Network Rail gears up for £135m investment this May

Image: Network Rail

Network Rail engineers are gearing up for a £135m investment in Britain’s railway this May.

More than 800 projects will take place across the railway network during May’s two bank holidays, designed to keep most of the network open for travel as usual.

Unlike the Easter bank holiday, only one day sees significant disruption to a main line London terminal in May, as most projects take the form of a “normal” weekend of engineering taking place overnight when passenger trains aren’t running.

Unlike roads, railways are usually quieter during weekends, particularly on key commuter routes into major cities, providing an opportunity to improve the railway whilst minimising disruption for passengers and freight users. 

Network Rail says bank holidays give the opportunity for bigger improvements to take place. 

This May the most notable projects are:

Early May Bank Holiday – May 4-6

  • Work on the new station at Cambridge South means disruption on routes around the city.
  • Track renewals around Coventry will see no trains running between Birmingham Airport and Rugby/Leamington Spa.
  • On Sunday, May 5 there will be no trains between Euston and Milton Keynes Central and no services from England to Glasgow on the same day owing to improvement work on the West Coast Main Line at Crewe, Wigan and other locations.
  • Track renewals around Liverpool on Sunday and Monday, May 5-6.

Late May Bank Holiday – May 25-27 

  • A project to refurbish a junction in north London means that services between London Liverpool Street – Enfield Town / Cheshunt will be affected on Sunday 26, Monday 27 and Tuesday 28.
  • Major work continues on the building of the new station at Beaulieu Park on the Great Eastern main line, a few miles east of Chelsmford, resulting in significant changes to services on this route including to Colchester, Ipswich and Norwich.
  • Major work around both Crewe and Carlisle, to improve drainage, lay new track and new sets of points, will mean an amended – and reduced – service on the West Coast Main Line over all three days of the bank holiday.
  • Track renewals between Carstairs and Lanark in Scotland will also affect West Coast Main Line services over Saturday, May 25 and Sunday, May 26.

Network Rail’s system operator director, Anit Chandarana, said: “The work this month will see new track laid on one of the busiest mixed-use railway in the world – the West Coast Main Line – along with work to replace worn out equipment at junctions at Crewe. 

“We’ve also got more work to build a new station at Cambridge South, which will play a key role in developing the city and its new biomedical campus in a sustainable way.

"That’s what the railway does best and it’s great to see that continuing this year.”

Train drivers who are members of the ASLEF union will stage three, one-day, strikes across different train operating companies between May 7-9 May and an overtime ban across 16 train companies from Monday, May 6 to Saturday. May 11, which may lead to short-notice cancellations.

Customers are urged to check before they travel because there will be changes to services across large parts of the network, with some train operators not running any services on strike days.

Special timetables will be available on National Rail Enquiries and journey planners by May 1.   



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