WEST COAST MAIN LINE – REBUILT FOR THE 21ST CENTURY (MK): West Coast Euston Throat landscape ad generic

Monday 8 Jun 2009


Region & Route:
| North West & Central

As Network Rail ramps up the work on its £35bn five year plan to improve Britain’s railway it marks the completion of one of its biggest re-building projects with a new advertising campaign. One of Britain’s best loved actors Bernard Hill (Théoden in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy; Yosser Hughes in Boys from the Blackstuff) provides the voiceover for the television commercial which airs for the first time today.

The ‘New West Coast main line’ campaign showcases the major upgrade of the country’s main rail artery which has slashed journey times and resulted in more trains with more seats for passengers.

For Milton Keynes Central, this has meant:

  • Five services an hour to London
  • More 12-car trains running during peak times
  • Significantly improved weekend services - weekday frequencies and journey times all day on Saturdays and from 1200 on Sundays.

The West Coast main line upgrade is one of the biggest civil engineering projects ever undertaken in this country. The ad campaign celebrates British engineering at its best and underlines the fact that Network Rail has a massive array of projects ongoing across the country and is looking for high calibre people to help deliver them.

Network Rail’s chief executive, Iain Coucher said: "We are justifiably proud of what we have achieved on the West Coast main line – Europe’s busiest mixed use railway. Built in the 19th century, we have rebuilt it for the 21st. The campaign highlights the huge benefits for passengers and we hope this will persuade more people to get out of their car, shun internal flights and get on the train – the most environmentally-friendly option.

"Passengers are voting with their feet already – in 2004 rail only took a one-third share of London to Manchester journeys. Today it takes two-thirds and is still growing."

Mr Coucher added: “The West Coast programme shows that Network Rail can deliver on major projects. It was difficult at times and we have built on these experiences to improve our delivery ever since. In the next few years we will transform Britain’s railways with schemes such as Thameslink, Airdrie-Bathgate, Reading and the Great Western line, Crossrail, Birmingham New Street, King’s Cross and the Glasgow airport link. This is an exciting time to work on the railway and we are looking for world class people to join our team to make this a reality.”

Notes to editors

The ‘New West Coast main line’ is a six-week campaign consisting of television and cinema advertisements along with outdoor poster and regional media advertising. West Coast in detail: The new timetable introduced on Sunday 14 December 2008 delivered a 30%+ increase in services - over 1,000 new services each week - and up to a 30% cut in journey times. Highlights of the new services include: • Three Virgin trains per hour to Birmingham, up from two • Three Virgin trains per hour to Manchester, up from two • 50% increase in Sunday services • London Midland has doubled services between Birmingham and Liverpool and introduced a new service on the Trent Valley line from Crewe to London Euston (this service means trains are calling at Stone in Staffordshire for the first time in five years). • Typical journey times: London Euston to Glasgow: 4hrs 31mins Manchester Piccadilly to London Euston: 2hrs 08mins Birmingham to London Euston: 1hr 24mins Liverpool to London Euston 2hrs 08 mins The £9bn West Coast main line upgrade - the scale of the job • Changes to all 13 major junctions on the route, including a significant bottleneck at Rugby, enabling trains to travel at up to 125mph • Laying more than 36 kilometres of new track through the Trent Valley, meaning that four tracks now run nearly all the way from London to Crewe • Rebuilt, modernised and replaced174 bridges, over 2000 signals and 430 miles of track • 53 new or extended platforms at places like Milton Keynes and Manchester Airport • Replacing over 800 points (the bits of track that move trains from one line to another) • Line speed improvements across the whole line, including between Preston, Carlisle and Motherwell and between London Euston and Wembley Background When Network Rail took over management of the West Coast project in 2003 the final cost had spiralled to £14.5bn (Source: National Audit Office report, November 2006). The projected cost today is £9bn, well within the £9.9bn estimate made in 2003.

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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.

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