Why we do maintenance and engineering work at night

Why we do maintenance and engineering work at night

Published 7 February 2023 | Average read time
2 min read
Stories Living by the railway Planned engineering works

You may have seen or heard us carrying out work at night, especially if you live close to the railway.

Engineering works at these times typically cause the least disruption to passengers. It affects far fewer passengers than closing the railway on a normal working day. It’s much safer for our workers, too.

Watch our animation to find out why we work at night

We work round the clock

We look after 20,000 miles of track across Britain. It wouldn’t be possible for us to develop and maintain it all if we were constricted to daytime hours.

Our routine work includes things like:

  • renewing track so it stays safe and reliable for your journeys
  • installing overhead line equipment, which powers electric trains
  • managing vegetation so it doesn’t obscure signals or fall onto the tracks, which can cause delays.

We would likely cause months of disruption to your train services if we tried to do all this only during the day. But we can complete jobs with minimal disruption by carefully planning our works to take place during very quiet times.

Working at night on the West Coast Main Line

We plan these works months or even years in advance, except for when we must respond to emergencies. These can include things like landslips, broken rail or flooding on the line.

There’s lots to plan and agree – getting the right equipment and engineers in place, working with train companies to agree any timetable changes and much more. We have back-up plans in place for things outside our control – like extreme weather delaying the work.

How our work may affect you

We understand that our work can be noisy if you live near the railway. We do our best to keep noise and disruption to a minimum and we try to be considerate by giving you as much notice as possible about our general maintenance or planned engineering works.

It may not always be possible to inform you before the works if they’re due to an emergency or involve a moving worksite over a long distance. But we will always listen to concerns and fully investigate complaints or reports. If you want to tell us about something, please let us know.

Further information