More than 20,000 railway staff have been hard at work over the festive season to deliver 386 projects for passengers.

Today we hand back some of the network we've upgraded – although most has remained open as normal – and look at the progress so far.

For updates follow the hashtag #XmasRailWorks on Twitter.

Completed projects include:

  • Work in and around London Euston station in preparation for high-speed railway HS2
  • Work on overhead wire stanchions at Bletchley, Milton Keynes ahead of a new flyover across the West Coast Main Line to carry East West Rail between Oxford and Bedford
  • Track being replaced in Tring and Crewe stations
  • Railway drainage improvements between Preston and Lancaster
  • Replacement ballast – the stone foundation of the railway – in Wolverhampton
  • Ongoing preparation work for the full resignalling of Birmingham New Street station in 2022
  • A £2.1m investment to renew parts of the track just south of Grantham, Lincolnshire
  • Extension of platform two at Huddersfield railway station to allow new, longer trains with more seats to call there.

East Midlands route and the Midland Main Line:

We've carried out overhead power lines work at Leeds to improve reliability for passengers:

In Newcastle, we replaced a waybeam on King Edward Bridge on Christmas Day:

We replaced old track at York:

High Output is our method of replacing track fast – very fast. We used a specialist train called the Track Renewal System (TRS – part of High Output) to replace almost 4km (2.4 miles) of track just south of Grantham, which will provide a smoother and more reliable service for passengers for years to come:

This kit works around the country all year round, mostly over night to avoid disrupting passenger services. It removes the old rail and sleepers and then replaces them with new rail and sleepers straight away. The work ensures the new track infrastructure is fit for a faster and heavily used railway.

In Huddersfield, we completed a vital upgrade to extend platform two at the railway station, to enable longer trains:

Kent and Sussex:

Tracks on older bridges are laid on huge wheel timbers – heavy wooden blocks that spread the load of passing trains. We've worked to replace the one at Shakespeare Road in Brixton because they wear out over time:


We're renewing a junction near Edinburgh Haymarket railway station. The upgrade of Haymarket East junction involves renewing four sets of points – rails that move to transfer trains from one line to another – and replacing more than 250m of track.

Haymarket junction, which lies to the west of the station, is one of the busiest on Scotland’s railway, used by up to 30 trains an hour. The upgrade will help to improve the reliability of the track and will mean we won’t need to renew the junction again for decades.

Engineers have been busy removing the old track and ballast at Haymarket and installing new track panels with Kirow rail cranes:

Meanwhile, we're modernising signalling at Motherwell Signalling Centre. We're carrying out a major upgrade in Lanarkshire, with signalling on the West Coast Main Line transferring to the West of Scotland Signalling Centre.

West Coast Main Line:

We've checked and maintained the signals on the approach to London Euston station to improve reliability:

At London Euston station itself we've continued our efforts to make the station more comfortable for the growing numbers of passengers who use it each day. It also helps us prepare for HS2, Britain's new high-speed railway:

In Bletchley, Milton Keynes, our team is installing support structures ahead of the construction of a flyover that will help link Bedford and Oxford.

The East West Rail scheme is one of our biggest projects to provide better transport links. It will re-establish a rail link between Cambridge and Oxford to improve connections between East Anglia and central, southern and western England:

We've renewed a section of the railway in Tring, Hertfordshire. We've laid the sand, added the ballast – the rock on the track bed that keeps the railway steady – and reinstated the sleepers. It means trains will be able to travel faster through the area, providing more reliable journeys for passengers:

Overhead power line work took place at Oxley, near Wolverhampton. Overhead power lines provide the energy for electric trains. These improvements help provide a better, more reliable railway for passengers and freight through the area:

At Humphrey Park, Greater Manchester, we've installed new ballast boxes ahead of platform extensions. The boxes will hold foundation rocks so we can eventually enable longer trains to stop at the railway station:

At Manchester Piccadilly station we're using the Christmas holidays to install heating in the waiting lounge for platforms 13 14. It follows feedback from passengers: