Passengers urged to plan ahead of August bank holiday West Coast main line upgrades: WCML track renewals-2

Monday 20 Jul 2020

Passengers urged to plan ahead of August bank holiday West Coast main line upgrades

Region & Route:
North West & Central
  • Railway upgrades are taking place in Liverpool and Coventry between 29-31 August to improve the railway for passengers
  • Passengers are advised to plan ahead and check before they travel
  • Please continue following Government advice around the use of public transport – wear a face covering if not exempt, maintain a distance from others and avoid peak times where possible

Passengers are being advised to check before they travel with improvement work on the West Coast main line on Merseyside and in the West Midlands this August bank holiday.

The multi-million-pound investment as part of Britain’s Railway Upgrade Plan will see signalling upgrades in Liverpool* and multiple upgrades resulting in the full closure of the railway between Rugby and Coventry** between Saturday 29 and Monday 31 August 2020.

This work will make journeys more reliable on Europe’s busiest mixed-used passenger and freight railway line.

Passengers who plan to travel are being warned to expect changes to their usual journey and urged to check to see how their trip will be impacted.

They should continue to follow Government guidance on public transport – wear a face covering unless they are exempt and maintain a distance from other passengers where possible.

Jake Kelly, passenger director for Network Rail, said: “We know there is never a good time to close the railway, but when we do, we try to get as much work done as possible. This August bank holiday is no exception, with essential Railway Upgrade Plan work taking place to improve freight and passenger journeys in the West Midlands and on Merseyside.

“I’d urge people to plan ahead of this major work. In particular, I’d advise those planning to travel from Birmingham to London to try to travel before the closure of the railway between Rugby and Coventry if possible. Please check National Rail Enquiries for the latest information and be prepared for your journey to be very different to how it is normally.”

People who have to travel by rail between 29-31 August should plan ahead and be prepared for changes to their usual journey, if travelling on the affected sections of the West Coast main line.

Social distancing measures will see queuing systems in place when boarding services in some stations.

There will also be less space on trains and replacement buses. Those who do travel should wear a face covering during their journey unless they are exempt – for example young children, people with visible or hidden disabilities, and those with breathing difficulties.

Please check for the latest information.

Notes to Editors

*Essential railway improvements on the ‘Coventry corridor’

Essential railway improvements are taking place between the West Midlands and London this August bank holiday making journeys more reliable for passengers and freight.

To maximise the amount of work which can be done between Saturday 29 and Monday 31 August 2020, the railway will be entirely closed to trains between Rugby and Coventry.

With no direct services running between Birmingham and London during this time, passengers are being advised to travel before and after the railway closure, on Friday 28 August and Tuesday 1 September.

The railway will be closed again on Sunday 6 September with the same travel advice for passengers.

For those who do choose to travel during the improvement work, a reduced timetable will be in place and replacement bus services will be in operation.

Passengers are being warned to expect changes to their usual journey and should check to see how their trip will be impacted.

**Signalling upgrades at Ditton 

Passengers are advised to check before they travel ahead of the signalling work in the Liverpool City region this August bank holiday.

Trains will be diverted onto different routes during the work keeping services running in and out of Liverpool.

Some rail replacement buses will be in operation between Warrington – Runcorn and Crewe – Liverpool South Parkway.

Signalling control is being moved from Ditton to the state-of-the-art Manchester Rail Operating Centre (ROC). This will mean signallers can rapidly respond to disruption and route trains faster to minimise delays in future.

Liverpool Lime Street, Halton, Runcorn, Allerton, Speke and Garston have been moved to the same system over the last couple of years.

Please check with your train operator or at to know what to expect in advance.

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 - North West & Central Region
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.

Usually, there are almost five 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.

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