More than £148m of Christmas upgrades finish on time

Passengers returning to work today (2 January) benefit from more reliable infrastructure and improved services.

It follows a £148m Christmas programme of investment across the network, which successfully completed on time.

A 25,000-strong workforce, from engineers and track layers to project managers and station staff, worked more than 380,000 hours to keep the railway open and deliver 330 projects across the country.

The work completed at the quietest time for rail travel - about half the normal number of passengers traveled compared with the 4.7 million who typically use the network daily.

Projects included new bridges, track installations and state of the art signalling equipment. Across Britain, passengers will begin to experience the benefits of this investment:

  • Signalling upgrades in Merseyside will mean more reliable journeys.
  • Track renewal at Holloway will improve reliability of services into London King’s Cross station.
  • The renewed overhead wiring system at Forest Gate junction - first installed in the 1950s - will prevent frequent failures that currently cause delays into Liverpool Street station.
Switches and crossings upgrades at Felixstowe

Major projects undertaken over Christmas and the New Year:

  • Replacing old switches and crossings - the movable sections of track that guide trains from one track to another - with new kit and making changes to the track layout between Bedford and Kettering as part of the Midland Main Line Upgrade.
  • Installing new track at Heathrow Airport junction to improve reliability.
  • Signalling upgrades as part of the Weaver to Wavertree resignalling project in Merseyside, to enable more reliable journeys and boost capacity in the area. Signalling areas in Allerton, Speke and Garston were recontrolled to the Manchester Rail Operating Centre over the festive period.

Works at Battersea Pier junction, Christmas Eve

Andrew Haines, chief executive of Network Rail,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 £50bn railway upgrade plan.

“Our decision to do work at this time of year is entirely based on the fact that many regular passengers take this time as holiday, so it causes disruption to the smallest number of people. We really appreciate the patience of those who have been affected by this essential work, which will lead to better and more reliable train services.”