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Maintenance and engineering work can be noisy – but we try hard to keep noise and disruption to a minimum.
Maintenance is the general day-to-day upkeep of the railway which keeps the trains running, such as looking after tracks, signals and power supply. Engineering is the larger scale infrastructure work, such as track replacement.
When Network Rail began to run the railway in October 2002, we faced a huge backlog of engineering work. Over the last three years, we have replaced and upgraded much of the infrastructure and significantly improved the safety and reliability of the railway.
We use a range of measures to minimise noise and disruption including:
For large engineering projects, we also:
When we are planning engineering works near residential areas, we aim to send letters to local people 10 days before the work begins. The letters explain what we plan to do and when we expect to start and finish the work. When a large engineering project is planned, we also tell local authorities and other community representatives such as members of parliament, local councillors. For maintenance work (such as emergency repairs or general up-keep), it is not possible for us to tell the people who live nearby. This is because maintenance work takes place every day and night of the year which makes it impractical to give advance notice to all the people affected by every job.
We have to do most of our maintenance and engineering work on the tracks at nights and week-ends so that we can keep the trains running. In fact, we are required by law to undertake engineering work when the railway line is closed to rail traffic.
The railway is a 24-hour a day, 365 days a year operation and involves a very large network with over 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and tunnels and 9,000 level crossings. We have to work on the infrastructure throughout the year so that we can run a safe and reliable rail network for passengers. Also, we have to plan and agree engineering projects with the train and freight operating companies many months ahead. And these works are usually part of a bigger and more complex programme of work. If we change one part of the project, then it would affect all the other parts. Finally, there are enormous demands on our maintenance and engineering staff. The same gangs work on different projects and their work needs to be planned properly. For example, it is not easy for a gang to suddenly change from doing night shifts to day shifts.
You can find out about trains affected by engineering work and service alterations on the National Rail Enquiries website. You can find more information about employee and contractor behaviour, noise and major projects on this website.
If you have a problem caused by maintenance and engineering work or any other part of the railway or if you simply want more information, please get in touch with us.
When we upgraded the North London Line, we worked hard to minimise the impact on the people who live and work near the line.
The £3.5 million project made essential track improvements so that speed restrictions could be removed and train services improved.
Engineers worked around the clock for 16 days to remove and replace more than 4000 metres of track, 7000 sleepers and 17,000 tonnes of ballast (the stone that forms the track bed).
Together with Balfour Beatty (our contractors), we used a range of measures to minimise the inconvenience to local people, including:
The new track is smoother, quieter and more reliable which is better for local people as well as train passengers.