Friday 26 Feb 2016
Railway Upgrade Plan to deliver better, more reliable railway for passengers and freight in the south west and Thames Valley this Easter
Hundreds of thousands of passengers and businesses using rail freight are set to benefit from one of the biggest Easter investment programmes ever carried out on Britain’s rail network.
On the Western route Network Rail’s orange army will be working over the Easter period to deliver a £37m slice of the company’s £40bn Railway Upgrade Plan to provide a bigger, better, more reliable railway for passengers and businesses.
The upgrade work is extensive and includes:
- Track lowering and station improvements between Bath and Bristol to prepare the Great Western Main Line for the arrival of a new fleet of longer, faster, quieter and greener electric trains.
- Installing the foundations for the overhead electrification equipment that is essential to power the new electric trains to run underneath. This process is known as ‘piling’ and will take place at various locations in the Thames Valley.
- Platform improvements at West Ealing, Southall and Hayes and Harlington stations in preparation for Crossrail services that will better connect the south east with London.
- Track improvement work at Maidenhead station as part of the Crossrail programme that will also provide greater reliability for passengers.
- Piling and installing the overhead steel work and electric wires between Stockley junction and Maidenhead in preparation for the Great Western Electrification Programme and Crossrail services.
This programme of improvement work will begin late on Thursday, 24 March, once the last trains have run and has been timed to take advantage of a relatively quieter time of the year when, on average, fewer than half the usual 4.5m people use the railway each day – enabling Network Rail and train operators to minimise disruption as much as possible.
As the majority of this work can only take place when trains aren’t running, some services in the Thames Valley and south west will be affected which is why a comprehensive advertising campaign is under way to make sure passengers are able to make informed decisions about their travel over the Easter period.
Mark Langman, Network Rail’s managing director for the Western route, said: “This Easter, our army of rail workers will be working round the clock to deliver our Railway Upgrade Plan, providing better, more reliable journeys for passengers and businesses across Britain.
“I’m acutely conscious that many people want to use the railway during the Easter holidays but with fewer people travelling by train over this period it is a good time to undertake these massive improvement projects.
“Passengers have shown themselves to be incredibly understanding of planned improvement work and I’d like to thank them in advance for their support and understanding as we deliver the big improvements that the travelling public want to see.
“The number of people travelling by rail continues to grow to record levels. Our work this Easter forms a key part of our Railway Upgrade Plan to meet surging demand and improve and expand our congested railway network.”
Notes to editors
- The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail’s £40bn spending plan for Britain’s railways for the five year period up to 31 March 2019. The plan is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to tremendous growth the railways have seen – a doubling of passengers in the past twenty years. The plan will deliver a bigger, better railway with more trains, longer trains, faster trains with more infrastructure, more reliable infrastructure and better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.
- Easter work on the Western route in numbers:
- 3,790 concrete sleepers will be installed
- 22, 766 tons of ballast (the stones under the track) will be laid
- 3,228 metres of track will be renewed
- 50 engineering trains will be used to deliver the work
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.