In the North West and Central region – which runs from Euston and Marylebone in London to Scotland via the West Midlands and North West – Network Rail teams took advantage of the lack of trains scheduled on Christmas Day/Boxing Day 2019 to complete a variety of work that would otherwise have disrupted traffic and inconvenienced passengers.
Thousands of Network Rail staff worked on the rail network around the clock between the last train on Christmas Eve and the first train on 27 of December. The projects on which they were engaged included:
- Work in and around London Euston station in preparation for HS2;
- Work on overhead wire stanchions at Bletchley ahead of a new flyover being built across the West Coast main line to carry East West Rail between Oxford and Bedford;
- Track being replaced in Tring and Crewe stations;
- Railway drainage improvements between Preston and Lancaster;
- Ballast replacement in Wolverhampton;
- Ongoing preparation work for the full resignalling of Birmingham New Street in 2022.
After the successful completion of the planned work, Tim Shoveller, managing director of Network Rail’s North West and Central region, said: “While people enjoyed time with their friends and families over Christmas, thousands of Network Rail staff worked tirelessly to maintain and improve the railway to provide passengers with better, more reliable journeys.
“I thank passengers and our lineside neighbours for their patience while we carried out this vital work to secure the future of our network.”
Although the Christmas work is now complete, more work will take place before and during the New Year break.
Chiltern services will be impacted by work to replace track near Haddenham and Thame Parkway on 29 and 30 December.
In the North West, track will also be replaced, and a foot crossing renewed near Warrington between 1 and 2 January.
Commenting on the need to carry out work and close lines over Christmas and the New Year, Tim Shoveller added: “I know there is never a good time to disrupt journeys while we carry out large pieces of work but, whenever possible, we do this at times when there are significantly fewer people travelling by train, such as over Christmas and the New Year.
“I appreciate people have important plans, so I urge them to please plan ahead and check before they travel for the latest journey information.”