Monday 6 Nov 2017
Passengers set to benefit from bumper Christmas
- Significant passengers benefits to be realised in the months ahead as Network Rail mega-projects start to draw to a close
- Less passenger disruption this year despite more than £160m to be invested in the biggest Christmas railway investment programme ever undertaken
- Thousands of new services and trains start to come into operation in 2018 as a result of the Christmas investment programme
- London Bridge station will be all but complete with the final section of the new concourse and brand new platforms 1-5 open for the first time
Tens of thousands of passengers are set to benefit from thousands of new, more frequent services being introduced from next year as a result of Network Rail's biggest ever Christmas investment programme – a £160m investment and a part of the £50bn Railway Upgrade Plan.
A 32,600 strong workforce will work around the clock this holiday season to deliver more reliable infrastructure, reduced journey times and improved facilities and services for passengers when they return to work.
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 for when no trains are planned to run, such as on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Over 95% of the network is unaffected by the work programme that will see 260 projects delivered across 3,400 worksites throughout Britain over the holiday period.
However, some routes will see significant changes to normal services and so passengers need to plan their journeys as early as possible this Christmas.
Mark Carne, chief executive at Network Rail, said: “Thousands of passengers are on the cusp of seeing their rail journeys transformed in the months ahead as our massive £50bn Railway Upgrade Plan reaches its final stages with the introduction of thousands of new services, now, just around the corner.
"This Christmas will see over 30,000 dedicated and hardworking railway people working round the clock to deliver a bigger and better railway for the millions of people who rely on it every day.
"While most of the network is open for business as usual, some routes are heavily affected and so we strongly advise passengers to plan ahead this Christmas.
“We know that our railway is up to 50% quieter than usual during the festive period so taking on and delivering these huge transformational schemes at this time of year minimises our impact on passengers who, so research shows, understand the need for such activity."
Work on a few vital projects will begin on Saturday 23 December giving engineers four clear days to make significant progress on major projects that will deliver numerous passenger benefits.
A breakdown of how some journeys will be affected can be found by visiting nationalrail.co.uk/Christmas and following #ChristmasBHWorks on Twitter.
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 36,000 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.