Our railway is busier than ever – the number of people travelling on it has doubled in the last 20 years.
We’re implementing a wide range of major projects to help meet the huge increase in demand.
Our investment plan is now entering its final phases and better, more frequent, faster journeys for hundreds of thousands of people are now months away for some, as the benefits start to come to fruition.
We look at some of our latest updates…
Great Western electrification
We’re electrifying one of Britain’s oldest and busiest railways, providing greener, more reliable journeys and improving connections across southern England and South Wales: London and Bristol, including Cardiff, Newbury and Oxford.
This project is also part of our London upgrade plan, creating new connections and increasing capacity in peak hour by 30 percent.
This month, the first electric trains ran between London Paddington and Cardiff Central. Electrification between the two capital cities means thousands of extra seats, more frequent services and faster journeys for passengers as they travel on Great Western Railway’s Intercity Express Trains:
Over the Christmas and New Year period, Network Rail engineers worked around the clock to switch on the electricity running through the overhead line equipment between St Brides, Newport and west of Cardiff Central station.
Passengers now benefit from an average journey time saving of 14 minutes between South Wales and London and an extra 15,000 weekday seats between Cardiff and London.
This major modernisation project has involved:
- Electrifying more 150 miles of track between Cardiff and London, including in Wales
- Installing more than 4,200 masts and booms, which hold the overhead wires in place
- Installing about 400 miles of wire and making changes to 49 different structures.
East Coast Upgrade
We're upgrading the East Coast Main Line to allow more trains to run and deliver quicker journeys across the route.
Once completed, the £1.2bn East Coast Upgrade will enable an additional two long-distance services an hour into and out of London, provide up to 10,000 extra seats a day and improve train service reliability.
The project is regenerating the infrastructure along the East Coast Main Line and simplifying the track layout at London King’s Cross station. It also includes the construction of a new bay platform at Stevenage.
This month we carried out vital upgrades to the signalling system. Our engineers moved control of a section of the signalling system to a specialist centre in York, which will help to create a more resilient railway.
This followed work over Christmas and the New Year to install a dive under – a tunnel under the railway – just outside Peterborough railway station as part of the East Coast Upgrade.
Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP)
October marked two years since we began the main £120m redevelopment of Glasgow Queen Street station.
Since October 2017, engineers have been working around-the-clock to transform Scotland’s third-busiest station without closing it to passengers or services.
This month work has included new stairs and an access ramp; the completion of gold cladding on the Dundas Street side of the station and continuing installation of the cladding inside, and the arrival of the first brand-new departure board:
Earlier in the redevelopment, we had to remove more than 14,000 tons of material – 94 percent of which was recycled – from the site as engineers demolished redundant 1970s buildings in front of the station to clear the way for the redevelopment
Since December 2018, the steel frame of the iconic new station building has been under construction with engineers completing the installation of 310 glass panels on the new station frontage in September.
Once complete in spring 2020, the redevelopment will revitalise the station, delivering a contemporary building with an expanded concourse almost double the size of the old station, with fully-accessible entrances on Dundas Street and George Square.
Specialist cleaners have taken advantage of greater access during the project to clean the historic window:
Midland Main Line Upgrade Plan
Extensive work continues to the railway between Bedford and Kettering as part of our Midland Main Line Upgrade Plan, with significant progress made over Christmas and New Year.
Work throughout this period included:
- New switches and crosses south of Kettering railway station, which allows trains to connect to other tracks and to the mainline to a new electric stabling facility. All four tracks are now in place at Kettering sidings. This has involved 1425m of new plain line track and will supplement the electrification of the Midland Main Line by providing a stabling facility for the new electric trains.
- 23km of new track to produce the fourth line.
- 1.5 km of embankment works.
- The strengthening of 15 structures.
- The installation of 105 new signals and 11 new signal gantries.
- Station upgrades in preparation for the fourth line and electrification, by building and extending platforms and adjusting canopies to accommodate overhead cables.