Network Rail News updates

Passengers reminded of major upgrade to lifts at Macclesfield station

Passengers are being advised about upcoming work to replace lifts at Macclesfield station.

A much-needed £400,000 investment as part of the Great North Rail Project will make step-free access more reliable to station platforms.

Work will start on Wednesday 20 January and take place until Wednesday 31 March 2021.

During the work, staff will be on hand at Macclesfield station to assist passengers.

Both lifts will be improved at the same time and will be out of use.

For passengers this means:

  • No step free access will be available at Macclesfield station between Wednesday 20 January and Wednesday 31 March.
  • Anyone who needs step-free access should book assisted travel with their specific train operator*.
  • During the lift upgrade work, tickets will be valid for passengers to travel via the nearest step-free stations**.
  • While the lifts are out of use, only Platform 1 will have step-free access. This platform is used for trains travelling north.

Tom Wadsworth, senior asset engineer for buildings at Network Rail, said: “This investment into the lifts at Macclesfield station is much-needed and will greatly improve reliability for passengers.

“We understand the upgrade will be disruptive for passengers and we are working closely with station operators to make everyone’s journey as easy as it can be during the work.

“I’d urge anyone planning to travel to or from Macclesfield during the ten-week project to plan ahead and book assisted travel with their specific train operator.”

Laura Harper, Avanti West Coast station manager at Macclesfield, said: “We’re working with Network Rail and industry partners to help customers as the works to upgrade the lifts at Macclesfield station take place.

“As always, our teams will be on hand to help customers travelling to and from Macclesfield during this time but we strongly recommend customers plan ahead, check before they travel and leave extra time for their journey.

“We would like to thank customers for their patience while Network Rail undertake this latest scheme for the Great North Rail Project.” 

John Robson, CrossCountry regional director West Midlands and North West, said: “We understand this work may cause some short term disruption for passengers. However, when complete it will mean better and more reliable step-free access, and an easier travel experience for everyone using the station lifts.”

Councillor Craig Browne, deputy leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “We warmly welcome this significant investment at Macclesfield railway station which will improve access facilities for passengers and visitors to the town.

“I would like to thank rail users in advance for their patience while these works are undertaken and for any inconvenience experienced.

“I would also encourage any passenger with access needs or disability to contact their train operator’s passenger assistance service, in advance of their planned trip, to arrange support for their journey.

“The rail station is a key gateway for Macclesfield and it is great news that this investment will improve passenger facilities and help prepare the station for the expected increase in passengers once HS2 high-speed rail to Crewe and beyond is delivered. It is another vote of confidence in the future of Macclesfield.”

Passengers are being advised to allow extra time for their journeys and to plan in advance on the National Rail Enquiries journey planner at www.nationalrail.co.uk

Network Rail staff to begin a package of Christmas and New Year improvements for passengers in South West London and Hampshire

Network Rail staff will shortly begin a package of improvements for passengers in South West London and Hampshire between Christmas and New Year to maintain and upgrade the railway, and improve reliability for those essential workers still relying on the rail network every day.

People must follow the latest Government guidance over the Christmas period and stay at home or stay local to help tackle the spread of COVID-19. The new restrictions also mean that people should not travel into or out of London, which is now a Tier 4 area. If you need to travel, please continue following Government advice around the use of public transport – wear a face covering unless you are exempt, travel at quieter times and maintain a distance from other passengers wherever possible.

Between Friday 25 December 2020 and Monday 4 January 2021, engineers will carry out a major programme of work between Clapham Junction and Waterloo, which will see more reliable services and increased connectivity for passengers on the route.

Sections of track and switches and crossings (which allow trains to move between tracks) will be upgraded at Nine Elms Junction. Resignalling work, vegetation clearance and track and bridge inspections will also take place in the area to take advantage of the lower numbers of trains running.

While that work is completed there will be a reduced number of services between Clapham Junction and London Waterloo. At both stations, queuing systems are likely to be in place and platforms 12-20 at London Waterloo will be closed. Vauxhall and Queenstown Road stations will also be closed throughout.

On the same dates, the line between Basingstoke and Salisbury will be closed while engineers strengthen Millway Road bridge in Andover and clear vegetation between Whitchurch and Andover.

Buses will run between Basingstoke and Salisbury and there will be a revised train service between Salisbury and Exeter St Davids.

Some of the other improvement work to provide a more reliable railway includes:

  • Upgrades to the switches and crossings between Hook and Basingstoke and at Eastleigh West junction, which starts late in the evening on Christmas Eve and finishes on the morning of Sunday 27 December
  • Testing new signals as part of the Feltham resignalling scheme, set to take place between late in the evening on Christmas Eve and finish the morning of Sunday 27 December
  • New track will be laid and Cow Lane bridge near Cosham, Portsmouth will be rebuilt between Friday 1 and Sunday 3 January 2021 (plus 17 January).
  • Replacing timber structures on the bridge between Fratton and Portsmouth Harbour on Sunday 3 and Monday 4 January 2021

Passengers should only travel if they have to. A summary of the amended timetable and bus replacement services are available at www.southwesternrailway.com/christmas

Mark Killick, Network Rail Wessex route director, said: “Later this week, our staff who have worked tirelessly during the pandemic to maintain and upgrade the railway for those who need it, will once again carry out a number of essential upgrades to keep the railway running reliably and smoothly for many years to come.

“This means some journeys may be different, so please travel safely, follow the latest public health advice and only travel if you absolutely have to.”

Alan Penlington, director of customer services at South Western Railway, said: “The work being carried out by Network Rail this festive period is vital to ensure the future reliability of the network.

“We’re asking all customers who have to travel to visit our dedicated webpage; southwesternrailway.com/Christmas.”

Level crossing in Cheltenham to close for emergency works until April 2021

Network Rail has had to close the level crossing on Brockhampton Lane until 7 April 2021 to undertake vital works.

The level crossing was closed on Friday and will now remain closed until next April to allow Network Rail engineers to carry out essential repair work on the equipment that controls the level crossing.

The scale of work was originally expected to only result in the level crossing closing over two weekends, however, the most recent inspection has revealed that the condition of the wiring that controls the level crossing barriers has unexpectedly deteriorated.

As a result of this essential work, the level crossing will remain closed 24/7 to both pedestrians and vehicles until 7 April, subject to authorisation from the local highways authority.

A signed diversion route for vehicles has been put in place via Hyde Lane and letters have been sent to local residents providing further details of this work including a map of the diversion route.

Network Rail project manager, Spencer Hobbs, said: “We recognise this is a lengthy closure and are sorry for any inconvenience this emergency closure may cause the community.

“The safety of our passengers and crossing users is of the utmost importance to us so we have taken the difficult decision to fully close the crossing whilst we undertake this vital repair work.

“We are aware of instances of trespassing on level crossings and urge people to not put their lives at risk by attempting to cross the railway line while the crossing is closed. Trespassing on the railway is illegal and dangerous and we urge people to follow the diversions that have been put in place.

“We would like to sincerely thank everyone for their patience and understanding during this time.”

Engineering works bring New Year improvements for passengers in the South East

Engineering works at South East London’s busiest rail junctions are set to bring more reliable journeys in the New Year.

Engineering works at south east London’s busiest rail junctions are set to bring more reliable journeys in the New Year.

Network Rail staff will be working between Christmas and new year to improve the reliability of a crucial stretch of railway in south east London, used by thousands of essential workers every day.

People must follow the latest Government guidance over the Christmas period and stay at home or stay local to help tackle the spread of COVID-19. The new restrictions also mean that people should not travel into or out of London, which is now a Tier 4 area.

The upgrades will keep passengers moving safely and reliably and future proof the railway for the long-term, which is part of the South East Upgrade, a record £1.25bn investment to modernise this part of the network.

The lines through Lewisham and St John’s are some of the most heavily-congested in the country, used by services from both the London suburbs and the Kent coast, and are in need of improvement.

Teams of track workers will be upgrading two key railway junctions there from Christmas day through to Tuesday 29 December, and from 1 January to Sunday 3 January.

The Lewisham upgrade will see the replacement of nearly two miles of track which will be laid on 7,500 tonnes of ballast and 1,460 sleepers. A number of sets of points (which help trains cross from one track to another) will also be renewed as part of an investment programme to replace ageing 1970s infrastructure with more reliable equipment.

During the work there will be no trains between Lewisham and Hayes. There will also be changes to some services on the January dates between Cannon Street and Lewisham, and via Greenwich to Dartford.

To keep essential workers moving when lines are closed replacement buses are in operation and tickets will be accepted via alternative TfL routes. Passengers should also wash their hands often and wear face-coverings, unless exempt.

Fiona Taylor, Network Rail’s route director for Kent, said: “We are carrying out a number of major engineering projects this Christmas and New Year in order to provide better journeys for our passengers in 2021.

“Our works at Lewisham are particularly key being on the main artery from Kent to London for hundreds of services a day. If you are an essential worker and plan to travel over Christmas, consistent with the Government’s advice, please check your journeys between now and the New Year.

“We know there is never a good time to carry out major works, so I would like to thank passengers for their patience while we make these vital improvements to the railway.”

Scott Brightwell, Southeastern train services director, said: “Over Christmas and early January there are going to be some changes to our services while Network Rail carry out vital improvements at two of our busiest junctions near Lewisham. This will help improve reliability and reduce delays for our passengers.”

Passengers can visit the following places for more information: https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/ www.networkrail.co.uk/LewishamUpgrade or https://www.southeasternrailway.co.uk/

Final reminder to passengers of major service changes on the East Coast Main Line as £1.2billion upgrade continues over Christmas

Network Rail, Great Northern and Thameslink are reminding passengers who need to travel over the Christmas period to check their journeys to avoid disappointment, as major work takes place on the £1.2billion East Coast Upgrade, including a six-day closure at London King’s Cross and altered services up to and including Sunday 3 January.

People must follow the latest Government guidance over the Christmas period and stay at home or stay local to help tackle the spread of COVID-19. The new restrictions also mean that people should not travel into or out of London, which is now a Tier 4 area. 

Those who must travel on the East Coast Main Line should allow plenty of time as services which are running are expected to be busy, queuing systems may be in place at stations, and passengers may not be able to board the first train. Passengers can check how their journeys will be affected by visiting eastcoastupgrade.co.uk, www.thameslinkrailway.com or www.greatnorthernrail.com.

Once complete, the East Coast Upgrade will transform journeys between London, Peterborough and Cambridge, as well as with the North of England and Scotland. It will bring a more modern, reliable railway for passengers and ensure the route has more capacity to deal with future passenger volumes.

  • Thursday 24 December 2020 – There will be a near normal service to and from London King’s Cross as Network Rail has postponed the start time of major work, although services will finish earlier in the evening, which is normal for Christmas Eve. Trains are expected to be very busy.
  • Friday 25 and Saturday 26 December 2020 – As usual on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, there will be no services running on the East Coast Main Line, and no alternative services will be provided.
  • Sunday 27 December 2020 – There will be no trains in or out of London King’s Cross and those Great Northern trains will start and finish at Finsbury Park instead. People who need to travel are advised to use London Underground services to and from Finsbury Park or alternative services in and out of Moorgate. Thameslink services to and from Cambridge will continue to serve St Pancras International.

Long-distance trains to and from the north will start and finish at Peterborough or Stevenage instead, and connecting Great Northern or Thameslink trains will run to and from Finsbury Park, St Pancras International or Moorgate. London Underground services will be available between central London and Finsbury Park on the Victoria and Piccadilly lines. Long distance passengers travelling north from London are advised to start their journey from either St Pancras International or Finsbury Park, which is expected to be very busy.

  • Monday 28 to Wednesday 30 December 2020 – There will be no trains in or out of London King’s Cross and those Great Northern trains will start and finish at Finsbury Park instead. People who need to travel are advised to use alternative services in or out of St Pancras International or Moorgate, or to use London Underground services to and from Finsbury Park.

Long distance services to and from the north will start and finish at Peterborough or Stevenage instead, and connecting Thameslink trains will run to and from St Pancras International. Long distance passengers travelling north from London are advised to start their journey from St Pancras International.

  • Thursday 31 December 2020 to Sunday 3 January 2021 – There will be a reduced service to and from London King’s Cross. Trains are expected to be very busy.

Ed Akers, Principal Programme Sponsor for Network Rail’s East Coast Upgrade, said: “This six-day closure from Christmas Day is essential so we can reach a major milestone on the East Coast Upgrade, which once complete, will bring a more reliable railway for passengers and help meet future demand.

“We know people will want to spend time with their families if they can, but it’s essential that people follow the Government guidance and stay at home or stay local. If you have to travel over Christmas, please check your journey and plan ahead where possible to avoid disappointment.

“We want to thank passengers for their continued patience and understanding whist this essential work is carried out.”

Thameslink and Great Northern Managing Director Tom Moran said: “With most of our network now under Tier 4 restrictions, people are being urged to stay at home. Those who have to travel should check carefully online before deciding to head for the train station. Our service will be affected throughout the Christmas period, returning to normal on Monday, 4 January. We’ll be busier too, helping LNER passengers connect with their trains at Stevenage and Peterborough.

“We’ve worked closely with our colleagues at Network Rail and the other train companies to prepare for this. Together, we’ve also advertised the changes widely on radio, social media, at our stations and in the press. Extra staff will be on hand to help people along the way and we have robust contingency plans in place.”

Between Christmas Day and Wednesday 30 December (inclusive), Network Rail teams will be reconstructing, strengthening and diverting Camden Sewer, which runs beneath the railway just outside King’s Cross. This complex part of the project, which involves lifting a large section of all the tracks that serve the station, can only be carried out safely when there are no trains running in the area for six days. New overhead line equipment will also be installed, as well as work to renew some of the tracks.

Engineering works over Christmas and New Year bring improvements for passengers in Sussex

Passengers who need to make essential journeys should check before they travel as there will be changes to services on a few routes due to engineering works including the Gatwick Airport station upgrade project. Details on individual journeys, including the times of trains will be available in journey planners and on National Rail Enquiries.

People are asked to follow the latest Government guidance over the Christmas period and stay at home or stay local to help tackle the spread of COVID-19. The new restrictions also mean that people should not travel into or out of Hastings, Rother, Havant, Portsmouth, Kent, Surrey or London, which are now Tier 4 areas. 

If you need to travel, please continue following Government advice around the use of public transport – wear a face covering unless you are exempt, travel at quieter times and maintain a distance from other passengers wherever possible.

At stations, we will be deploying extra staff, announcements will make the guidance clear, and additional BTP officers are in place to help keep people safe. An enhanced and rigorous cleaning regime is also in place across stations and trains in Sussex, enabling passengers to make essential journeys in confidence and safety.

Shaun King, route director, Sussex said: “The work we are doing this Christmas and New Year will mean a better, more reliable railway for passengers. We are delivering a vital £150m upgrade to Gatwick Airport station to increase capacity, improve accessibility and transform the experience for more passengers, than ever before.

“Please continue to wear a face covering unless you are exempt, and plan your journey in advance”.

Angie Doll, Managing Director for Southern and Gatwick Express, said: “There will be some changes from the usual festive-period timetable, so please plan well ahead by checking a journey planner, and avoid busy periods if you can.

“If you need to make an essential journey over Christmas or New Year, rest assured we have been working hard behind the scenes to keep trains and stations clean and safe. At all times please remember the three golden rules – hands, face, space: wash or sanitise your hands before and after each trip, wear a face covering and keep a safe distance from other passengers.”

From Sunday 27 December 2020 until Sunday 3 January 2021, there will be changes to Southern and Thameslink services:

  • Southern services between London Victoria and Bognor Regis / Portsmouth & Southsea / Southampton will operate on diversion via Dorking. These services will not call at Gatwick Airport or nearby stations such as Crawley or Three Bridges.
  • Customers at Horsham or to the south that wish to travel to Gatwick Airport should plan to change trains at Horsham and to allow additional time for the connection. Thameslink services will operate on the route between Horsham, Gatwick Airport and London Bridge.
  • Southern / Gatwick Express services between London Victoria and Brighton will not operate Monday 28 December – Thursday 31 December or Saturday 2 January. Customers for Brighton to/from London or Gatwick Airport should plan to use Thameslink services to/from London Bridge.
  • The Thameslink Gatwick Airport to Bedford via Redhill service will start its journey at Three Bridges.

As usual, no trains will be in operation on Christmas Day, and there will be a limited Southern service on Boxing Day.

Passengers can find out how their Christmas journeys will be affected with their train operator, via National Rail Enquiries, or by following #ChristmasRailWorks on Twitter.

Renewed appeals to drivers of tall vehicles to take care after December spike in Kent and South East London bridge bashes

The first half of December has seen bridge strikes in Kent and South East London occurring at nearly double the average rate, leading to renewed calls for drivers to know the heights of their vehicles.

Railway bridges in the county were hit at least 11 times over the first half of December, with incidents recorded at Chestfield, Headcorn, Herne Hill, Kent House, Rochester, Swalecliffe, Orpington, Petts Wood, Sole Street and West Malling.

December has seen almost double the average monthly number of bridge strikes in the county occurring and the rise in incidents reflects the highest number of strikes in the last 5 years.  

The incident at Herne Hill cost nearly a thousand delay minutes to passengers, and the Orpington incident costing 303. The sudden rise is a cause for concern among those managing the Kent Route on behalf of passengers and freight.

Bridge strikes are costly to the network, not just in financial terms, but the costs in delays to passengers and freight.

Nationally, almost six out of ten (59%) of the incidents are caused by HGV drivers, and Network Rail is reminding drivers they can face tough penalties including removing a person’s public service vehicle (PSV) licence.

Automatic camera alert systems have been installed on 6 bridges in Kent to monitor them for movement, as with some  bridge strikes not reported, it is imperative to make sure the bridges remain safe.

Daniel Matthews, Head of Operations for Kent, said: “The early part of December has seen a concerning increase in the rate of bridge strikes on our network. 

“There is no excuse to not know the height of your vehicle before starting your journey.

“As well as putting lives in danger on both road and rail and causing lengthy delays for passengers and road users, drivers who chance it at bridges are at risk of leaving their employers with a hefty bill for repairs and train delay costs, along with a strong threat to their own operator licence.”

To try and combat the number of bridge strikes, adverts are being placed at motorway service station petrol pumps across the country reminding drivers to “Wise Up, Size Up” as “Lorries Can’t Limbo” and drivers should know their vehicle height before they start their journey and to check their route for low bridges.

Network Rail workers give up Christmas with their families to carry out key work on Midland Main Line Upgrade

Around 50 Network Rail workers are giving up their Christmases to carry out vital work as part of the £1.5billion Midland Main Line Upgrade.

Between Christmas Day and Sunday, 27 December, Network Rail teams will carry out work to remove equipment which is no longer needed from the tracks between Wellingborough and Kettering. Over 300 units will be removed, which will create a more reliable railway through reducing the likelihood of track faults, which causes disruption for passengers.

The work will also see a disused building next to the railway demolished. The building is near overhead line equipment and removing it will make it safer and easier for workers to carry out inspections of the electric wires. This means they can fix any faults with this equipment more quickly, reducing delays for passengers. Demolishing the building will also mean Network Rail no longer has to maintain it, which will save taxpayers money.

The Midland Main Line Upgrade is the biggest investment into the line since its construction in the Victorian era and will bring significant benefits for passengers, such as access to faster journeys with more seats available on board more environmentally friendly trains. 

Tom Donnelly is a Project Manager for Network Rail and will be working on this project over Christmas. Tom is based in Derby and joined Network Rail five years ago as a Project Management Graduate.

He said: “Christmas is going to be quite different this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but I’ll still be able to spend some time with my family over the festive period.

“I’m happy to be working on this vital project over Christmas, which will help work on the Midland Main Line Upgrade to progress, as well as to create a more reliable railway for passengers.

“My role will be to manage the progress of the work and deal with any issues which arise to make sure that the work completes on time. I look forward to passengers benefitting from this work and I’m proud to be making a positive difference to their journeys.”

As there are no timetabled services on Christmas Day and Boxing Day on this part of the railway, Network Rail uses this opportunity to carry out major work and avoid disruption for passengers at busier times.

People must follow the latest Government guidance over the Christmas period and stay at home or stay local to help tackle the spread of COVID-19. Those who do have to travel over the festive period are strongly advised to check their journey via National Rail Enquiries or with their train operator.

Hundreds of Network Rail workers give up Christmas with their families to complete major upgrade at Leeds station

Hundreds of Network Rail workers are giving up their Christmases to complete a major £161million investment to build a new platform at Leeds station.

From late-night Christmas Eve until the morning of Sunday, 27 December, Network Rail teams will carry out the final piece of the project to build a new platform, Platform 0, at the station.

Work on this major investment began back in 2018. The new platform is a key upgrade which will boost reliability, allow trains to enter and exit the station more easily and mean more punctual journeys for passengers.

Over the 2.5 days of work, final work to the overhead lines, track and signalling systems will take place, as well as rigorous testing to make sure the platform is ready for train services. Whilst the platform won’t come into full use until the May 2021 timetable change, it will be available for trains to use during times of disruption, helping to minimise delays for passengers.

Adedayo Phillips is a Project Manager for Network Rail and has worked for the organisation for six years. Adedayo will be working on this project over the festive period.

He said: “I’ve worked a fair few Christmases since I joined Network Rail, however, this one is really exciting as it’s the final piece of the puzzle on a project which has been ongoing for the last two years.

“I’ll be out on site with my colleagues over the festive period, and my role will be to monitor and report on progress of this scheme, as well as others elsewhere in the region. This is an important job and will help to make sure that the project completes on time.

“I live in West Yorkshire myself, so I know first-hand the benefits which this project will bring, and I look forward to passengers reaping the benefits of a more modern and reliable railway, which will improve their journeys.”

There are no timetabled services on Christmas Day and Boxing Day on this part of the railway, so the work will not impact on train services.

People must follow the latest Government guidance over the Christmas period and stay at home or stay local to help tackle the spread of COVID-19. Those who do have to travel over the festive period are strongly advised to check their journey via National Rail Enquiries or with their train operator and allow plenty of time.

New line and platform promise improved services for passengers on Midland Main Line

Work to give passengers in the East Midlands and Bedfordshire access to faster journeys with more seats available on board more environmentally friendly trains has taken another step forward this week. 

On Sunday (20, December 2020) the new fourth track between Bedford and Kettering and the new platform at Wellingborough station were brought into use.  These are the latest completed improvements as part of the Midland Main Line Upgrade, which will deliver a brand new, improved timetable for passengers in 2021. 

Gary Walsh, Route Director for Network Rail’s East Midlands Route, said: “This is a really exciting time for all passengers using the Midland Main Line as we start to see the benefits of many years hard work by hundreds of people across the rail industry.

“We’re now working with our colleagues at East Midlands Railway to support driver training and the introduction of electric powered trains on the route, as well as carrying out final testing and assurance with the Office of Rail and Road (ORR). We’re well on track to deliver significant improvements for passengers next year. We’ll also be able to transport even more freight by rail, keeping lorries off the roads and supporting our economy to ‘build back better’.”

At Wellingborough station as well as building platform 4, the existing platforms have been extended and improved to reduce stepping distance onto trains.  The canopies have been refurbished, new waiting shelters, lighting, CCTV and fencing has been installed and the footbridge has been extended to platform 4. Stanton Cross Developments LLP contributed to the footbridge extension as part of its Stanton Cross development.   

Lisa Angus, Transition and Projects Director at East Midlands Railway, added: “The Midland Main Line Upgrade has been made possible by the skill and hard work of so many people, right across the rail industry. As such, these latest milestones are an incredibly proud moment for all of us.

“However, we still have a huge amount of work in front of us to deliver on this investment and introduce the major timetable enhancements in 2021. Pleasingly, despite the huge challenges Covid has created for all of us, that is also on track and we look forward to achieving further milestones in the weeks and months to come.”

Lee Barrett, Operations Director for Bovis Homes and a representative of Stanton Cross Developments LLP, promoters of the Stanton Cross project, added: “Our investment in Wellingborough station is key to the strategic vision for Stanton Cross.  We are committed to creating a sustainable new community with the infrastructure in place to provide excellent connectivity.  The upgraded station stands to benefit all those who will live and work at Stanton Cross.”

Improved reliability following emergency railway works between Ely and Peterborough

Network Rail have replaced 57 pairs of wheel timbers across four bridges in the vicinity of Manea, between Ely and Peterborough.

Following inspections on railway bridges with softwood timbers, 53 pairs of wheel timbers were found to require urgent replacement. These timbers have been replaced to remove the risk of further deterioration which may have led to additional speed restrictions or the closure of the line, significantly disrupting train services.

In addition to replacing four more pairs of wheel timbers than initially planned, 2000 metres of power cabling, 1800 metres of rail and track across Stonea bridge has also been replaced.

To maintain a safe and reliable railway, Network Rail are working with freight and train operating companies to agree a plan to return to Manea to replace more wheel timbers in 2021. These timbers are in better condition so can remain in replace until we return to complete the timber replacement. An update will be published when this plan has been confirmed.

Ellie Burrows, Network Rail’s route director for Anglia, said: “We’ve successfully carried out important wheel timber renewals in the Manea area to improve the reliability of the train service for passengers between Ely and Peterborough.

“Running a safe railway is my absolute priority and this work was vital to running a safe and reliable railway network for our passengers. I’d like to thank passengers for their continued patience while we carried out this work.”

Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia managing director said: “We understand that engineering works inconvenience passengers, but they are vital for the continued safety and reliability of our railway. Our longer modern state-of-the-art new trains, combined with continued improvement work by Network Rail are together improving our passengers’ journeys.”

As part of the work in the area Network Rail, working in partnership with Taziker, installed a defibrillator in Pymoor Village. The newly installed defibrillator is known as an Automated External Defibrillator. As the name suggests, an Automated External Defibrillator provides an automatic treatment that requires no training or special expertise. Using it cannot harm the victim, but it could save their life.

Network Rail workers give up Christmas with their families to work on major East Yorkshire bridge upgrade

Network Rail teams are spending their Christmases working on a £3.3million project to upgrade a road bridge near Gilberdyke station, instead of enjoying the festivities with their families.

From late-night on Christmas Eve until the morning of Sunday 27 December, major work will be carried out to completely remove the old bridge and put the new, stronger one in place. This will benefit residents and businesses in the area for years to come.

As usual, there are no timetabled train services on Christmas Day and Boxing Day on this part of the railway. Network Rail has taken the opportunity to carry out this major project and avoid disruption at busier times.

In order for this work to take place safely, Staddlethorpe Broad Lane will be closed near Gilberdyke station between 12:00 on Thursday 24 December and 12:00 on Tuesday 29 December. There will be no access over the bridge during this time and a signposted diversion will be in place. 

Ann White is a Scheme Project Manager and has spent the last few months carefully planning the programme of work with the team. Over the Christmas period she will be out on site to oversee the work and make sure it is completed on time and within the budget. 

She said: “I live nearby and understand how important this work to replace the bridge near Gilberdyke station is for people in the community. I’m proud to work on the railway and I am looking forward to being out with the team to complete this major project.

“It will be difficult being away from my family over the Christmas period, but once this work is complete, I’ll still have chance to enjoy some of the festivities.”

Twelve companies chosen to help build a better railway for passengers

Twelve companies have been awarded contracts to deliver buildings and civils work across Network Rail’s Southern region, which spans Kent, Sussex and the South of England.

The three-year contracts which started at the end of November 2020 cover things such as upgrades to station canopies and platforms, footbridges, earthworks which includes drainage and repairs when there has been a landslip, rewiring at stations, lift and escalator renewals and station information.

The contracts have a combined estimated value of around £200m.

As part of the process, Network Rail selected companies which are leaders in innovation and sustainability and could demonstrate a proven track record of delivering social value across the communities in which they work.

The companies are:

General building and civils: Balfour Beatty Rail; VolkerFitzpatrick; Amalgamated construction

Mechanical and engineering specialist: B & M McHugh; Quinn Infrastructure Services

Fabric specialist: BCM Construction; Lundy Projects

Footbridges specialist: Nationwide Rail; Taziker Industrial

Metallic structures specialist: Dyer and Butler; Freyssinet

Earthworks specialist: Dyer and Butler; Taziker Industrial

Masonry and concrete specialist: Nationwide Rail; Kier Integrated Services

John Halsall, managing director, Network Rail Southern region, said: “We have chosen suppliers to allow us to deliver vital new infrastructure and support the overall aims of providing a safe, reliable and efficient railway for passengers.”

VIDEO: Warning to drivers after near miss at East Sussex level crossing

Drivers are being reminded to watch for and stop when red warning lights are displayed at automatic half barrier crossings. 

It comes after a near miss at a level crossing near East Guldeford in East Sussex last month.

The incident occurred during the day on 28th November on the A259 at Star crossing near Rye. 

A driver in a Volkswagen car ignored the flashing red lights stopping just short of the railway line from Rye to Ashford and within the level crossing boundary. 

The barriers then came down on the car and the driver decided not to proceed over the railway, or to exit the crossing area for his own safety. 

A freight train then came through the level crossing at speed with the driver and his vehicle just feet away.

There has been a spike in near misses at level crossings in East Sussex in recent months with this latest incident being the 10th since June. 

Most automatic half-barrier level crossings in Kent and Sussex have safety enforcement cameras fitted with the remaining crossings due to have cameras installed soon.

This is to improve safety and encourage drivers to obeying the red warning lights as required by the Highway Code.

Toby Broyad, Level Crossing Manager for Network Rail, said: “This is a sobering reminder of the dangers of drivers not being alert when driving, and not following the Highway Code. 

“We are investing heavily in ‘Red Light Safety Cameras’ and while luckily no-one was injured in this incident, the police will prosecute drivers who take a risk at level crossings, not just with their own lives but with the safety of our staff and passengers. 

“Many of our level crossings now have safety enforcement cameras and they risk a fine and points on their license should they ignore the warnings and safety of others.”

If members of the public see anyone misusing a level crossing they are asked contact BTP by texting 61016 or calling 0800 40 50 40.

Big names say a big ‘thank you’ in festive film to railway workers

High-profile figures from showbiz, sport and politics today expressed their thanks to frontline railway workers for keeping Britain moving during Covid.

“Thank you to the unsung heroes who work in the railway industry,” says Eamonn Holmes, co-host of ITV’s This Morning, at the start of a festive film shared on Twitter by Network Rail.

Steve Rotherham, mayor of Liverpool City Region, says: “You quite simply have kept the country moving.”

“Getting us to where we need to be safely this Christmas,” says actor and TV presenter Shobna Gulati before Alison McGovern, MP for Wirral South, adds: “You don’t know how much it means.”

To passengers travelling on the railway this Christmas, their message was unanimous:

“Be safe. Be patient. Be kind.”

The two-minute film features the following people:

  • Eamonn Holmes – TV talk show host
  • Bhasker Patel – Emmerdale actor
  • Lewis Moody – England and British & Irish Lions rugby player
  • Simon Calder – travel writer and broadcaster
  • Pete Waterman – president of the Railway Benefit Fund
  • Shobna Gulati – actor and TV presenter
  • Rob Bell – TV presenter and adventurer
  • Alison McGovern – MP for Wirral South
  • Tim Dunn – railway historian
  • Emma Jesson – ITV weather presenter
  • Alex Payne – host of the Good, the Bad and the Rugby podcast
  • Rosie Cooper – MP for West Lancs
  • Andy Burnham – Mayor of Greater Manchester
  • Steve Rotheram – Mayor of Liverpool City Region
  • Andy Street – Mayor of the West Midlands
  • Richie Anderson – The One Show & BBC Radio 2 travel presenter
  • David Flatman – England rugby player turned commentator
  • Shakin’ Stevens – singer and songwriter

Tim Shoveller, managing director for Network Rail’s North West & Central region, said: “I’m thrilled our frontline colleagues, including controllers, signallers, track workers and station staff, have been recognised in this lovely way. Merry Christmas from the railway family!”

The video has been release ahead of the government’s recommended Christmas travel window between 23 and 27 December.

People should reserve seats on long distance trains, travel at quieter times and follow all safety advice to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Click the following links for more information on how Network Rail upgrade work could impact your journey in the North West and Central region.

Passengers are asked to follow Government guidance around the use of public transport this Christmas.

Travellers must wear a face covering on train services and any replacement bus services. Those who fail to do so risk being fined £200.

However, some people are exempt, including young children and people with hidden disabilities or breathing difficulties.

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