Network Rail is urging passengers in Bedfordshire to check before they travel on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 November as the £1.5billion investment into the line continues.
As part of the Midland Main Line Upgrade, Odell Viaduct near Odell and Sharnbrook needs to be raised to allow for the safe clearance of overhead line equipment in anticipation of electrification of the line between London to Kettering and Corby via Bedford.
Between Friday, 10 November and Monday, 12 November, Network Rail workers will demolish and reconstruct the bridge during 54 hours of round the clock work. Train services will return to normal on Monday, 12 November with the work completing before the first train service.
Work is also taking place further north on the Midland Main Line at Market Harborough. Network Rail engineers will carry out work to the track bed to enable increased train speeds and improved journey times by straightening the line. Network Rail will also carry out work to strengthen Rockingham Road bridge in the town.
All of this work means a reduced service between London St Pancras and Bedford. These services will connect into replacement buses between Bedford and Leicester and Kettering and Corby.
Passengers planning on travelling are urged to check before they travel via National Rail Enquiries or with East Midlands Trains. Due to work taking place to renew the lifts at Bedford railway station there is no step-free access to the station from platforms 2, 3 or 4. Customers who will be travelling during this time and need assistance are urged to plan ahead and book assistance for their journey, especially those that may be travelling to attend events on Remembrance Sunday.
Network Rail engineers have been on site at Odell Viaduct since August 2018 and have worked to install a temporary footbridge. Once the bridge has been reconstructed, Network Rail engineers will remain on site to remove waste materials, reconstruct the parapet walls, reinstate services and tarmac the road.
To allow the work to take place, Back Lane has been closed since September 2018. Pedestrian access has been maintained via a temporary footbridge.
Wendy Bell, Sponsor at Network Rail, said: “This is the latest stage of vital work to upgrade the railway in Bedford as part of the Midland Main Line Upgrade and will see a key structure along the route upgraded.
“The work does mean changes for rail passengers and we are urging them to plan ahead. We are working closely with train operators to keep disruption to a minimum and we’d like to thank travellers and residents for their patience whilst this takes place.”
Dan Lucas, General Manager South for East Midlands Trains, added: “There is a significant amount of work taking place on the Midland Main Line on the weekend of the 10th and 11th of November. It will mean customers travelling to and from London, particularly to and from stations north of Bedford, will have extended journey times. We would urge everyone to check before they travel and leave plenty of time to make their journey.
“In addition, works at Bedford station to upgrade the lifts means there is no step free access to platforms 2, 3 and 4. If you need assistance, please contact us before you set off and we will help you get where you need to go.”
Passengers can book assistance at Bedford station through their train operator.
Passengers can contact Thameslink by
• Phone: 0800 058 2844
• Online: thameslinkrailway.com/assistedtravel
Passengers can contact East Midlands Trains via
• Phone: 08000 11 33 23
• Online: https://www.eastmislandstrains.co.uk/information/contact-us/ • Text Direct: 18001 08000 11 33 23