations.

Customers are urged to check before they travel because there will be changes to services across large parts of the network, with some train operators not running any services on strike days. Special timetables will be available on National Rail Enquiries and journey planners by 1 May.  

For information on their journeys, passengers should check with National Rail Enquiries or with their operator.

*487 projects in the early May bank holiday, worth £75m

 324 projects in the late May Bank Holiday, worth £60m

Contact information

Passengers / community members
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.

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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