Network Rail is reminding rail passengers of major changes to trains over the Easter and early May bank holiday weekends.
There is now less than four weeks until the work, which will see London Euston closed over the Easter weekend (19-22 April) and the early May bank holiday weekend (4-6 May) with no trains in or out of the station.
This will have a major impact on journeys including alternative routes, longer travel times and busier trains than normal.
Network Rail is carrying out work at London Euston, in the West Midlands, the North West and Cumbria as part of Britain’s Railway Upgrade Plan.
The work at Euston is in preparation for HS2 and includes work to clear additional concourse space to help customers move more freely around the station.
Elsewhere on the West Coast main line, sections of track will be completely replaced over both bank holidays, as well as upgrades to overhead lines, signals and points.
Good Friday (19 April) to Easter Monday (22 April)
Best days to travel: Thursday 18 April and Tuesday 23 April.
Work between London Euston, Rugby, Milton Keynes and Birmingham International includes:
- Primrose Hill tunnel strengthening
- Preparation for HS2, Britain’s new high-speed railway
- Work to improve points at Willesden Junction
- Track foundation improvements between High Wycombe and Leighton Buzzard
- Maintenance work to Bletchley railway flyover
- Preparation for the future East West Rail link between Bicester and Bedford
- Track renewal between Till Hill and Canley near Coventry
Work on the West Coast main line between Runcorn, Carlisle and Glasgow include:
- Railway track being replaced at Golborne, Coppull Hall in Chorley, and Blainscough
- Renewal of overhead electric lines at Acton Grange in Warrington
- Bridge renovation and strengthening at Coppull Moor Lane in Chorley
- Work to improve points and rail replacement at Milnthorpe in South Lakeland
- Track foundation improvements and work to overhead electric lines at Carnforth
- Track foundation improvements at Upperby in Carlisle
Work on Merseyside and in Greater Manchester includes:
- Merseyrail platform upgrades: between Sunday 7 April and Tuesday 23 April, station platforms and the track will be remodelled between Bidston to West Kirby on the Merseyrail network to prepare for the arrival of new, state-of-the-art trains in 2020.
- Manchester Victoria to Stalybridge: continuing work on the electrification project between Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge, with work to install telecommunications cabling and overhead line work taking place between Saturday 20 and Easter Monday.
What did the officials say?
Martin Frobisher, route managing director for Network Rail’s London North Western route, said:
“We recognise there is never an ideal time to shut the railway for our must-do work. Bank holidays are the least disruptive time to do it, when fewer passengers use the railway compared to the working week. That way we can do the maximum amount of work while impacting the fewest number of people.
“Train companies and Network Rail have worked together to minimise disruption for customers. By doing a lot of work over the Easter and early May bank holidays, we can offer passengers better journeys over the late May and August bank holidays. The alternative would have been closing the line and Euston station over all of these weekends.”
“The purpose of our essential maintenance and upgrade work is to keep the railway safe and reliable for the hundreds of thousands of passengers who use it every week. To ensure they know what to expect, I would urge passengers to plan journeys in advance and to check the best days to travel at www.nationalrail.co.uk and with their train operators.”
Robert Nisbet, regional director for the Rail Delivery Group, which represents the railway, said:
“Train companies and Network Rail are working together to make big improvements to today’s railway to add more services, improve punctuality and make journeys better. There’s never a good time to carry out vital engineering work but fewer people travel on bank holidays than on a normal weekday. We’d encourage people to check before they travel by visiting National Rail Enquiries or speaking to their train operator.”
Peter Broadley, executive director for customer, operations and safety at Virgin Trains, said:
“With no services into or out of Euston we strongly advise our customers to avoid travelling to and from London on the days affected. We know this will impact on people’s travel plans, so to make it easier we have removed afternoon peak time ticket restrictions on Maundy Thursday to allow customers to make an earlier start to their Easter weekend.”