A successful Easter for Network Rail

Overhead view of the new Hythe Street bridge being installed, Easter 2021.

Network Rail has released details of the infrastructure work that it and its contractors carried out over the Easter holiday weekend.

Traditionally, major works are carried out over bank holidays while commuters aren’t using the trains.  Although the whole railway is currently quiet, these projects are planned several years ahead so they are still going ahead over holidays, even during the pandemic.

Over the Easter weekend, Network Rail and the rail supply chain delivered more than £116 million of engineering work. Teams worked on over 4,000 worksites across more than 1,200 possessions, delivering major enhancements as well as core renewals and maintenance works across the rail network.

Guildford track renewals, Easter 2021.

Of these, 20 projects and a total of 30 worksites were identified as RED through the Delivering Work Within Possessions (DWWP) standard, meaning that the carried a greater risk of overrun and/or a more significant impact in the event of an overrun.

With appropriate COVID19 controls in place, thousands of people helped deliver hundreds of projects, including:

  • Large-scale switches & crossings (S&C) renewals at Guildford (Southern region), Gidea Park (Eastern), Bowes Park (Eastern), Nunnery junction (Eastern) and Witham Friary (Wales & Western);
  • Plain line track renewals at Bamfurlong (North West & Central), Northchurch tunnel (NW&C), Somerton tunnel (Wales & Western) and Grove Park (Southern);
  • Ongoing multi-disciplinary works at King’s Cross as part of the King’s Cross Remodelling scheme;
  • Continuation of a number of large enhancement schemes including Leeds station, Euston HS2 Enabling Works and Brent Cross new station;
  • Structures, OLE and drainage renewal schemes at multiple locations across the network, employing a variety of methodologies to renew aging assets and improve journeys for passengers and freight.
Installing Bicester underpass, Easter 2021.

Safety and performance

Over the Easter weekend, a total of six minor possession overruns occurred across all the Network Rail maintenance and capital delivery portfolios, resulting in a total delay of 122 minutes.

This resulted in a successful possession hand back rate of 99.6%, which is comparable to  erformance during bank holidays across recent years.

Safety performance over the weekend was generally good, with no lost-time injuries or RIDDOR-reportable incidents having been reported. One minor injury occurred on a track renewal worksite where an individual caught their foot upon a sleeper whilst stepping over a rail, however this was treated on site and the individual returned to work.

One worksite irregularity was reported at Shady Lane, a drainage renewals site in the Wythenshawe area of the North West & Central Region, where a set of worksite marker boards had been removed by the engineering supervisor ahead of permission being granted by the PICOP (person in charge of possession). Once discovered, this was reported to the operations delivery manager and subsequently investigated.

Four minor environmental incidents also occurred, all of these relating to spills of small amounts of hydraulic fluid or fuel on site. All were treated immediately using spill kits, with no lasting impact.

New S&C at Witham Friary, Easter 2021.

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