Monday 15 Apr 2019
Passengers urged to travel either side of Easter holiday with major work planned on West Coast main line
- Major work means changes to journeys on the West Coast main line
- London Euston railway station will be closed
- Passengers advised to travel on days other than 19-22 April and 4-6 May
Network Rail today warned of major changes to train passengers’ journeys over the Easter and early May bank holiday weekends.
With work starting in four days, passengers are being advised to check the best days to travel as engineers carry out essential planned work on the West Coast main line.
Euston will be closed over the Easter weekend (19-22 April) and the early May bank holiday weekend (4-6 May) with no trains in or out of the main line station on those days.
This will have a major impact on journeys including alternative routes, longer travel times and busier trains than normal.
Network Rail is carrying out work at London Euston, in the West Midlands, the North West and Cumbria as part of Britain’s Railway Upgrade Plan.
The upgrades at Euston are in preparation for HS2, Britain’s new high-speed railway and includes work to clear additional concourse space to help customers move more freely around the station.
Elsewhere on the West Coast main line several sections of track will be completely replaced over both bank holidays, as well as upgrades to overhead lines, signals and points.
Network Rail and the wider industry has been running an awareness campaign since early February warning train customers of the impacts of Railway Upgrade Plan work over both weekends.
Martin Frobisher, route managing director for Network Rail’s London North Western route, said: “We recognise there is never an ideal time to shut the railway for our must-do work. Bank holidays are the least disruptive time to do it, when fewer passengers use the railway compared to the working week. That way we can do the maximum amount of work while impacting the fewest number of people.
“Train companies and Network Rail have worked together to minimise disruption for customers by doing a lot of work over the Easter and early May bank holidays. The alternative would have been closing the line and Euston station over multiple weekends throughout the summer.”
Passengers are being advised to plan their journeys at www.nationalrail.co.uk between 19-22 April and 4-6 May, when:
- Euston station will be closed to main line train services
- Sections of the West Coast main line will be closed between London Euston and Birmingham, and Merseyside and Cumbria
- The best time to travel will be on days before and after the bank holiday weekends
Where the line is open trains will be running but customers will have longer journeys, fewer available seats, and may need to use rail replacement buses.
Martin added: “The purpose of our essential maintenance and upgrade work is to keep the railway safe and reliable for the hundreds of thousands of passengers who use it every week. To ensure they know what to expect, I would urge passengers to plan journeys in advance and to check the best days to travel at www.nationalrail.co.uk and with their train operators.”
Robert Nisbet, regional director for the Rail Delivery Group, which represents the railway, said: “Train companies and Network Rail are working together to make big improvements to today’s railway to add more services, improve punctuality and make journeys better. There’s never a good time to carry out vital engineering work but fewer people travel on bank holidays than on a normal weekday. We’d encourage people to check before they travel by visiting National Rail Enquiries or speaking to their train operator.”
Peter Broadley, executive director for customer, operations and safety at Virgin Trains, said: “With no services into or out of Euston we strongly advise our customers to avoid travelling to and from London on the days affected. We know this will impact on people’s travel plans, so to make it easier we have removed afternoon peak time ticket restrictions from London on Maundy Thursday to allow customers to make an earlier start to their Easter weekend.”
Passengers can plan their journeys and check before they travel at www.nationalrail.co.uk.
Notes to editors:
Work at Easter between Good Friday (19 April) to Easter Monday (22 April)
Best days to travel: Thursday 18 April and Tuesday 23 April.
Work on the West Coast main line between London Euston, Rugby, Milton Keynes and Birmingham International includes:
- Primrose Hill tunnel strengthening
- Preparation for HS2, Britain’s new high-speed railway
- Work to improve points at Willesden Junction
- Track foundation improvements between High Wycombe and Leighton Buzzard
- Maintenance work to Bletchley railway flyover
- Preparation for the future East West Rail link between Bicester and Bedford
- Track renewal between Till Hill and Canley near Coventry
Work on the West Coast main line between Runcorn, Carlisle and Glasgow includes:
- Railway track being replaced at Golborne near Warrington
- Renewal of overhead electric lines at Acton Grange in Warrington
- Bridge renovation and strengthening at Coppull Moor Lane in Chorley
- Work to improve points and rail replacement at Milnthorpe in South Lakeland
- Track foundation improvements and work to overhead electric lines at Carnforth
- Track foundation improvements at Upperby in Carlisle
Work on Merseyside and in Greater Manchester includes:
- Merseyrail platform upgrades: between Sunday 7 April and Tuesday 23 April, station platforms and track will be remodelled between Bidston to West Kirby on the Merseyrail network to prepare for the arrival of new, state-of-the-art trains in 2020.
- Manchester Victoria to Stalybridge: work to install telecommunications cabling and overhead line work taking place between Saturday 20 and Easter Monday.
Look ahead to early May bank holiday engineering work: Saturday 4 May to Monday 6 May
Best days to travel: Thursday 3 May and Tuesday 7 May
Some of the work carried out at Easter will need to be continued between Saturday 4 and Monday 6 May.
Passengers are being advised to plan ahead and check the best days to travel when this essential planned work takes place on the West Coast main line.
This will have a major impact including alternative routes, longer journey times and less chance of a seat.
Over the bank holiday weekend:
- Euston station will be closed to main line train services as work takes place to prepare for HS2, Britain’s new high-speed railway.
- Track will be replaced between Willesden and Watford, and track maintenance carried out in the Milton Keynes area.
- The West Coast main line will be closed between Crewe and Carlisle. Multiple projects will be taking place including track and overhead line maintenance and track renewal between Crewe and Carlisle.
To plan journeys and for the latest travel information visit: www.nationalrail.co.uk/westcoast
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
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.