Network Rail successfully completes Christmas improvements on the Midland Main Line: Network Rail successfully completes Christmas improvements on the Midland Main Line

Thursday 3 Jan 2019

Network Rail successfully completes Christmas improvements on the Midland Main Line

Region & Route:
London North Eastern & East Midlands

Network Rail has successfully completed two major pieces of festive engineering work which will improve the Midland Main Line, enhancing the route for all passengers who use it.

From Christmas Eve to Wednesday, 2 January, over 160 Network Rail engineers worked to upgrade the southern end of the route. Work took place to upgrade the track layout in Northamptonshire by installing ten new switches and crossings, the specialist piece of equipment which allows trains to move from one piece of railway to another, just north of Wellingborough station.

This work was a major part  of the construction of an additional line between Bedford and Kettering as part of the Midland Main Line Upgrade and will create the capability for six trains to London St Pancras per hour, up from the current five by the end of 2020. Network Rail has released time-lapse footage showing the project taking place.


Major work to renew and replace the concrete slab which supports the track in Kentish Town also took place. Almost 50 metres of deteriorating concrete slab were removed and over 80 metres of new track bed with improved drainage was installed during 14,000 hours of work, which will create a more reliable railway for passengers.

Both pieces of work meant changes to train services for passengers using the route over the festive period. Network Rail worked closely with East Midlands Trains and Govia Thameslink Railway to keep passengers moving and disruption to a minimum. All train services are now back up and running.

Rob McIntosh, Route Managing Director for Network Rail, said: “These projects are planned meticulously and take place over the festive period as this is when fewer people travel. We are delighted that they are now complete and passengers will begin reaping the benefits.

“The work at Wellingborough is part of the Midland Main Line Upgrade and makes it possible to run more train services by the end of 2020. At Kentish Town, the project means we can continue to keep trains running reliably and safely for years to come.

“We’d like to thank passengers for their patience whilst this vital work took place. Projects like these mean we can continue to provide a service which meets the needs of the communities and economies our railway serves.”

Jake Kelly, Managing Director for East Midlands Trains, said: “We’re pleased to have worked with Network Rail to successfully complete these large scale pieces of work which are part of the major investment being made to improve the Midland Main Line route.

“We’d also like to take the opportunity to say thank you to our customers for bearing with us whilst these works have been taking place.”

Steve White, Chief Operating Officer of Govia Thameslink Railway, said: "Investment in works such as these, modernising the railway to improve capacity and reliability, is vitally important for our passengers and I would like to thank them for their patience."


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 - Amy Brenndorfer
Media Relations Manager

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.

Follow us on Twitter: @networkrail
Visit our online newsroom: