Christmas 2018 railway improvements make progress

As part of the national Railway Upgrade Plan, our teams of engineers and contractors are working day and night on some of the country’s largest infrastructure projects this Christmas.

A 25,000-strong team is working around the clock during this Christmas break, delivering more than 330 projects as part of a £148m investment across Britain over the Christmas and New Year holiday period.

The work is underway at the quietest time for rail travel on the country’s railway with around half the normal number of passengers travelling compared to the 4.7 million who typically use the network daily.

Once completed, passengers will benefit from more reliable infrastructure and improved facilities and services when they return to work.

Our projects are progressing well and work continues apace.


  • We made progress with a bridge in the Manea area between Ely and Peterborough. We’ve been replacing timbers as part of a project to reverse years of weather-related erosion.
  • We carried out works at Three Horseshoes level crossing (on the line from Ely to Peterborough) and Barking Riverside, where we installed switches and foundations works for the new line.
  • On our ‘Golden Mile’ at Bethnal Green on the route out of Liverpool Street station, we completed critical maintenance works.
  • Our team carried out track renewals at Trimley, on the Felixstowe branch line.
  • Also at Felixstowe, we replaced switches and crossings.
  • At Forest Gate Junction, teams replaced overhead line equipment.

Spotlight on Anglia works

London North Eastern and East Midlands

  • Time-lapse footage shows more than 100 workers completing the first stage of a major project to upgrade the track layout just north of Wellingborough station as part of the Midland Main Line Upgrade. Engineers installed five sets of switches and crossings - the equipment that allows trains to move from one piece track to another. Work to install a further five sets of switches and crossings will continue until Tuesday 1 January.
  • At York, we moved control of the signalling system from the Integrated Electronic Control Centre (IECC) to the state of the art Rail Operating Centre. The IECC previously controlled signalling on the East Coast Main Line from Doncaster to Northallerton via York; the Transpennine route from York to Morley and Pudsey via Leeds and the north Bradford lines to Skipton and Ilkley. The transfer of the signalling to the ROC will help to further develop a centre of excellence with greater resilience when disruption occurs, as well as a railway with reduced running costs.
  • At the Beeston Canal Bridge in Nottingham, we reconditioned the deck to make it more reliable and remove any unnecessary maintenance costs.
  • At Werrington, Peterborough, we continued a project to install a dive under under on the East Coast Mainline to allow freight to cross without affecting passenger services.
  • Meanwhile, we carried out waybeam renewal on the listed King Edward Bridge in Newcastle. We replaced the timber beams supporting the track as part of a 12-year renewals programme.
  • At Holloway, we renewed track.

Spotlight on Midland Mainline works

London North Western

  • Drainage improvements took place near Hampton-in-Arden to help provide a more reliable service for passengers.
  • Our team at Milton Keynes Central renewed track.
  • We installed new overhead line equipment (OLE) at Liverpool Lime Street.

Spotlight on LNW



  • At Edinburgh Waverley station, we worked on new platforms and signalling systems.
  • We renewed track in Princes Street Gardens over Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.
  • In Glasgow, we worked on laying new track on the busy approach to Glasgow Central, near Salkeld Street south of the Clyde.
  • In North Lanarkshire, we renewed a key junction at Greenhill, on the lines towards Perth and Falkirk.

South East

  • Work is underway to install new track at Battersea Pier Junction on the South East route, which will replace infrastructure first installed in the mid-1970s. Two of four lines are complete following the installation of 12 new sets of points.
  • At London Victoria, a major refurbishment of several sets of points at the station is well underway.
  • We have replaced a set of points at Canterbury West.
  • Track has been replaced through Tunbridge Wells, including digging out the track bed through the station, which had suffered from poor drainage.
  • Our team replaced signalling in the Angerstein area, including Charlton, Greenwich and Blackheath.
  • Maintenance work took place at London Bridge, on a set of points.

Spotlight on South East


  • We completed a signalling installation on the approach to Bristol Parkway station.
  • We made progress in Westbury, Wiltshire, where we're upgrading and extending platforms, and upgrading track. This will improve safety, reliability and enable longer trains.
  • An upgrade at Ealing Broadway station to improve accessibility finished early.

Spotlight on Western