Network Rail has provided new benefits for passengers, following the successful completion of the Christmas programme of investment.
The owner and infrastructure manager of the majority of Great Britain’s rail network commonly uses the festive period to undertake work on the network, as it is a much quieter time and gives the workforce an extended period of time to carry out upgrades.
Usually, almost five million people use the rail network every day; at Christmas, this figure is cut by half, which provides a real opportunity to deliver benefits.
Like in 2017, Network Rail planned work around Christmas in 2018, with £148 million worth of projects planned as part of the Christmas programme.
And as with that year, work was completed in time for the return to work of passengers, who can enjoy far more reliable infrastructure, as well as improved facilities and services.
During the Christmas programme of investment, 25,000 Network Rail employees – from track layers to project managers and station staff, put in more than 380,000 combined hours of work to keep the railway open and deliver on the 330 projects.
During the programme, miles of new track has been installed, state-of-the-art new signalling equipment was brought online, and new bridges built, as improvements were made all across the country.
This included work on the Midland Main Line, and as part of the £250 million Great Eastern Main Line upgrade, overhead wiring was upgraded at Forest Gate junction – which was first installed in the 1950s; the work will mean a cut to delays into Liverpool Street.
Elsewhere, work took place across the London North Western Route from London to Carlisle, including track renewals, platform extensions and signalling upgrades.
This saw preparation work undertaken for HS2 at London Euston; boosting of electrical feeds between Ordsall and Stalybridge in Manchester, providing resilience to power electric trains; and track renewals at Milton Keynes Central station.
Andrew Haines, Network Rail Chief Executive, said: “Over Christmas and New Year, thousands of rail workers have been working round the clock to keep the railway running and to deliver crucial improvements to the network as part of the £50 billion Railway Upgrade Plan.”