- A new platform bridge lifted in Lichfield
- Essential upgrade to trackside equipment in Birmingham
- HS2 will see work continue
The reinstatement of platform 3 at Lichfield Trent Valley station marks one of the most ambitious projects taking place throughout the festive period. The station's platform 3 is currently the last stop for the Cross City line and is located over the top of platforms 1 and 2, which are on the busy West Coast main line.
Over the summer months, the old bridge at Lichfield Trent Valley station, which allowed trains to move over the fast lines of platforms 1 and 2, was removed. The removal has meant that for the past six months, passengers travelling on the Cross City line have had to finish their journeys at Lichfield City station.
A 650-tonne crane will see the new 40-metre-long bridge deck moved into place over Christmas ahead, following which the track will be laid in time for trains to return to Lichfield Trent Valley station in the New Year.
The Cross City Line will also see major upgrade work carried out between Birmingham New Street and Birmingham International stations on the 25th and 26th of December and also on New Year's Day and will involve:
- Maintenance of overhead electric wires
- Replacement of three switches and crossings
- Upgrade to signalling systems
- Vital bridge examinations
Work on HS2 will also see work continue on a new bridge structure called Curdworth Box, which will support new high-speed trains making their way from London to Birmingham to cross existing railway lines.
Most of the upgrade work will take place on Christmas Day or Boxing Day, making the most of the annual festive shutdown when trains don't run.
Network Rail upgrades being carried out on the 1st of January will mean that trains will be busier than usual with passengers experiencing longer journey times and some rail replacement buses in operation:
- Local trains between Birmingham New Street and Birmingham International will not run
- West Midlands Trains will operate rail replacement buses between Birmingham International, Marston Green, Lea Hall, Stechford, Adderley Park and Birmingham Moor Street stations (instead of Birmingham New Street).
- Avanti West Coast and CrossCountry will operate a substantially reduced service between Birmingham New Street and Birmingham International stations, which are expected to be extremely busy.
Anyone travelling on the 1st of January is advised to plan their journeys ahead by visiting the National Rail website.
Denise Wetton, Network Rail's Central route director, said:
“Once again, thousands of railway staff will be working around the clock this Christmas, while most of us will be at home enjoying the festivities with family and friends. While we're doing most of this work on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, when very few people want to travel, we will need New Year's Day to complete our essential track work between Birmingham and Coventry.”
“We've been working hard with train operators on plans to keep people moving, but as always our advice is to plan your journey in advance by using National Rail Enquiries, so you don't start 2024 with the unexpected gift of a rail replacement bus!”
To find out more about planned work over the Christmas period, please click here.