Christmas rail works 2023

This Christmas and New Year we carried out £127m of engineering works – all so we can bring you a safer, modern and reliable railway.

Here’s a rundown of just some of the work from the festive period …  


We continued building new stations to give you better rail connections across Britain.

Our teams made progress at the new Old Oak Common station in the Old Oak and Park Royal area of London. The finished station will have 14 platforms and we expect it to be one of the busiest railway stations in Britain, with connections to central London, Heathrow Airport, the west of England, Wales, the West Midlands and the north of England.  

We also completed critical work at the new Cambridge South station in Cambridgeshire and Beaulieu Park in Essex. We’ve completed new sections of mainline track to allow us to continue the building work safely.

Indicative visualisation of Cambridge South station from the east.
Indicative visualisation of Cambridge South station from the east.

In Bristol, teams installed an accessible footbridge at the planned new Ashley Down station, due to open later this year. It means a more accessible station for you.

We were also kept busy making improvements at some of our busiest stations.

For ten days, engineers upgraded track, improved signals and continued installing new ticket gates at London Victoria station. This will help keep trains running reliably here and allow you to enjoy less congested and smoother journeys through the station.

We installed new drainage systems at Princes Street Gardens near Edinburgh Waverly station and at Haymarket station in Edinburgh. This will help protect the railway against extreme weather.


We began renewing and extending the life of signals in the area between Dalreoch, Helensburgh and Garelochhead in Scotland on New Year’s Eve. We’re even upgrading Geilston level crossing as part of this project.

A new state-of-the-art signalling system was installed to control trains in Greenhill near Falkirk, the heart of Scotland’s Railway.

Bank holiday works at Greenhill junction over Christmas and New Year.

We upgraded signalling system in the Helensburgh area in the west of Glasgow to help keep the busy North Clyde and West Highland Line trains on time. Several level crossings were modernised as well to help keep you safe.

Engineers worked around the clock for six days straight to upgrade the signalling in the Southampton area. Signals were upgraded on the line between Southampton Airport Parkway and Brockenhurst and between St Denys and Fareham. Over 12,000 metres of old cable was replaced with modern multicore cables that will keep the signalling equipment working for the next 50 years.


We spent five days, beginning on Christmas Eve, replacing the points – the movable sections of track that allow trains to move from one line to another – at Barking, Essex.

Engineers working on the track at Barking in Essex this Christmas and New Year.

We also spent eight days renewing the points on the Kennet Loop track, near Reading.

Faults with points can cause delays so this work will help keep trains on time.


Our teams demolished and rebuilt two bridges in just 10 days at Hairmyres in East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire, Scotland. The new, higher bridges have the room needed for overhead wires to run underneath as we electrify the East Kilbride route. The new electric route will allow quieter and more environmentally friendly electric trains to run here.

We repaired the North Row bridge in Frome, Somerset and replaced 170 metres of track over ten days. This will help our freight partners continue running freight reliably through here.

Resilience work

Resilience work near Dawlish in Devon this Christmas and New Year.

Resilience upgrades to protect the railway against extreme weather were also part of our planned works. This bank holiday, we upgraded drainage at several locations across Britain.

We installed new drainage pipes through platforms one and two at Haymarket in Edinburgh. We also cleared out the gullies and gutters in the tunnel at Ipswich in Suffolk to maintain the drainage here. This vital work will help us deal with heavy rain and keep trains running on time.

Our engineers also continued stabilising the recent landslip between Woking and Brookwood in Surrey by installing further steel piles or foundation to strengthen the cutting slopes. This will protect this stretch of the railway against prolonged periods of wet weather or more intensive but shorter period of rain when landslips are more likely to happen.

Teams in south Devon drilled soil nails into the cliffs that overlook the tracks between Dawlish and Holcombe. This will help keep the earth in place, preventing landslips and keeping trains running safely and reliably along this stretch.

Storm Gerrit

We thank all our teams and colleagues at contractors for carrying out the Christmas and New Year rail works in severe weather, namely Storm Gerrit. The heavy rain and high winds the storm brought meant we did have to close and slow down some routes across Britain to keep you safe.

It also caused flooding in some areas. Our teams worked around the clock to reopen the routes as soon and as safely as possible. 

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