Putting passengers first isn’t all about delivering large-scale infrastructure projects and railway improvements.

It’s doing what we can to make journeys easier and more convenient for the millions of travellers who use the railway every day.

That’s why we’re working hard to implement a string of smaller initiatives that will have a big overall impact on the passenger experience.

Here’s a roundup of some of our work in September:

Free station WiFi

Passengers at Britain’s biggest and busiest railway stations were set to benefit from a fast, free and reliable WiFi service thanks to a significant digital investment by Network Rail.

The service will offer seamless connectivity and single sign-on at all railway stations directly run by Network Rail, automatically connecting passengers to WiFi across Network Rail’s 20-strong station network from Spring 2020, kicking off with London Victoria. The service is child-friendly and can also be used on more than one device.

First glass finish for Queen Street

Engineers completed work to install the 310 glass panels on Glasgow Queen Street railway station’s new frontage.

Covering an area of 734m2, the 21m-high floor-to-ceiling glazing will bring to life the striking design of the new exterior of Queen Street.

Completion of the glazing marks another milestone in the £120m transformation of Scotland’s third-busiest station.

Inside Queen Street, engineers continue work to lengthen platforms four and five by 26m to allow new eight-carriage electric trains to use them.

Route director appointments better align Network Rail with passengers

Network Rail’s regional directors each confirmed a string of appointments to their senior management teams as our 14 new routes went live.

It followed our announcement this year to put passengers and freight users first, recognising the need to get closer and be more responsive to our customers and local stakeholders.

We launched 14 routes, which now take responsibility for operations, maintenance and minor renewals in their respective areas. They manage the day-to-day delivery of train performance and relationships with their local train operating companies.

The new routes and regions are part of phase one of our Putting Passengers First programme, providing the framework for further phased changes to be introduced through to summer next year, subject to consultation.

Reliability boost through multi-million-pound investment

Passengers are set to benefit from a railway that can better cope with extreme weather and increased demand after Network Rail pledged millions of pounds to work with universities to boost research and development. 

It came as Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines opened the cutting-edge National Infrastructure Laboratory at the University of Southampton on 27 September. He said the company wanted to more quickly get innovation from idea to track to give passengers a more reliable and resilient railway.

Life-saving equipment rolled out

We worked with Transport for Wales to install life-saving defibrillators at 21 railway stations across the Wales and Borders route.

Some of Transport for Wales’ busiest railway stations have defibrillators, which give a high-energy electric shock to the heat of someone in cardiac arrest, but this new investment in locations in Wales and England covers more cities, towns and villages.

The new defibrillators are known as public access defibrillators (PADs) because anyone can use them and they require no training; clear instructions explain how to attach the defibrillator pads.

Contract awarded for Ilford and Romford stations upgrades

We awarded a contract to complete our upgrades of East London railway stations for the Crossrail project to VolkerFitzpatrick.

The almost £20m contract will deliver the vital upgrades at Romford and Ilford railway stations, including improved entrances and step-free access to accommodate the higher numbers of passengers expected to use the new Elizabeth line services.

Ilford station will benefit from a new, spacious and bright station building, replacing the existing entrance on Cranbrook Road.  This will provide an attractive gateway for Ilford incorporating an improved ticket hall and new lifts delivering step-free access from street-level to the station platforms.

At Romford, work will include construction of a new entrance onto The Battis walkway and a better ticket hall, providing improved passenger circulation from the entrance to the platforms. New lifts will provide step-free access to platforms three, four and five.

Milestone for Cadoxton access improvements

We thanked the local community and passengers of Cadoxton railway station for their patience, as the project to improve access at the station reached a milestone.

Over four weekends in August and September, engineers worked around the clock to successfully lift the new footbridge, lift towers and support columns into position at the station.

New time-lapse footage shows the arrival of the lift columns…

Trimley bridge provides safer access across railway

A new, safe, step-free route across the Felixstowe branch line opened at Trimley St Martin, providing access to the countryside for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.

The bridleway bridge is the last major part of a £65m investment to upgrade the branch line; installing 1.4km of track between Trimley station and the bridge located at Gun Lane, upgrading four level crossings and improving signalling and telecoms systems.

The work will increase the capacity of the line by 10 trains per day in each direction, allowing more goods to be moved by rail freight to and from the Port of Felixstowe, as well as improved reliability for passenger services.

Official opening for Stirling station footbridge

Stirling’s fully-accessible footbridge and lifts opened for passengers.

In a £4m investment, we raised and reinstalled the station’s historic lattice footbridge and provided a new lift to create step-free access to all platforms.

Stirling MSP Bruce Crawford and Clackmannanshire MSP Keith Brown officially opened the bridge alongside Kris Kinnear, Network Rail Scotland’s capital delivery director.

Keith Brown MSP said: “The opening of a fully-accessible bridge is very welcome news for passengers and creates a much-needed step-free access to all platforms within this historic station.”

Read more

Putting passengers first

Major projects update

How we're reducing delays after engineering work