The West Coast South route stretches from the south of Crewe to London Euston. It carries millions of passengers and up to 10% of freight traffic a year.
The West Coast main line is an infamous piece of railway stretching over 1000 miles, with 64 operational stations and one Network Rail managed station, London Euston, which is one of the top 10 busiest in the UK.
It’s also the busiest mixed-use railway in Europe, forming Anglo-Scottish journeys between London, Glasgow and Edinburgh via the West Midlands and North West, as well as providing commuter links direct to the capital through Hertfordshire, Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire.
This piece of track is the main route for electrified freight trains which helps to remove lorries from the roads and will contribute to the UK’s ambition to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The West Coast main line was electrified in the 1960s, allowing for longer, faster train services for passengers and freight. This meant that London Euston Station, which opened in 1837 and was known for its grand design by Philip Hardwick, had to be demolished and rebuilt to create space for the new overhead equipment. It was the first station in London to provide express passenger journeys to distant cities and continues to be developed to reflect modern day travel.
Our route in numbers
- Over 1000 employees
- Over 100,000 lineside neighbours
- Six freight operating companies
- Four train operating companies
- 64 Stations
The West Coast South route is supported by the North West & Central region bringing us closer to our passengers and the communities we serve, with a focus on operations to help us improve passenger and freight journeys
The West Coast South Route will be the safe; affordable and sustainable choice of transport for all, uniting the country in economic growth and the best journey experience. To do this we must be agile, innovative and collaborative, leading the transport industry in enhancing the communities and businesses of those we serve.James Dean, West Coast South route director
The West Coast South route is home to several of Britain’s most significant investment infrastructure projects. These include East West Rail which will connect Oxford with Cambridge, and HS2, a new railway connecting London with Birmingham and the North of England. Alongside this, we’re continually investing into the railway, carrying out routine maintenance to help provide the best service to passengers.
Performance improvement plan
Our performance improvement plan was introduced in November 2019, to identify where changes could be made to the railway infrastructure, to help improve service and reliability for our passengers. From 2020 to 2022, we will be making sure each project scheme is delivered on time, on budget and brings lasting improvements in performance and service for passengers and freight customers. Our goal is to provide an exceptional passenger journey experience through a railway that is on time at every calling point for every service. Against the backdrop of improvements, our priority remains to deliver a safe and reliable railway. On the West Coast South route in particular, Project Alpha will be investing £100m into this section of railway to implement change.
There are several areas our plan will seek to address:
Maintenance – Utilising weekends for intensive maintenance on the railway
Passenger Environment – Making it easier for passengers to travel through our stations
Drones – Introducing the use of drones to inspect our overhead line equipment for any issues
Timetables – Preparing our train timetables for the West Coast Mainline and HS2
Safety – Introducing ‘remote condition monitoring’ so we can monitor our assets from afar
Trespass/Suicide – Added funding to setup crime and suicide prevention, such as signs and fencing
Weatherproofing – Preparing the tracks for hot weather, to minimise the need for speed restrictions
Examples of our performance improvement work
HS2 On Network Works
We are a key partner to HS2, contracted to complete on network works (ONW) on the line between London and Birmingham. Our work is crucial to facilitate the new high speed line. Investing in HS2 will create much needed rail capacity, providing more local, regional and intercity services. HS2 is also set to deliver significant community and economic benefits.
Many sections of the new high speed line interface directly with Network Rail infrastructure. The touchpoints between HS2 and the existing network will have varying impacts on passengers and local communities. We are committed to minimising disruption for passengers and lineside neighbours. Where our work has a wider impact, we deliver awareness campaigns and a programme of local community engagement.
We care about making sure passengers and other members of the public understand how to stay safe and we work closely with local communities to promote railway safety for when they travel or interact with us. We work closely with local communities to promote safety by the railway. Find out more on our community safety page.