Christmas and New Year engineering works complete

We’ve just completed hundreds of Christmas and New Year projects across Britain’s railway to give you better and more reliable journeys for the long term.

Find out what we got up to over the festive period …

Eastern region

Our Eastern region runs from the borders of Scotland to London. Here, we completed the biggest track upgrade at Leeds station in 20 years.

A team of more than 200 remodelled the track layout between platforms four and six. The new layout improves the way trains move in and out of the station, which will help to reduce delays to your journeys.

Further upgrades included installing more than 1,500 metres of new electric wires – used to power some trains – and renewing over 200 metres of track to improve reliability. We also extended platform seven to make room for longer trains.

Gallery: track and overhead line equipment works

We also completed a major rail upgrade in Manchester – improvements to track and signalling equipment to boost reliability.

More than 100 railway workers installed four new track components – used to direct trains – completed two sections of new electric wiring – which powers some trains – and upgraded signalling equipment near Manchester Victoria station.

The improvements help to bring a more modern, reliable railway as well as creating the capacity for more trains to run in the future, improving connectivity across the North.

This work is part of the wider Transpennine Route Upgrade which will bring faster, more reliable services for passengers travelling between York, Leeds, Huddersfield and Manchester.

Gallery: track and signalling works outside Manchester Victoria station

North West and Central region

This region runs all the way from London Euston to Scotland’s Railway, via the Midlands and North West of England. Here, we completed upgrades to the railway between London Euston, the Midlands and the North West of England.

It involved …

  • signals – the traffic lights of the railway – upgraded at Birmingham New Street and Macclesfield
  • platform extensions so longer trains with more seats could run between Wolverhampton and Telford
  • new track laid as part of the East West Rail project at Bletchley in Milton Keynes.

Gallery: a paid of sone blowers near Preston railway station and switches and crossings renewals at Wembley.

Scotland’s Railway

Scotland’s Railway provides rapid access along busy commuter routes to our seven Scottish cities.

Engineers re-laid track, renewed junctions and refurbishing structured in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Lanarkshire.

Gallery: track renewals at Uddingston Junction in South Lanarkshire.

Southern region

The Southern region runs from Devon in the West of England to Kent in the East. We made more improvements to the busy railway around Lewisham, continuing our efforts to improve reliability at one of London’s most congested spots.

This involved replacing sets of points that allow trains to cross from one track to another. These swing back and forth many hundreds of times every day and are crucial to running a reliable train service.

Further afield, we strengthened earthworks where the railway passes under the M25 near Swanley, and replaced worn wooden parts on bridges between London Bridge and Charing Cross. Called wheel timbers, these support the tracks on metal Victorian bridges with weight limits and have a life span of about 10 years.

Gallery: track renewals through the Lewisham area.

Elsewhere, we rebuilt Pouparts Junction near Clapham Junction in South London. This meant installing new track, ballast and points to give you more reliable and comfortable journeys:

Gallery:new tracks at Pouparts Junction.

Wales and Western region

Our Wales and Western region serves communities and businesses of Wales, the Thames Valley, West of England and the South West Peninsula.

In London, we upgraded the stretch of track between London Paddington station and Slough. Engineers removed ageing and unreliable signalling equipment and swapped it with modern and reliable replacements. The completion of this upgrade work will play an important part in the delivery of a safe and reliable train service for the tens of thousands of passengers who use services at Paddington every day.

In Stroud, we replaced the railway bridge over the canal at the Ocean in Stonehouse on behalf of the Cotswold Canals Connected Project. Engineers worked 24/7 between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day including replacing the current culvert with a new open structure, which will allow boats to pass through for the first time since 1968.

Gallery: replacing the Ocean bridge.

In South Gloucestershire, we laid more than a kilometre of new track either side of Bristol Parkway railway station. We used rail-mounted diggers, cranes and bulldozers to remove and replace the old rail, sleepers and ballast with new rails, more than 1,400 sleepers and nearly 2,200 tonnes of ballast.

This will help ensure the safe and smooth running of the railway on the route for customers travelling by train between London and South Wales for years to come.

At Bristol Temple Meads, work as part of the Bristol Rail Regeneration programme continued with the installation of tactile paving along the edge of the station platforms. The installation of tactile paving will help improve the platforms to make the more station more accessible, particularly for passengers with visual impairments.

Read more:

Putting passengers first

Looking after the railway

Planned works