North West passengers set to benefit from major Christmas investment: Wyre Viaduct

Thursday 16 Nov 2017

North West passengers set to benefit from major Christmas investment

London North Western
  • Liverpool Lime Street station transformation delivering new and improved journeys
  • Historic Wyre Viaduct upgrade improving reliability on the West Coast main line
  • New tracks through platforms 13 & 14 at Manchester Piccadilly boosting reliability across the north
  • Buses replacing trains on the West Coast main line between Preston and Lancaster from late on 23 to 27 December

Train customers in the North West are being urged to check before they travel on over the Christmas period as Network Rail carries out a wealth of railway improvements.

While most people are enjoying time off with loved ones, a 32,600-strong Team Orange workforce will be grafting around the clock across Britain to make the railway more reliable, reduce journey times and improve facilities and services for passengers when they return to work.

As part of the Great North Rail Project*, work will continue on the transformation of Liverpool Lime Street station, £3m will be spent replacing track at Manchester Piccadilly station and £1.8m will be spent to protect and preserve the iconic Wyre Viaduct in Lancashire.

The work is part the biggest ever Christmas investment programme - a £160m tranche in Network Rail’s five-year, £50bn Railway Upgrade Plan. 

Martin Frobisher, managing director for Network Rail’s London North Western route business, said: “Tens of thousands of customers in the north are seeing their train journeys transformed by the Great North Rail Project. This is happening right now. It’s incredibly exciting.

“The railway is up to 50% quieter than usual during the festive period. By carrying out this kind of must-do work over the Christmas break we impact as few people as possible.”

Rail Minister Paul Maynard said: “We’re committed to making rail travel in the North of England faster, more comfortable and more reliable for customers throughout the region.

“Upgrades to Wyre Viaduct and the Manchester Piccadilly and Liverpool Lime Street stations, are crucial components in a once-in-a-generation programme of upgrades that are going to transform travel in the North, with more new services, new carriages and space for an extra 40,000 more passengers a day.”​

Sharon Keith, regional director at Northern said: “The Great North Rail Project is transforming rail journeys across the north of England and the Christmas engineering schedule is a vital part of this.

“We have worked closely with colleagues at Network Rail and other train operators to keep disruption to our customers to a minimum. The work will help pave the way for better and more reliable services and sets the tone for 2018 and beyond.”

Chris Nutton, Major Projects Director for TransPennine Express said: “The work taking place over Christmas is key to improving rail travel across the North and will allow us to run longer trains with more seats as well as introducing brand new services. 

“I would encourage anyone using trains over the festive period to plan ahead and check before they travel.” 

Overall there will be less disruption for rail users this year as most of the investment work – some 50% more than last year – has been scheduled on Christmas Day and Boxing Day when no trains run.

A breakdown of how some journeys will be affected can be found by visiting and following #ChristmasBHWorks on Twitter.

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 -London North Western route
0330 854 0100

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.

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