Network Rail has completed a major upgrade to one of the UK’s busiest routes within a short timescale.
The West Coast Mainline is one of the UK’s busiest railways, making carrying out repairs and maintenance difficult with several trains passing over the course of an hour, let alone a day.
COVID-19 has caused reduced travel for the majority of passengers, meaning fewer people are affected by downtime on the network.
Seeing this opportunity, Network Rail shut two of the four lines along a seven-mile section of track for 11 days, saving almost £14 million opposed to overnight weekend shifts spread across many months.
Work carried out included:
- Kensal Green Tunnel – Revised drainage to ensure no water builds up onto the tracks causing delays
- Primrose Hill and Willesden Junction – Installing new rails to improve the ride on trains
- Fit new signalling equipment
- Tidying up the trackside by removing both graffiti and scrap metal
Network Rail worked with Train Operating Companies to reduce the impact on passengers.
As of Thursday 1st of April 2021, both lines have been reopened and train services returned.
Network Rail’s West Coast South Route Director James Dean said: “I’d like to thank our passengers and lineside neighbours for their patience whilst we completed this work on the economically important West Coast main line.
“I’d also like to pay a huge credit to our train operators and industry colleagues for enabling us to carry out this work at short notice and get the railway in the best possible shape for passengers when they return. This is all part of our commitment to build back better as the country emerges from the pandemic.”
Executive Director of Operations and Safety at Avanti West Coast Gus Dunster said: “We are pleased to have been able to play our part to facilitate Network Rail’s upgrade works on the approach to London Euston. These upgrades usually have to be completed one project at a time, but as a result of the collaborative efforts of industry colleagues we were able to complete multiple projects, while operating our services for our customers who needed to travel.
“We would like to thank everyone who travelled with us during this time for their patience. The work will help to make journeys more reliable for our customers when we look forward to welcoming them back in the near future.”
Customer Experience Director for London Northwestern Railway Lawrence Bowman said: “This intense period of improvement work will improve the reliability of this crucial part of our rail network and reduce the likelihood of disruption as more people begin travelling again.
“I would like to thank our customers for their patience during the work and urge returning passengers to double-check their train times as some departure times may have changed.”
Meanwhile, people are being advised of work taking place this Easter to improve future journeys between London and Scotland.
The latest railway news
Signup to our daily and weekly newsletters
Prints, DVD’s, Clocks, Mouse Mats and more!
Come and share your railway pictures
UK STEAM INFO
Upcoming mainline steam tours/loco movements
Visit their website