Starting later this month an 18-month project will begin to replace the signalling around Birmingham New Street station.
Although timetables will not be affected by the work, passengers are being asked to check their journeys as trains may not arrive or depart from their usual platforms.
The overhaul of the signalling system will see old equipment replaced, most of which is around 54 years old and approaching the end of its life.
Work will start on Platform 12 and will then move to others as each one is completed.
All the trains using Birmingham New Street could be affected, including those by train operators, West Midlands Railway, London Northwestern Railway, Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry and Transport for Wales.
Signalling on the network around the West Midlands area has been subject to an upgrade programme since 2005, and this will complete the jigsaw, with £600m having been invested by 2022, installing 6.5 miles of cable and 114 signals.
Dave Penney, Central route director for Network Rail, said: “While the majority of passengers will be following the government advice to stay at home during this latest national lockdown, there will be some who still need to use the railway to get to work and for essential medical appointments.”
“I want those passengers still relying on the railway for any of the reasons permitted by government to have as smooth a journey as possible while this major signalling upgrade takes place. So, my advice is to always check which platform your train is on as this can change at short notice over the course of the rolling platform closures.”
“This once in a generation overhaul of Birmingham New Street’s signalling equipment, at one of Britain’s most important stations, has been carefully planned to minimise disruption. Once complete, the West Midlands will have large areas using the newest and best signalling anywhere in Britain which will help provide a safe, reliable and high performing railway for decades to come.”
Alex Warner, chairperson of the Grand Rail Collaboration, representing train operators which use Birmingham New Street, said: “A key part of delivering for passengers is for train services to be reliable and with capacity for growth. A modern, state-of-the-art signalling system is essential in delivering this.”
“This investment is vital for the long-term future of the railway in the West Midlands. In the short-term, the most important thing this to manage the impact and the fact no trains will be cancelled is great news for passengers.”
Malcolm Holmes, executive director for West Midlands Rail Executive, said: “Birmingham New Street is at the centre of the West Midlands rail network and it needs the best technology to keep passengers and trains safely moving for many years to come. The industry has worked together to run a full timetable throughout this work, minimising disruption. The outcome will be a better, more reliable railway for the region.”
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