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Christmas engineering works completed

Transpennine Express train using the new tracks at York station

We completed about 300 essential maintenance and improvement projects over Christmas and New Year to give you a better railway for the long term.

They ranged from track renewals to overhead line equipment replacements and the introduction of new, digital signalling systems.

It’s vital that we carry out these sorts of works across Britain to keep the railway safe and reliable.

Here’s just some of what we got up to over the festive period …

A new era for Birmingham

We gave you digital signalling at Birmingham New Street. The signalling equipment is now digital – like in the rest of the region – for better and more reliable services.

Signalling at the Grade II listed signal box just outside the station has been moved to the West Midlands Signalling Centre in Saltley.

It means the end of a 17-year project to introduce state-of-the-art signalling across the region.

Image credit for historic photographs – Kidderminster Railway Museum

The signal box was built as part of the West Coast Main Line route modernisation in the 1960s. It was one of four power signal boxes in the West Midlands, replacing 64 manually operated signal boxes.

It received Grade II listed building status in 1995 because of its ‘dramatic and exceptional architectural quality’ and ‘strongly sculptural form’.

More about why we upgrade signalling.

East Coast Digital Programme 

We took further steps towards the introduction of state-of-the-art digital signalling – providing continuous, real-time information to the driver’s cab.

It’s part of the East Coast Digital Programme to update signalling along the East Coast Main Line, which runs north from London King’s Cross station. The tech will mean more reliable and greener services for you and freight.

We tested a new signalling in the Wood Green-New Barnet area of North London to improve reliability and prepare the area for the introduction of digital signalling.

We also installed equipment and tech beside the railway between Welwyn Garden City and Hitchin. 

This section of route will become the first part of the East Coast Main Line to operate with digital signalling.

Transpennine Route

We made improvements to the railway between Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds and York as part of the Transpennine Route Upgrade.

We powered ahead with major work in Manchester and near Neville Hill depot in Leeds to prepare the 70-mile route for full electrification.

This will eventually help save up to 87,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year – the equivalent to 5.9m car journeys along the same route. 

Further upgrades to track through Leeds, Batley, Morley and Wakefield Kirkgate also took place.

New year, new track

You’ll get smoother journeys through York station after we refreshed nearly three kilometres of track. It will mean fewer delays and better track condition for many years to come.

We replaced 2.7 km of track, renewed nine sets of points – which allow trains to move from one section of track to another – and improved vital signalling equipment.

Improvements to special heaters on the track mean the line is better prepared for cold weather. The heaters melt snow and ice so trains can run reliably.

Lewisham Junction

We rebuilt the complex and busy Lewisham Junction in London at Christmas to give you smoother journeys.

Improvements will also mean fewer delays – and fewer knock-on delays – to your services.

Landslips prevention

We improved the earthworks at the Honiton tunnel in Devon to prevent landslips from delaying your South Western Railway trains. We reduced the steepness of the slop near the tunnel, built a wall made from concrete and steel beams, and improved the drainage.

Landslips explained

Running the railway

Looking after the railway

Planned works

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