Monday 23 Jan 2017
Network Rail successfully delivers £85 million of Christmas upgrades to benefit passengers
Network Rail’s Orange Army worked throughout the festive period to deliver upgrades on the Great Western route and Crossrail, with 413,992 combined hours – over 47 years – contributed over 10 days of upgrade work to deliver a bigger, better railway for passengers.
Some of the benefits from the upgrade are already available for passengers, with platform extensions at Hayes & Harlington station allowing new electric trains to run on a new half hourly service to London Paddington from the start of January. The upgraded service means there is now an additional 6,550 seats a day in each direction.
On Crossrail, more than 4,000 workers were out on the railway over the ten-day Christmas period executing carefully planned work which will ultimately integrate the new tunnels beneath London with the existing rail network. This is vital as three quarters of the route – which will be known as the Elizabeth line from 2018 – will run above ground in outer London, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Essex, bringing 1.5 million more people within 45 minutes of central London.
The Christmas period upgrade work also saw the opening the second ramp of the Stockley Flyover at Heathrow junction and a new diveunder at Acton. These major new structures have been built as part of the Crossrail project but will be used by GWR and Heathrow Express trains, adding capacity and improving reliability on this busy section of the Great Western Main Line.
At London Paddington, the footbridge across Platforms 1 to 5 was raised and platforms 12 was extended to prepare for the new longer electric trains running from Hayes and Harlington; and in preparation for new Intercity Express trains.
Due to the work taking place at Paddington, the station was closed for an unprecedented six days, with services diverted to Ealing Broadway. As part of Network Rail’s formal alliance with GWR, the two organisations worked closely to successfully manage operations from Paddington to Ealing Broadway for the duration of the closure.
The work carried out to facilitate the new Intercity Express trains also included the remodelling of Maidenhead station, signalling work at Didcot, station work at Swindon and electrical power supply at Chippenham.
Piling work was also successfully completed in Chippenham over Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day as work continues to electrify the Great Western Main Line.
Mark Langman, Network Rail’s route managing director, said: “It is fantastic to see our biggest ever Christmas upgrade benefitting so many passengers already – it’s what they have been asking us to do. The new electric trains running from Hayes & Harlington to London Paddington are a true upgrade – to have thousands of extra seats, more frequent trains and a more reliable service is just the start of an exciting time for the railway in our region.
“The upgrade will also see wider benefits with bottlenecks reduced and significant work delivered in preparation for electrification on the Great Western main line. We’d like to thank passengers who showed great patience with the disrupted services whilst we delivered this critical work over this year’s festive season.”
Great Western & Crossrail Christmas work figures:
£85.4m Total spend on works over the festive period
413,992 Project hours worked across the region
35,877 Tonnes of ballast laid
4,256 Concrete sleepers laid
428 Axle counters commissioned
253 Number of on-track machines (on Crossrail).
75 Engineering trains in use
35 Point ends installed/brought into use
21 Locations for Station works (Platform works, lift installations, driver only operation, others)
5 Kirow Cranes used (on Crossrail)
5 Bridges (demolition & reconstruction)
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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.