West Coast main line to undergo major track and drainage upgrades

Work taking place in Kilsby tunnel on the West Coast main line between Milton Keynes and Rugby.

The West Coast main line, which runs from London Euston to Scotland via the West Midlands, will undergo major improvement works between Rugby and Milton Keynes from Saturday 2 May until Saturday 16 May. The railway will be closed so up to 150 essential maintenance jobs can be carried out. Trains will be diverted on different routes while the work is taking place, meaning some journeys may take longer.

The works include track being replaced and major drainage improvements in the Victorian-era Kilsby tunnel near Daventry. This will stop tracks in the tunnel flooding during bad weather, making this key section of the West Coast main line more reliable for passengers and freight and improve future journeys on Europe’s busiest mixed-use passenger and freight railway line.

When complete a long-standing ‘temporary’ speed restriction imposed because of poor track quality can be lifted, ending delays experienced by thousands of passengers on the route in recent years.

James Dean, Network Rail.

Network Rail’s route director for the West Coast main line South, James Dean, said: “The West Coast main line is the backbone of Britain and keeping it maintained and running safely is a top priority. With fewer trains running because of the country’s continued effort to stop the spread of coronavirus, we have been able to prioritise and bring forward this critical work on this economically important section of railway.

“This can only be done by our dedicated railway engineers, signallers, maintenance, control room and operations staff bravely working to keep people who do need to travel by rail, and critical freight goods, moving throughout the crisis. In carrying out this work they are making sure the railway is at its best when Britain emerges from this coronavirus pandemic.”

In addition, essential upgrade work will take place on other sections of the West Coast main line on several weekends throughout May.

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