Largest ever end-of-year rail network upgrade planned

Rail: Doncaster Gateway - Balfour beatty

Rail: Doncaster Gateway - Balfour beatty

Network Rail is mobilising an army of 11,000 engineers to upgrade key parts of the UK’s rail network on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, as part of its biggest ever end-of-year investment programme.

New station facilities, new platforms, new flyovers, new junctions and thousands of pieces equipment will be installed and delivered in a £200m investment programme that will begin late on Christmas Eve once the last trains have run.

Mark Carne, Network Rail chief executive, said: “Making the railway better is what we aim to do everyday and our investment programme this Christmas, the biggest yet, is fully focussed on delivering a better service for passengers.

“With an 11,000-strong army we will deliver a huge amount of work during a quieter time for train travel. New technology and working practices mean we can keep lines open while our people work safely alongside, causing much less disruption than would otherwise be the case.”

Major Christmas investment schemes

  • London Bridge: Two new platforms opened and new track laid as the project moves to the next stage of the biggest station redevelopment the capital has ever seen (work starts December 20th)
  • Reading: One of the last pieces of the jigsaw to unblock the notorious train bottleneck around Reading station will be completed with the completion of a newly-built viaduct to the west of the station
  • Watford: New signalling system to be installed
  • Stafford and Norton Bridge: A major bottleneck on the West Coast main line is being unblocked. At Christmas engineers will be carrying out essential bridge and track work at Norton Bridge, with the renewal of signalling and overhead lines at Stafford forming a key part of the overall £250m project
  • East Coast main line: Several engineering projects delivering significant improvements to the rail network at key points – Peterborough, Holloway, Harringay and Canal Tunnels just outside King’s Cross

While these are the biggest schemes being carried out over this very busy period, there are a further 300 projects being undertaken across 2,000 worksites across the country by Network Rail and its contractors between Christmas and New Year.