Essential improvement work on the railway in the Midlands and North West has been planned to take advantage of the Christmas shut down, although some work will continue through to the New Year.
There has not been a standard service on Christmas Day for around 60 years, and no service at all for the last 40 years. Also, there is only a limited service on Boxing Day.
This year, the works have been planned to cause the least disruption to passengers travelling between London, the Midlands, the North West and Cumbria. Most of the West Coast Main Line, and routes in the Midlands and North West will be open as normal. However, journeys will be affected on the Chiltern line and between Manchester and Leeds.
Those passengers who do travel should allow extra time for their journey as they may need to change trains or use a replacement bus service. Further information can be obtained from their train operator or at http://www.nationalrail.co.uk.
Between 25 and 29 December and between 1 and 4 January:
- Upgrading the Transpennine route in Manchester
Between 24 and 29 December
- Upgrading signals at Birmingham New Street and Macclesfield;
- Extending platforms between Wolverhampton and Telford to allow longer trains with more seats;
- Track being laid over a new flyover at Bletchley as part of the East-West Rail project;
Between 27 and 29 December
- Bridge replacement In Stratford-upon-Avon on the Chiltern line;
Sunday 2 January
- West Coast Main Line closed between Wigan and Preston
Tim Shoveller, managing director for Network Rail’s North West and Central region, said: “While some essential work is taking place to upgrade our railway over the festive period, we’ve worked hard with train operators to reduce the impact on passengers as far as possible so that they can spend time with their families and friends this Christmas.
“I’d like to thank the thousands of rail workers who will be working to keep services running, and those delivering upgrades to improve our railway and bring more reliable journeys to passengers in future.”
In early 2022 further work will take place in January near Milton Keynes and in and around Greater Manchester.
From Tuesday, 4 to Wednesday, 12 January 2022
- Major flood protection work will take place on a 4 km stretch of the West Coast Main Line between Milton Keynes and Rugby. Trains will be diverted via Northampton, which will add around 25 minutes onto journey times for Avanti West Coast customers, but London Northwestern passengers travelling between Crewe and Euston will need to change trains at Rugby. Further details are at www.nationalrail.co.uk
On Saturdays and Sundays in early 2022
- Track and signalling upgrades will take place on several routes into Manchester. There will be changes to weekend train services between Manchester and routes to Buxton, Rochdale, Stalybridge, Sheffield and Stoke-on-Trent. Passengers should check with their train operator or at http://www.nationrail.co.uk to plan their journey in advance.