Rare track access at Birmingham New Street provides regional railway reliability boost: Network Rail maintaining overhead lines at Birmingham New Street station

Monday 8 Apr 2024

Rare track access at Birmingham New Street provides regional railway reliability boost

Region & Route:
North West & Central
| North West & Central: Central

A rare opportunity to carry out inspections and maintenance at Birmingham New Street while there were no trains running has meant passengers will have more reliable journeys in future.

While industrial action regrettably meant there were no trains through the station last Friday (5 April), Network Rail’s engineers utilised the time and train-free access to carry out inspections, repairs and maintenance.

Overhead power lines, which keep electric trains on the move, were inspected and assessed ahead of re-tensioning work later this month. With some of the overhead wires dating back to the mid-1960s it’s vital to maintain the equipment in advance of summer to help prevent sagging during spells of hot weather.

Survey work will continue at the station over the coming weeks with a later start to services on Sunday 21 and Sunday 28 April to accommodate overnight work to carry out repairs. Passengers can check the latest travel information at www.nationalrail.co.uk.

Other work carried out included track inspections and renewals, removing overgrown plants and vegetation from the side of the tracks on the approach to the station to improve the environment and appearance for passengers and the public.

Denise Wetton, route director for Network Rail Central, said: “It’s very rare that we get the opportunity to access the tracks at Birmingham New Street station in this way so we took the opportunity to carry out this extra work. It is frustrating for everyone that trains weren’t able to run because of industrial action but this work will help to provide more reliable services through Birmingham New Street in future.

“Wider improvements over Easter and work on the Cross City line to help introduce new trains means passengers and freight across the West Midlands and beyond will benefit from a better, more reliable railway. I thank passengers for their patience while these essential upgrades took place.”

The Cross City line was closed between Birmingham and Lichfield between 2 and 5 April to allow Birmingham City Council to safely carry out strengthening and refurbishment of the sections of the A38(M) Tame Valley Viaduct which crosses the railway lines near Spaghetti Junction.

During the closure, Network Rail inspected the overhead power lines, tested and replaced signalling and points cables between Wylde Green and Shenstone stations, and moved a railway signal at Lichfield Trent Valley in preparation for West Midlands Railways’ new trains on the Cross City line. 

Passengers can check www.nationalrail.co.uk for the latest travel information.

Contact information

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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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