Passengers who must travel urged to plan ahead over Late May Bank Holiday weekend: Social distancing at work: Safety has been paramount on the Gatwick project. Here, engineers pull a cable into position

Tuesday 19 May 2020

Passengers who must travel urged to plan ahead over Late May Bank Holiday weekend

Region & Route:
  • Passengers should only travel if they have to over forthcoming Late May Bank Holiday
  • Network Rail’s engineering works – designed to improve passengers’ journeys in future – will affect some routes
  • Passengers who do have to travel should check before they travel

Network Rail is reminding passengers to continue following Government advice around the use of public transport as it prepares to carry out 490 projects over the Late May Bank Holiday weekend to maintain and upgrade the railway for passengers.

The advice to passengers remains that they should only use public transport if they have to, and if possible they should use other methods such as walking, cycling or driving. If a journey must be made by rail, people are urged to follow Government guidelines to keep themselves safe, such as adhering to social distancing guidelines and wearing face coverings.

Passengers who do need to travel are asked to plan their journey in advance to check whether their route is affected by the works taking place.

Andrew Haines, Network Rail chief executive, said: 

“While Britain tackles the Coronavirus and social distancing is in place, the railway can carry a fraction of the usual number of passengers. So to make sure there is space for critical workers, please avoid travelling by train unless absolutely necessary. 

“This bank holiday, to make sure our railway is at its very best when we emerge from this pandemic, we are continuing to work on and invest in the rail network to make it more reliable for passengers. That means some journeys may be different, so if you have to travel please check your journey before leaving home.”

 In line with Government advice, Network Rail continues to proceed with engineering work that is required to maintain a safe and operational railway.

The major projects to be carried out over this Late May Bank Holiday include:

  • A range of work in the Leeds area, including the ongoing construction of a new Platform Zero at Leeds station, installation of new switches and crossings at platforms 1-5, and track improvement work between Leeds and Wakefield Westgate. This work at Leeds is part of a £161m investment to increase capacity and provide better connections for passengers in Yorkshire. There will be no direct rail service between Leeds and Harrogate over the Late May Bank Holiday weekend, and a reduced service will operate through Wakefield Westgate on Sunday 24 May.


  • The installation of almost a mile of new track between Fareham and Eastleigh to help improve train performance in the area. The line between Fareham and Eastleigh will be closed between 23-29 May, with replacement buses in operation.


  • Renewal of switches and crossings between London Victoria and Herne Hill/Peckham Rye, which will improve passenger safety and the reliability of the track. This will mean no Southern or Thameslink services running to/from London Victoria over the Bank Holiday weekend.


  • The testing of new trains in the Bethnal Green area, which will be carried out to improve passenger safety. This will result in c2c services being diverted to Fenchurch Street.


  • Switches and crossings re-ballast works in the Wolverhampton area will be carried out to improve the reliability of rail infrastructure. Avanti West Coast and CrossCountry services will not call at Wolverhampton on Sunday 24 May. Services in and out of London Euston will be affected by this and other works taking place on the West Coast main line, including track renewal at Cheddington and between Crewe and Warrington, to improve track quality.


  • Switches and crossings renewals at Carlisle, and earthworks between Preston and Lancaster, to mitigate against future extreme weather events. This will affect services between Manchester Airport/Liverpool Lime Street and Preston.

Passengers who do need to travel are advised to check their journeys in advance, either with their train operator directly or via National Rail Enquiries.


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 - James Crook
Network Rail
07732 644202

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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